Barrie Gunter
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What is a brand?
in Kids and branding in a digital world
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Brands ascended as advances in technology enabled mass production of goods and speedier forms of transportation over long distances so that local products could spread beyond local markets. With the triggering of mass demand came a need on the part of citizens as ‘consumers’ for more choice. More versions of individual products appeared and needed to find ways to look distinctive and appear better than their rivals and hence ‘brands’ emerged. Brands and branding have a long history but the modern era meaning of brands has evolved primarily in the last 150 years following the earliest incarnations of the mass media. This chapter examines how the nature and meaning of branding has changed and opens up a discussion about the different ways in which children get involved with brands. It presents an overview of how new forms of brand promotion have emerged that raise questions about how well equipped children are to cope with a world of marketing that permeates their lives and is not always as obvious in its appearance in the digital world as it used to be in the analogue world.

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