Underdog consumption: An exploration into meanings and motives

Lee Phillip McGinnis, James W. Gentry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Marketers frequently position business concerns - whether brands, teams, or stores - as the non market-dominant entity (or the "underdog"). This article examines the motives for underdog support through in-depth interviews and a focus group. Findings suggest that underdog consumers support underdogs out of empathy, as a way to ensure the maintenance of equal opportunity in competition, and as a way to provide personal inspiration. Some motives for underdog support can be interpreted to be anti-consumption (or, at least, anti-corporate) in nature. On the other hand, many underdog consumers support and identify with underdogs not necessarily as a way to keep the top dog down, but as a means to keep the little guy competing. Rather than solely "vote-against" behavior, "vote-for" behavior is very evident as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Anti-consumption
  • Counter-conformity
  • Creolization
  • Glocalization
  • Identification
  • Underdogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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