Seminar with Hope Jensen Schau
CTF Seminar with Professor Hope Jensen Schau, University of Arizona, USA
Title: Let’s Make a Deal: How Consumers Collectively Construct Unintended Value from Promotions
Time: Thursday, March 15th 13.00-15.00
Let’s Make a Deal: How Consumers Collectively Construct Unintended Value from Promotions
Colin Campbell and Hope Jensen Schau
We examine two large U.S. online deal forums that focus on identifying and constructing deals perceived as providing consumers with unintended value. Unintended value refers to exchange or promotional value beyond what a marketer may have planned. Consumers are demonstrated to be attracted to deals perceived as providing unintended value. Using a comprehensive netnography that includes data from naturalistic and participant observation, as well as interviews with both forum members and site administrators, we develop understanding of the mechanism through which perceptions of unintended value can be generated. Existing research focuses on a promotion’s targeting as a means of generated perceptions of unintended value, with consumers not targeted by an offer shown to view it as more attractive than a general, untargeted offer. Our analysis finds that perceptions of unintended value can also result from consumer co-production of deals involving multiple untargeted promotions. Specifically, combining several untargeted offers together to produce an objectively more lucrative promotional bundle can result in perceptions that a co-produced promotional bundle is unintended by a firm and thus even more valuable. We show that this effect results from consumer agency in the co-production process as well as the complexity of the resultant promotional bundles. Knowledge held, and assessment occurring, at the collective level work to further facilitate these outcomes. Our research offers several contributions. First, we expand understanding of the concept of unintended value and perceptions of it can be formed. Second, we identify a form of consumer co-production that is novel not only because it occurs in the context of promotions, but also because such value is realized at the point of exchange. Finally, we identify a form of consumer collective that is both brand-agnostic and principally focused on finding and acquiring unintended promotional value.