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Title: The politics of branding : iRobot, branding and common sense
Author: Pino, Simona
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 6596
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates the branding and marketing practices of the iRobot Corporation, an American military firm that produces both domestic and military robots with the same brand, and emphasises its military character when advertising its civilian products. Based on the assumption that the branding strategy is counterintuitive and controversial, this thesis offers an explanation by considering the practice within the broader historical context, thus providing an insight into the changing role and place of military firms within contemporary American capitalism. The argument is that the firm has developed its brand by constructing a narrative based on certain features of common sense, a notion developed by Gramsci to refer to a set of widely established and uncritically accepted ideas, present in contemporary American society. The main elements emerging from the empirical analysis of iRobot’s narrative, carried out by focusing on the language and imagery employed on the part of the firm are: 1] a conflation of the military and civilian spheres; 2] the security-enhancing character of the firm’s warfare robots; 3] the depiction of these robots uniquely in defensive terms. The thesis shows how these three elements are consistent with ideas that are widely established at the societal level: an increasingly indistinct separation of the military and civilian spheres, a long-standing casualty aversion, and a confused understanding of the notions of defence and offence since 9/11, respectively. In turn, the consistency between the firm’s narrative and US common sense stands in the way of a critical appraisal of the ideological character of the firm’s strategy and the implications linked to it. These are the diffusion of martial ideas across American society, which has a negative impact on the functioning of democracy, and the reinforcement of militaristic approaches to foreign policy, which has repercussions at the level of the international order.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HJ Public Finance