Negotiating subcultural authenticity through interpretation of mainstream advertising

This paper explores how subcultural authenticity is constructed and negotiated as members of a subculture interpret mainstream advertising images.

Negotiating subcultural authenticity through interpretation of mainstream advertising

Ilona Mikkonen

Helsinki School of Economics


American marketers became interested in gay and lesbian consumer segments in the late 1990s. Several marketing studies have revealed that, at least statistically speaking, homosexuals form a potentially very lucrative market segment. Previously invisible in the commercial sense, the homosexual community was soon labelled a dream market (Kates 1999); better educated, higher than average incomes and (often) no children, and also willing to spend their substantial disposable incomes on personal luxuries such as shopping, cosmetics, dining out and travel (Sender 2002).

Yet, homosexual audiences’ interpretations...

Not a subscriber?

Schedule your live demo with our team today

WARC helps you to plan, create and deliver more effective marketing

  • Prove your case and back-up your idea

  • Get expert guidance on strategic challenges

  • Tackle current and emerging marketing themes

We’re long-term subscribers to WARC and it’s a tool we use extensively. We use it to source case studies and best practice for the purposes of internal training, as well as for putting persuasive cases to clients. In compiling a recent case for long-term, sustained investment in brand, we were able to support key marketing principles with numerous case studies sourced from WARC. It helped bring what could have been a relatively dry deck to life with recognisable brand successes from across a broad number of categories. It’s incredibly efficient to have such a wealth of insight in one place.

Insights Team
Bray Leino

You’re in good company

We work with 80% of Forbes' most valuable brands* and 80% of the world's top top-of-the-class agencies.

* Top 10 brands