Marketing Department (CBA)


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Published in Journal of Business Research 62:2 (February 2009), pp. 191–199; doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2008.01.026 Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


Marketers frequently position business concerns—whether brands, teams, or stores—as the non market-dominant entity (or the “underdog”). This article examines the motives for underdog support through in-depth interviews and a focus group. Findings suggest that underdog consumers support underdogs out of empathy, as a way to ensure the maintenance of equal opportunity in competition, and as a way to provide personal inspiration. Some motives for underdog support can be interpreted to be anti-consumption (or, at least, anti-corporate) in nature. On the other hand, many underdog consumers support and identify with underdogs not necessarily as a way to keep the top dog down, but as a means to keep the little guy competing. Rather than solely “vote-against” behavior, “vote-for” behavior is very evident as well.

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