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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Authenticity

KENT GRAYSON

Northwestern University, USA

MATTEO CORCIOLANI

University of Pisa, Italy

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs12

An authentic market offering is something that is sold in the marketplace, and whose market value is based wholly or partly on a belief that the offering has a particular kind of real, truthful, or genuine connection with something that is important or special to the consumer. The market for authenticity has existed for centuries (Jones 1992; Mukerji 1983). Today's consumers can view a range of marketplace offerings as being authentic, including tourist attractions, products, brands, and characters on television shows. Consumers can also be influenced by the perceived authenticity of entities that develop and sell market offerings, including corporate executives, celebrity endorsers, salespeople, and characters in advertisements.

Judgments of authenticity are inherently subjective. Depending on a variety of factors (including a person's expertise and personal goals), different observers can apply different criteria and can come to different conclusions about a market offering's authenticity. Even in the case of market offerings that many think are objectively authentic (such as art objects in museums), expert judgments about authenticity can differ, depending on subjective criteria (Phillips 1997). Some have therefore argued that there is no single kind of authenticity (Wherry 2006), and that the term “authentic” can refer to different types of ...

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