Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Young Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible Marketers, Vol. 10 Iss: 4, pp.314 - 328. 2009.


Abstract Purpose – This paper proposes the activity-based focus group as a useful method with which to generate talk-in-interaction among pre-schoolers. Analytically, it aims to illustrate, how transcribed talk-in-interaction can be subjected to a discourse analytic lens, to produce insights into how pre-schoolers use ‘Coca-Cola’ as a conversational resource with which to build product-related meanings and social selves. Design/methodology/approach - Fourteen activity-based discussion groups with pre-schoolers aged between two and five years have been conducted in a number of settings including privately run Montessori schools and community based preschools in Dublin. The talk generated through these groups has been transcribed using the conventions of conversation analysis [CA]. Passages of talk characterized by the topic of Coca-Cola were isolated and a sub-sample of these are analysed here using a CA-informed Discourse Analytic approach. Findings - A number of linguistic repertoires are drawn on, including health, permission and age. Coca-Cola is constructed as something which is ‘bad’ and has the potential to make one ‘mad’. It’s an occasion-based product permitted by parents for example as a treat, at the cinema or at McDonalds. It can be utilised to build ‘age-based’ social selves. ‘Big’ boys or girls can drink Coca-Cola but it is not suitable for ‘babies’. Originality/value – This paper provides insight into the use of the activity-based focus group as a data generation tool for use with pre-schoolers. A discourse analytic approach to the interpretation of children’s talk-in-interaction suggests that the preschool consumer is competent in accessing and employing a consumer artefact such as Coca-Cola as a malleable resource with which to negotiate product meanings and social selves.