Consumer subversion and its relationship to anti-consumption, deviant and dysfunctional behaviors, and consumer revenge

Matthew Wilson, Karen Robson, Leyland Pitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Consumer subversion refers to consumer acts that are intended to impede the ability of marketers to develop and implement a marketing strategy, including market segmentation, target marketing, and the formulation of a marketing mix. Consumer subversion has featured across many bodies of marketing literature, yet it has not been explicitly defined and studied. This paper identifies and organizes examples of consumer subversion from marketing literature. It delineates how consumer subversion is related to, yet different from, related terms, such as anti-consumption, consumer revenge and retaliation, dysfunctional and deviant consumer behavior, and consumer movements. Consumer subversion can be proactive or reactive, and can be targeted at specific firms or towards the marketing function in general. Such acts range from individual exit or using ad blockers to extreme hostility via revenge or sabotage. This study derives a classification of consumer subverters, discusses the psychological “need to win” linked to consumer subversion, and presents a research agenda organized around consumers who subvert, firms that are subverted, and antecedents and consequences of subversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-611
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • anti-consumption
  • consumer deviance
  • consumer movements
  • consumer revenge
  • consumer subversion
  • deviant consumer behavior
  • dysfunctional consumer behavior
  • sabotage

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