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Study uncovers ethnic trap for marketers

Migrants and ethnic groups who are marginalised or alienated in their adopted country are likely to resist purchasing products that are closely associated with their new homeland, a Victoria University study has found.

The groundbreaking research by Dr Alexander Josiassen was published this week in the prestigious US-based Journal of Marketing.

"Tying a product to national identity has been a strong marketing pitch for many renowned brands throughout the world," Dr Josiassen said. "German engineering and Mercedes, US sporting heroes and Nike are two obvious examples."

"However, resistance to these kinds of products by marginalised groups is clearly demonstrated in my research in The Netherlands."

Dr Josiassen surveyed 1534 second-generation migrants for his study and formulated a "consumer disidentification" model from his results.

"The results have widespread implications for domestic markets in which there are large numbers of migrants and new arrivals or disaffected indigenous groups," he said.

"With a highly mobile international population, it is likely that there will be increasing implications for marketing strategies.

"In Australia we have experienced tension between Muslim Australians and their European counterparts as evidenced during the Cronulla Beach riots in Sydney a few years ago, and the ongoing disaffection of large numbers of Aboriginal people from the dominant European culture.

"We now know that these tensions are likely to affect purchases of a wide range of domestic Australian products, from food and beverages to travel."

 "If we extrapolate further, it may also have implications for other marginalised groups, such as doves and peace activists in a hawkish country such as the United States."

Dr Josiassen's paper can be viewed in the March edition of the Journal of Marketing, produced by the American Marketing Association.

Dr Josiassen is available for comment: 0433 027 275

Media inquiries: Jim Buckell, External Communications Manager,

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: jim.buckell@vu.edu.au

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