Wilson, J., Liu, J. and Fan, Y. (2009) Surrogate brands - the pull to adopt an ‘other’ nation; via sports merchandise. Paper presented to: Academy of Marketing Annual Conference 2009, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, 07-09 July 2009.
A growing number of consumers are choosing to wear sporting merchandise, from an ‘other’ nation – whom they have no geographic or ethnic affiliation with. In addition, nation sports branding appears to have scaled pandemic heights; by reaching fever pitch, when actively carrying its message across borders. Consumer preferences are being driven past simple behavioural characteristics; towards more transient psychographic and emotional constructs. In short, nation branded sporting uniform is no longer viewed as demanding restrictive monogamous loyalty. Ownership of a uniform largely suggests exclusivity and encouraged competition. However, manufactures, national teams, athletes and sponsors are entering symbiotic brand relationships - where they are actively seeking publics, open to multiple adopted nationalities. This phenomenon draws consumers towards embracing temporal national identities, which are converted into an over-arching cross-border identity; ultimately gifting sports brands more significance. The following paper explores consumers’ entry into relationships with another nation, in preference to their own - in manner that has been likened to a form of surrogacy; by the authors. The aim is to stimulate further thinking in a field; which transcends national and cultural boundaries - in the interests of developing new insight, and to provide a platform for marketers to develop more effective communications