Queer marginality and planning for brand resonance: A qualitative critique of the South African advertising industry





Advertising, Brand leadership, Brand resonance, Marketing communication, Brand communication, Queer marginality, Queer identity, Social change


Meaning and purpose in brand advertising has gained prominence in society (Deloitte 2019. Millennial and Generation Z consumers in particular demand brands to have a clear position on social causes they care about. Consequently, the advertising industry is progressively recognising the importance of investing time and resources to gain an in-depth understanding of the prevailing political and sociocultural dynamics that affect targeted consumers in the social environments in which their brands exist. This enables brands to craft strategies that foster a strong cognitive and emotional connection within a diverse consumer base (Keller 2009; Badrinarayanan et al. 2016); and leverage these to craft meaningful advertisements that enhance brand resonance, brand equity, and social change (Enslin 2019; Minar 2016). The aim of this study was to examine the social constructions of gender and queer identity in advertising through the lens of brand communication planners; and to understand how the voices of the queer community are included in the planning and production of advertisements that resonate. Methodologically, a critical qualitative research approach was applied to investigate the experiences of the participants. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews. Queer theory and brand resonance theory were used to analyse and discuss the emerging themes.


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