Marketing and Envy

Russell W. Belk

in Envy

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195327953
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199301485 | DOI:
Marketing and Envy

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This chapter focuses on ways in which marketers promote or use envy to sell products. Marketing strategies often take advantage of envy in order to create desires in consumers to obtain products associated with admired or envied sources. Sometimes the strategies are explicit through the use of celebrity models linked to a product; the resulting envy or the imagined self as the owner of the product spurring purchasing desires. Other strategies rely on a generalized other represented by what “most people” do. There are interesting shifts between envy avoidance to envy provocation, both historically and with increasing contemporary urbanization. The chapter reviews theory and research related to such topics as well as interesting cultural variations in marketing practices that make use of envy. The analysis addresses a number of conceptual issues important to understanding envy. Many instances of envy in marketing seem to argue for preserving the notion of benign envy as a legitimate category of envy, for example. In this benign sense, envy seems more something to be provoked rather than avoided.

Keywords: envy; marketers; advertising; marketing strategies

Chapter.  8448 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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