How weird elements in brand communication can strengthen brand intimacy.
Abstract: Abstract Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore “weird elements” as part of brand communication in relation to brand intimacy. To define the purpose more precisely, this paper will focus on four specific research questions with reference to the selected case examples: 1. Which message is conveyed? 2. What was the initial intention behind this kind of advertisement? 3. Which creative elements/ means of rhetoric come to play? 4. What is the expected result from the company’s perspective? Methodology: This paper adopts a qualitative research method with secondary research exploring three different cases of brand advertisements that include unusual and surprising elements. The selected case examples with brand advertising videos from Absolut Vodka,HORNBACH, and Heinz Ketchup are explored with reference to the research questions mentioned above. Findings: The findings of the research demonstrate that incorporating unexpected and “weird” elements in brand advertising represents a potential tool to strengthen both brand identity and brand intimacy. As a result, of the case analyses, a framework is concluded depicting the relation between incorporating “weird” or unpredictable elements in advertisements and the added level of brand intimacy. Research limitations: The overall limitation to this paper is little reliability due to timeconstraints that did not allow in-depth empirical investigation into the phenomenon of “weird” brand communication. Furthermore, the small sample size of cases is likely not representative. Managerial implications: The proposed framework aids the demonstration of divergent elements in advertising in relation to brand intimacy. It also assists a company in determining its position on the “weird” scale and revealing if the communicated messages align with the brand’s values and personality. The framework is also useful to decide about the direction a company wants to follow within creative branding i.e., to which degree the firm wants to integrate unexpected elements into its communication strategy, and which outcomes are desired. Originality/value: So far, very limited research within strategic brand management covers the phenomenon of “weird”, unexpected elements in brand communication. Therefore, this paper aims to fill a gap in research by providing a framework that explains the interrelationship between unexpected elements in brand advertising and brand intimacy.
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