Authenticity is a cornerstone of contemporary marketing. Yet how do firms develop brand positions based on authenticity when marketing, and in particular, advertising, is believed to be antithetical to such positioning? We examine how consumers assess the claims of Trappist and Abbey beer brands. We identify three forms of authenticity: pure (literal) authenticity, approximate authenticity, and moral authenticity. In each case, consumers draw on either indexical or iconic cues to form judgments of authenticity, although the type of cue and degree of abstraction differ across the three types. We also find that the informants are duped by careful advertisements, and explain this by proposing that the relationships between indexical and iconic cues are closer than previously thought.
Beverland, M., Lindgreen, A., & Vink, M. W. (2008). Projecting Authenticity through Advertising: Consumer Judgment of Advertisers’ Claims. Journal of Advertising, 37(1), 5-15. https://doi.org/10.2753/JOA0091-3367370101