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Resolving Contradictions in Human Brand Celebrity and Iconicity

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrew Lindridge


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Using David Bowie as a human brand we analyse the symbolic meanings and trajectories of his performance personas of Bowie and his character - Ziggy Stardust. We address the research question of how are contradictions between celebrity and iconicity resolved in creating and managing a human brand. Using structuration theory, using data drawn from Bowie’s 50 year career, we identify three stages of human brand symbolic associations: forming, fixing and transitioning associations. These represent alternate trajectories that Bowie and Ziggy Stardust followed to become icons. In resolving his trajectories across these stages Bowie adapts and adopts commercial materials, business practices and new technologies to converge his symbolic associations into a coherent iconic human brand. This perspective challenges existing conceptualisations of celebrity and iconicity by framing them as inter-related processes, where celebrity associations are fixed in time, while iconic associations transition across time periods to reflect changing cultural values and concerns.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Eager T, Lindridge AM

Editor(s): Belk R

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Consumer Culture Theory

Year: 2016

Volume: 17

Pages: 311-330

Print publication date: 31/10/2016

Acceptance date: 31/07/2016

Series Title: Research in Consumer Behavior

Publisher: Emerald

Place Published: Wakefield


DOI: 10.1108/S0885-211120150000017015

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781785603235