A lone walker is both present and detached, more than an audience but less than a participant. Walking assuages or legitimizes this alienation.

Solnit (2001)

Since the shift in marketing from a transactional to a relational outlook, researchers and marketing experts have usually emphasized the positive sides of the relationship between the consumer and the brand. Research on negative feelings concerning brands has been sparse (de Campos Ribeiro, Butori, & Le Nagard, 2018). In the face of current consumer brand relationship, one can see increasing signs of discontent that, if not discernible then in substance, apropos the phenomenon of alienation that is not an absence of relationship with brand but a relation of "relationlessness" where the alienated consumer has those contrasting desires to repel the brand, and to control and belong to it. Consumer-alienation as an association between brand and consumer proffers an enlightening link between liberty and alienation. The roots of this relationship can be retrieved in consumer sovereignty—each individual member of the market has the right to choose for himself and brands have no authority to dictate his preferences. The transformative consumer research movement also urges redress of consumers' discontent by considering sovereignty, non-malfeasance, social justice, and stakeholder claims. The number of such consumers may well be higher than is immediately apparent because, at more progressive stages of alienation, alienated objects swallow their alienation (Marcuse, 1964) and may not look to be alienated. Efforts to patch the relationship between the consumer and the brand can lead to new forms of alienation but not to its eradication. Therefore, an investigation of alienation is essential to meet the needs of both researchers and practitioners.