Activationism: how tobacco marketers hacked global youth culture

Rossella Chiara Gambetti, RV Kozinets, M Suarez, T. Dewhirst, U. Gretzel, C. Renzulli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Expanding on long-term, in-depth research carried out in partnership with the non-profit organization, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), we conducted a 10-country netnography concerning the use of branded events and social media to market tobacco brands to young people. Our study revealed how youth culture and activist discourse are subverted and transformed through an interlinked series of events, training sessions, sponsorships, branding moves, and recruitments. To distinguish this new form of marketing from activism, we term it “activationism.” Alongside offering an initial definition of the term, this paper broadly outlines some of its contours, theoretical connections, and implications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsumer Culture Theory Conference 2019: The Future is Loading
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventConsumer Culture Theory Conference - Montreal
Duration: 17 Jul 201920 Jul 2019


ConferenceConsumer Culture Theory Conference


  • Brand activation
  • Consumer activism
  • culture jamming
  • netnography
  • social media
  • tobacco industry
  • youth culture hacking


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