What’s the story, allegory?

Stephen Brown, Lorna Stevens, Pauline Maclaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
156 Downloads (Pure)


If ever a literary genre were made for consumer research, that literary genre is allegory. The word comes from the Ancient Greek allegoreo, meaning to speak of the other in the marketplace. Building on the pioneering research of Barbara B. Stern, this article considers the character and characteristics of allegorical storytelling. It does so by means of an empirical study of a richly storied apparel brand, Hollister (HCo), whose sudden rise and rapid fall contains allegorical lessons for retailers and researchers alike. Part of a project to promote literary criticism, it identifies three key themes that typify allegories – Life, Location and Language – all of which figure prominently in a sizeable introspective study of HCo consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalConsumption, Markets and Culture
Early online date8 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 8 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Marketing
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • introspection
  • literary criticism
  • Allegory
  • Hollister


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