Symbolsk forbrug af altruistiske produkter

Rie Lisbeth Andersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This Master’s thesis explores symbolic consumption of altruistic products. In the scope of this thesis altruistic products are products sold where part of the price is donated to altruistic purposes. The purposes can be fighting diseases, giving humanitarian relief or to ensure the producers of raw materials a fair price for their product. Some altruistic organizations have their own products while others cooperate with commercial companies though cause-related marketing. The study conducted to examine the symbolic consumption of altruistic products is based on empirical findings. These findings are gathered through five in-depth interviews with Danish consumers of altruistic products. The five interviews all lasting 2-3 hours resulted in 170 pages of transcrib ed text that have been analyzed to gain knowledge of the symbolic meanings of altruistic products. The results from the qualitative research indicate that altruistic product consumption has potential to contribute to the identity construction, as there are close linkage between the consumption and the construction of the consumer’s identity. The consumption of altruistic products offers a wide spectrum of symbolic meanings. This gives the consumer the ability to construct various possible identities. Theses identities include; the good individual, the idealist, the enthusiast, the messenger, the indulgence seeker, the suitable consumer, the pragmatist, the promoting consumer and the selfish individual. All of these identities can be graded on an altruism-egoism scale depending on the altruistic or egoistic meanings ascribed to altruistic products. The consumption and non-consumption of altruistic products therefore provides the option of constructing oneself as or distancing oneself from one or more of the possible identities. Since identity is a typified self the consumers therefore get the ability to become one or more of the selves though the consumption of altruistic products. The study illustrates how consumers construct their identities and how these reflect their selves. By this is has become clear that some consumers create few identities while others almost live out the full spectrum of possible identities. Through this knowledge of symbolic meanings ascribed to altruistic products there have been addressed recommendations to altruistic organizations and commercial companies working with these. These contained recommendations regarding how to market and tailor the altruistic products to the consumers’ preferences based on the above- mentioned identities.

EducationsMSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages276