Document Type

Conference Paper


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



Publication Details

Competitive paper delivered to the Academy of Marketing Conference, Dublin, Ireland, July 2005


This paper identifies how members of an Irish biker subculture of consumption critically decode marketing messages, brands and products using a subcultural filter (peculiar to the subculture) learnt through localised socialisation. This critical filter develops through prolonged subcultural immersion and is influenced by the word-ofmouth purchase advice and product judgement of other members of the subculture of consumption; with a parallel between its development and use, and the development of the subcultural identity, from experimentation, to identification and conformity, to mastery and internalisation of both filter and identity (Schouten and McAlexander, 1995). It is internally utilised by the members to allow them to achieve a personally harmonious and socially acceptable subcultural identity at a local group level. The findings suggest that marketers’ attempts to encode their offerings with appropriate symbolic meanings and messages are distorted due to the decoding process being arbitrated by the subculture’s members, closely guarded from the influence of those deemed to be non-members and utilised by the members in purchase decisions linked to the subculture.


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