Conspicuous political brand interactions on Social Network Sites

Ben Marder, Caroline Marchant, Chris Archer-Brown, Amy Yau, Jonas Colliander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output


Acquiring ‘Likes’ for a political party or candidate’s Facebook pages is important for political marketers. For consumers these ‘Likes’ are conspicuous, making their political affiliation visible to their network. Our study examines the roles of the undesired social-self and visibility (conspicuous vs. inconspicuous) in predicting consumers’ intention to ‘Like’ political brands. We extend knowledge on the undesired social-self, transference of theory from general marketing to a political domain and provide practical advice for political marketers engaging social network sites.


We gather data from two surveys run with Facebook using electorates in the run up to the UK 2015 and US 2016 elections (n = 1,205) on their intention to ‘Like’ political brands under different visibility conditions.


Data supports the theorized relationship of the undesired social-self with social anxiety intention to ‘Like’ when ‘Liking’ is conspicuous. However also
indicates that all users - irrespective of proximity to the undesired social-self - prefer to ‘Like’ inconspicuously.

Research limitations/implication

The research is limited by the generalizability of the specific context and the use of self-report measures.

Practical implications

Political marketers should reconsider promoting conspicuous consumption for that which is more inconspicuous.


We provide the first examination of the undesired social-self in driving behavior under different visibility conditions. Furthermore we challenge the extension of existing knowledge of the self-concept within political marketing, based on the ‘norm’ for consumers’ to avoid disclosing political views publically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-724
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number3/4
Early online date27 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • undesired-self
  • social anxiety
  • Facebook
  • social network sites
  • political marketing
  • self-concept


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