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Games people play with brands: an application of Transactional Analysis to marketplace relationships

Molesworth, M., Grigore, G. F. and Jenkins, R. (2018) Games people play with brands: an application of Transactional Analysis to marketplace relationships. Marketing Theory, 18 (1). pp. 121-146. ISSN 1741-301X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/1470593117706530


Relationships have been normalised in marketing theory as mutuality beneficial, long-term dyads. This obscures their emotional content, ignores critical conceptualisations of corporate exploitation, and fails to capture the range of possible marketplace relationship forms. In this paper we offer Berne’s (1964) Transactional Analysis (TA) as a way to uncover the biographical psychology that informs marketplace relationship structures and their accompanying emotions, and to provide a critique of such arrangements. We first explain TA, its origins, its relationship with psychoanalysis, its limitations, and contemporary extensions beyond therapy. We then present the structural basis of marketplace relationships from a TA perspective, before illustrating how TA Game Analysis can be applied through an analysis of the iPhone and related mobile phone contracts, and the Games If I didn’t Love Apple and Smallprint. Finally we discuss the implications of such an approach for transforming market practices based on recognition of Marketplace Games and their modification.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:73732


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