Document Type

Theses, Masters

Master Thesis

Master thesis


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


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Thesis submitted for the award of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) to the Technological University Dublin, 2007.


The link between brands and culture is well documented (McCracken, 1986; Ritson and Elliott, 1999). However the purposeful creation of brands related to culture is less evident (Vincent, 2002; Holt, 2004). It is this lack of theoretical understanding of cultural brands that drives this study. The objective of this study is to investigate the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) as an iconic brand within the socio-economic context of Ireland. The literature has been divided into two chapters, the first is an overview of consumer culture as the context within which brands have taken on great importance, in the construction of self and relationships. It is within consumer culture that the focus of the second chapter, iconic brands has developed, and this study will investigate such a development. According to a study conducted by Holt (2004), of popular brands within their contexts, iconic brands are longstanding brands that address identity issues felt by individuals due to their shortcomings when compared to ideological expectations. Iconic brands hold seven axioms or characteristics that they follow unintentionally. These characteristics will be examined and discussed within this study. Through investigating popular brands within different contexts a greater understanding of iconic branding can be achieved. The methodology adopted follows Holt’s (2004) interpretive genealogical approach, in that the story told by the brand throughout its life is studied in conjunction with social changes in the context of the study. Both a narrative and contextual analysis are carried out from secondary data on the GAA and Ireland. Interviews are also conducted with those involved in the GAA and the promotion of its image. Using these different forms of research and interpretive data collection and analysis will enable the researcher to gain a greater understanding of Holt’s (2004) iconic brand axioms and the genealogical approach. In the findings, results from all of the different forms of research are combined and discussed under the seven axioms of iconic brands proposed by Holt (2004). The iconicity of the GAA is implied however, more importantly, the results promote understanding of iconic branding by applying the axioms to a popular brand within another cultural context. These findings corroborate on the veracity of the seven axioms. Furthermore, the results provide recommendations for the management of iconic brands.




Document Type

Master thesis