JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies
This article challenges media studies scholars to pay closer attention to retail spaces as sites that mediate how entertainment franchises engage consumers. Examining retail through a media industries lens, it argues that retail is a site of struggle among retailers and brand owners over how brand stories are told, if at all. The article explores both the storytelling devices used in telling Frozen and Sesame Street stories at Target and how shop talk among retailers, brand owners, and manufacturers shapes the kinds of stories that entertainment properties can tell at retail, especially as those stories intersect with retail imaginings of why consumers shop and how consumer behaviors might be divided along gender, class, race, and age configurations. It ends with a case study analyzing how Sony's Annie (Gluck, 2014) brand story was told at Target in light of the near-complete absence of blackness as either a viable brand attribute or a recognizable consumer category in that space.
Original Publication Citation
Santo, A. (2019). Retail tales and tribulations: Transmedia brands, consumer products, and the significance of shop talk. JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, 58(2), 115-141. doi:10.1353/cj.2019.0005
Santo, Avi, "Retail Tales and Tribulations: Transmedia Brands, Consumer Products, and the Significance of Shop Talk" (2019). Communication & Theatre Arts Faculty Publications. 41.