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

Karen Robson, Leyland Pitt, Matthew Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Consumer subversion refers to consumer acts that are intended to impede the ability of marketers<br>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<br>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.<br>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 research derives a classification of consumer subverters, discusses the psychological ‘need to win’ linked to consumer subversion, and presents<br>a research agenda organized around consumers who subvert, firms that are subverted, and<br>antecedents and consequences of subversion.<br><br>
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology & Marketing
StatePublished - Aug 2021

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