Buy, boycott or blog: exploring online consumer power to share, discuss and distribute controversial advertising messages
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The availability of new media as a universal communication tool has an impact on the power of the general public to comment on a variety of issues. This paper examines this increase in consumer power with respect to bloggers. The research context is controversial advertising, and specifically Tourism Australia’s “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign. By utilising Denegri-Knott’s (2006) four on-line power strategies, a content analysis of weblogs reveals that consumers are distributing information, opinion and even banned advertising material, thereby forming power hubs of like-minded people, with the potential to become online pressure groups. The consequences and implications of this augmented power on regulators, advertisers and bloggers are explored. The findings contribute to the understanding of blogs as a new communication platform and bloggers as a new demographic of activists in the process of advertising.
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