Autoria: Francisco Giovanni David Vieira, André Torres Urdan. Abstract

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1 Culture, Consumption and Symbolization in the Brazilian Shopping Goods Market: The Case of Havaianas Sandals Autoria: Francisco Giovanni David Vieira, André Torres Urdan Abstract This paper discusses the symbolic production that is created by companies when they offer their products to the market. It has an interdisciplinary approach, with its theoretical background lying mainly in marketing and anthropology, and its discussion being based on a case that is used to illustrate the subject of the paper. The case is analyzed by means of document research, secondary data analysis and observation in field, and is about how Havaianas sandals, which for decades had been a typical product of working-class and lowincome consumers, suddenly became a desired product in the Brazilian market and a symbol of beauty and glamour outside Brazil, especially in some European countries. Final remarks concerning limitations of the study, and theoretical and managerial implications are also provided. I. Introduction Discussion about culture and consumption, especially from an interdisciplinary point of view, has been demonstrated to be a reliable way to advance our understanding about consumer behavior and marketing phenomena in contemporary society (COSTA, 1995; ZINKHAN, 1999; BURTON, 2002; CRAIG; DOUGLAS, 2006). This approach, however, has received little attention from, and has even been neglected by, Brazilian scholars of marketing. Some good exceptions that can be found in the field of marketing, however, are studies carried out in recent years by D Angelo (2003), Castilhos, Rossi and Cavedon (2005) Marçal, Mello and Fonsêca (2006), and Ayrosa, Sauerbronn and Barros (2007). However, despite the fact that these studies have the merit of analyzing culture and consumption, they do not pay specific attention to the symbolization processes associated to cultural production. This subject, which in a certain way leads us to the idea of post-modern society (MILLER, 1998; BROWN, 2005; FARIA, 2006), represents a considerable challenge to market research (HIRSCHMAN; HOLBROOK, 1992; DURGEE, 2004; ARNOULD; THOMPSON, 2005). This background of culture, consumption and symbolization seems to be paradoxically simple. Everywhere that there are people living and consuming, there are, consequently, processes of cultural production and reproduction surrounding their acts and the objects or goods that they use or consume (SAHLINS, 1978; APPADURAI, 1986; MAUSS, 1990; McCRACKEN, 1991; DOUGLAS; ISHERWOOD, 1996). But how comprehensive is our knowledge within the area of marketing about the capacity of companies to produce symbols and transform them into cultural elements embedded in the social lives of people, particularly the social lives of the consumers, through acts consumption? Putting the above considerations into perspective, it can be seen that despite scholars having increasingly dedicated attention to understanding consumer behavior (SOLOMON, 2006; 1

2 LIMEIRA, 2008), the issues of symbolic production by companies surrounding the market, especially in emerging countries, have remained seldom visited and explored (BARBOSA; CAMPBELL, 2006), and even misunderstood (McCRACKEN, 2005). Under these circumstances, important phenomena can be overlooked, and research will therefore fail to contribute to the development of the discipline in a comprehensive manner. This paper, therefore, tries to rise to this challenge and make a contribution by discussing the symbolic production that is created by companies when they offer their products to the market. To this end, the paper is organized as follows: after the presentation of the research question and the aim of the study, as detailed in this section, a theoretical background is provided, covering the areas of consumption, culture, symbolization and marketing, as well as product mix and the Brazilian market for shopping goods. This is followed by the methodology section, and the main findings of the study are then presented, through a description of market events and a case study of Havaianas Sandals, in order to illustrate the subject matter of the paper and to demonstrate the production of a symbol of beauty and desire in the Brazilian market. Final remarks concerning limitations of the study, and theoretical and managerial implications are provided at the end. II. Theoretical Background This section is divided into three parts and establishes the theoretical reference for the analysis of the data. The first part brings together, in an interdisciplinary manner, the two areas of marketing and anthropology to look at the subjects of culture, consumption and symbolization. The second part identifies key concepts in marketing literature, which form the basis of our understanding of companies product mixes and offer ways of managing product lines. The third part provides an insight into the Brazilian shopping goods market. Symbolic Production, Culture and Consumption Culture has been the object of many debates and disputes in the social sciences. Since the very beginning, social scientists, particularly anthropologists and sociologists, have defined and understood culture from different perspectives (GEERTZ, 1973). In this paper, we define culture as follows: a collective compound of mental representations with which people link the material to the immaterial the economic and social structures, techniques and laws and the norms to symbolic life the representations, ideologies and ideas that form a group of faiths, values and symbols that influence the existence and the social behavior of the individuals (CUCHE, 1999, p. 10). In this definition, culture is a collective process of learning that supplies referential orientations to individuals, giving meaning to their actions and the world that surrounds them, particularly through the decoding of words, expressions, gestures and silences, etc. In addition to this, culture orders, classifies and joins individuals into a social group, influencing the way each individual defends their interests, their convictions and the collective objectives of the social group. The human species does not simply survive; it has the capacity to break limitations, to innovate, diversify and, ultimately, to create culture, which means that, according to Geertz (1973), our lives are the results of our readings, interpretations and, consequently, constructions. 2

3 Within a social structure, culture is completely filled with symbols and symbolic phenomena (THOMPSON, 2001). Addressing this concept is important to emphasize that symbols are not only created by shape, but also by representations that have particular meanings (CSIKSZENTMIHALYI; ROCHBERG-HALTON, 2002). From this perspective, it can be seen that symbols and symbolic production can be both material and immaterial. Bearing in mind that consumer goods are an important medium of our culture (McCRACKEN, 2005), it can be seen that they also represent symbols within the social structure, including in the market place. They are entities in which we keep our private and public meanings, using them to construct our domestic and public worlds (McCRACKEN, 2005). Even more remarkable is the assumption made by Appadurai (1986), who said that commodities, goods or products, it does not matter how we refer to them, are the stuff of material culture in our society. The process of offering products to the market is related to values and beliefs, and patterns of interaction and social behavior, as well as to tangible dimensions, such as the material aspects and artifacts of the consumer s daily life. This not only puts symbolic production at the center of the offering of goods by companies (McCRACKEN 1991), but also reveals the role played by culture in the making of that offer, as well as in the consumer s behavior (ROCHA; BARROS, 2006). This shows that things and products have different dimensions in daily life and are full of meanings for consumers (APPADURAI, 1986), which implies that symbolic contexts are created through the use of goods (SAHLINS, 1978). In this paper, it is very important to state that products can have many faces and can express different meanings (CSIKSZENTMIHALYI; ROCHBERG-HALTON, 2002; BARBOSA; CAMPELL, 2006), but what gives rise to this understanding is that they are social constructions, which fit into a system. According to McCracken (1986) there is a production system of cultural meaning, with the meaning being embedded in culture. In order to extend this concept to marketing and to the theory of consumer behavior, Durgee (2004) stated that there is a co-creation of consumption meanings by consumers and companies, which involve product design, positioning, advertising, and dimensions of the product mix, as well as other aspects. Therefore, this reinforces the initial question of this paper mentioned above. Product Mix Product mix, also called product portfolio, is one of the most important aspects in marketing. It plays a central role in the product decisions of any company, which are, in turn, key decisions in the marketing management process (URDAN; URDAN, 2006). Scholars and practitioners have pointed out that a considerable part of the marketing management process is related to finding out what customers want, and product mix can be understood as being the other side of the coin, that is, the response from producers or suppliers (MERCER, 1992). According to Kotler (1991, p. 432), a product mix is the set of all product lines and items that a particular seller offers for sale to buyers. Kotler (1991, p. 436) carries on to define a product line as being a group of products that are closely related because they perform a similar function, are sold to the same customer groups, are marketed through the same channels, or make up a particular price range. In this way, a specific product line can consist of several products or even sub-lines, and each product line or sub-line, can also contain many 3

4 specific items related directly to the products, or indirectly to the sub-lines (PRIDE; FERREL, 1993). All product mixes have, to some extent, breadth, length, depth and consistency (MERCER, 1992; PRIDE; FERREL, 1993; URDAN; URDAN, 2006). In order to clarify these terms, we can follow Kotler s (1991) suggestions that: (a) breadth refers to how many different product lines a company carries; (b) length refers to the total number of items, or sub-lines, in the product mix and, in turn, average length is obtained by dividing the total length by the number of lines; (c) depth refers to how many variants are offered for each product in the line or sub-lines, and average depth is obtained by dividing the total number of possibilities, in terms of size, color or weight, etc, within the group of variants by the number of products, or items, in the line or sub-lines; and (d) consistency refers to how closely related the various product lines are in end use, production requirements, distribution channels or in some other way. These concepts are, in fact, dimensions on which the product mix can be balanced in terms of production scale, costs, logistics, distribution channels, market share, sales opportunities, and profitability, among other aspects (MERCER, 1992). However, it is important to emphasize that in addition to being aspects of marketing management, they are also directly related to the ability that companies have to produce symbols and create meanings (McCRACKEN, 2005). The Brazilian Shopping-Goods Market Pride and Ferrel (1993) suggest that shopping goods are goods that the customer, in the process of selection and purchase, characteristically compares on such bases as suitability, quality, price, and style. The Brazilian shopping-goods market has experienced huge growth in recent years. Until the 1940s, the Brazilian economy was based essentially on agricultural activity, with the beginnings of its industrial sector not occurring until the 1950s. At this time, the process of domestic products replacing imported products began. Thus, as well as maintaining agricultural productivity, Brazil started to produce some of the manufactured goods that were available in its internal market. The priorities were the automobile and naval construction industries (RICHERS, 1994). In spite of this, there was great pressure for the supply of shopping goods, mainly because of the restrictions in the postwar period Brazil had only achieved a rudimentary level of industrialization and was not able to produce shopping goods on a large scale (SORJ, 2000; VOLPI, 2007). At that time, Brazil had less than 80 million inhabitants and a growth rate of 2.9% a year, with 60% of its population being economically occupied in agricultural activity. According to Richers (1994), there were two "Brasis": an urban one and the rural one. Since then, Brazil has undergone many changes, and is a different country now. It currently has 189 million inhabitants, and around 85% of its population lives in urban areas. The Brazilian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached US$1.5 trillion last year (IBGE, 2008), and the number of active consumers in its economy (people who have a monthly income of at least US$300) quadrupled from 13.5 to 60 million (LIMA, 2007). 4

5 This transformation has created a large Brazilian market for shopping goods. Nowadays, Brazil s own industrial sector has the capacity to offer most products to the internal market on a large scale, even in the face of competing products manufactured abroad, especially those made in China. It is clear that Brazil continues to be a country of enormous differences and contrasts in many economic, social, cultural and even geographic aspects. Nevertheless, it is useful to quote some statistics to show the size of the Brazilian market for shopping goods: in 2007, total income increased 6.4%, family consumption 5.9% and sales in the retail sector 9.9% (RANDS, 2008). Moreover, and of particular interest to this paper, within this latest economic and retail expansion, the sandals sector showed a market growth of 10.7% (GAIER, 2008). III. Method A combination of methods was used to carry out the study (CRESWELL, 2002), namely: event history analysis, secondary data analysis and observation in field (BAKER, 2003). The empirical context of the study was the Brazilian market, with São Paulo Alpargatas S.A., the company that manufactures Havaianas Sandals, being observed. Specifically, information was gathered from merchandising tools, point of purchase materials, advertising, newspapers and websites, all concerning the marketing actions related to the process of offering Havaianas Sandals to the market. Additionally, the three major weekly Brazilian magazines, Veja, Época and Isto É, were researched. The reason for choosing the three magazines mentioned above had been related to their national extension in terms of sale outlets, wide audience, as well as they cover a large number of different subjects and, therefore, do not communicate to any target in terms of gender or age, specifically. This was particularly important in order to see the symbology used in communications for different targets, as well as important in light of the depth of the product line of Havaianas Sandals for the different targets that they have in the market. Moreover, in order to search reports, news and complementary information about the Havaianas Sandals, we accessed the database of the Exame magazine, which is the main Brazilian magazine of business. The research was accomplished during the period of time involved between July of 2007 and June of The study therefore had a transversal, as well as descriptive, design (COOPER; SCHINDLER, 2003). IV. Major Findings This section presents the main results of the study. It has been divided into three complementary parts in order to show a case of symbolic production in the Brazilian shopping-goods market in a clear manner: (i) a brief of history of Havaianas Sandals, (ii) their product-mix, and (iii) the symbolic and cultural aspects exploited in the market by Havaianas Sandals. A Brief History of Havaianas Sandals Havaianas Sandals had become the most important and most visible product of the São Paulo Alpargatas company (BLECHER, 2006; HORVATH, 2007). They were launched into the market in 1962 and their target market was Brazilian middle-income consumers (SILVA, 5

6 2000). Their first slogan aimed at this emerging market was the simplest answer to the necessity of protecting the feet (GARCIA, 2007). However, contrary to the initial intention, during their first years in the market, Havaianas Sandals became a typical working-class and low-income consumer product (HIRATA, 2006). They had only one model and five options of color, a low price and, most importantly, a large distribution in small and neighborhood markets. They therefore very quickly acquired a meaning of poverty (BLECHER, 2006). At the same time, the social interactions surrounding the sandals co-created the meaning of simplicity; but, in fact, this had already been connected to the symbol of poverty. Additionally, during the period when Brazil was a dictatorship ( ), Havaianas Sandals were used as a kind of tool for popular hygienic education in government campaigns, particularly in the 1970s. There was a notion that poor people had a lower probability of becoming sick if they used the sandals. This fact only served to increase the symbolic production and cultural reproduction already created through the use of Havaianas Sandals until then. In the early 1990s, the manufacturing company of Havaianas Sandals started to face competition from other companies that had begun to offer new options of sandals to the market. These companies prices were even lower than those of Havaianas. Ironically, despite Havaianas having almost 90% of the market share at the time, they were not very profitable (URDAN; URDAN, 2006). In response to this situation, São Paulo Alpargatas completely changed the marketing strategy of Havaianas Sandals. In 1994, the sandals underwent a process of brand revitalization, with new models, styles and colors (Figure 1), as well as a new concept, new prices and new points of purchase (BLECHER, 2006; HIRATA, 2006; GARCIA, 2007). The adopted strategy redefined the target market of the sandals. However, the main change that occurred was related to the symbolic aspects surrounding the sandals, in terms of market segmentation, communication and positioning. Figure 1 Models and styles of Havaianas Sandals Since then, the sandals have been produced and offered to the market in a different way, in terms of design, positioning and advertising, using symbols of Brazilian culture like, for instance, tropical colors. Material and behavioral elements from beach culture and other forms of leisure, entertainment and amusement have also been used, all of them producing symbols of sensuality and beauty. Complementarily, some Brazilian indigenous themes, as well as exotic and oriental colors and themes, were also used. 6

7 Nowadays, Havaianas Sandals are still the best-selling brand in their category. They are also exported to 80 countries around the world, and their main markets are Australia, the United States, France, England, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Poland, Monaco, Japan, Thailand, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia and Venezuela, among others. To summarize, Havaianas Sandals managed to overcome an adverse situation in the Brazilian internal market and became the first successful Brazilian brand in the global market. Havaianas Sandals Product-Mix For this analysis, only the product mix of Havaianas Sandals was considered, not the entire product mix of São Paulo Alpargatas, the producing company of the sandals, which also has other products and brands. In this way, the classic dimensions of product mixes, such as breadth, length and depth, are applied just to the mix of Havaianas Sandals (Table 1). This approach provides a more comprehensive view of the mix and offers us an insight into product design, product concept, and positioning, which are related to the symbolic constructions surrounding Havaianas Sandals (DURGEE, 2004; McCRACKEN, 2005). Product-Line Length Table 1 Product-Mix Breadth and Product-Line Length of Havaianas Sandals Product-Mix Breadth Product Line Havaianas Sandals Sub-line Variants Colors (n) Havaianas Baby Top, Brasil, Pets, Estampas 18 Havaianas Beach Beach 4 Havaianas Boys Monsters, Rock, Surf 10 Havaianas Brasil Brasil 7 Havaianas Casual Casual 4 Havaianas Flash Tiresse, Style, Style Etnics, Hit 23 Havaianas Girls Apple, Flowers, Fairy, Fun, Luck Bug, Top Metalic 22 Havaianas High Animals, Light, Look, Metalic 17 Havaianas Ipê Normal Ipê, Younglet 6 Havaianas Joy Joy 4 Havaianas Kids Brazil, Pets, Top, Younglets 4 Havaianas Printed Poplar, Camouflaged, Check, Floral 17 Havaianas Slim Slim, Animals, Basic, Season, Stripes 28 Havaianas Surf Surf 5 Havaianas Top Top, Top Metalic 30 Havaianas Traditional Traditional 5 Havaianas Trail Trail 4 Havaianas Wave Wave 6 Source: Sandálias Havaianas (2007) The Havaianas Sandals mix has one major product line, the sandal itself (Table 1). Therefore, its breadth is 1. São Paulo Alpargatas also offer a line of socks, closely related to the sandals, which is sometimes considered as being a kind of sub-line of the mix. However, their proximity is just based on the space that exists between toes that allows the simultaneous use of the socks with the sandals, and on the idea that the sock is a kind of complement to the sandals, particularly for the teenage female market. The Havaianas Sandals mix has a length of 18 (Table 1), and as the mix has only one line, its average length is also 18. The length of the mix shows products that have been aimed at all markets, taking into considering demographic variables such as, for example, gender, age and social class. Nevertheless, despite the company offering products to adult men and women, as 7

8 well as to babies, it can be seen that the company pays special attention to the female and young markets. The Havaianas Sandals mix has a total depth of 46 and an average depth about 5 (Table 1). Since each variant within a sub-line has different colors, the color formulation related to the variants within the sub-lines has leaded us to the average depth, which indicates that there is considerable product variety and formulation in the Havaianas Sandals mix. When taking into consideration the fact that there are eight sub-lines within the product-line length that have only one variant, the average depth is even more expressive (PRIDE; FERREL, 1993). The product mix dimensions mentioned above, as Mercer (1992) points out, provide the basis for defining the company s strategy. Havaianas Sandals have clearly been using them to confirm the strategy adopted in the nineties, as sub-lines have been launched into the market at different times and the current mix has undergone frequent changes and the inclusion of new models, especially involving different colors and prints (BLECHER, 2006; HIRATA, 2006). This fact reveals that in order to acquire a strong reputation within its field, Havaianas Sandals have not only been adding new product sub-lines, but have also been lengthening each product sub-line by adding more variants, and thereby deepening its product mix. An important aspect of this is that by adding a variation to an existing sub-line, not only can additional sales be created (and market positions be reached), but also new symbols. Therefore, there is symbolic production by means of new variations. The joint ventures with H. Stern jewelry and Swarowski crystals, both for launching a limited variation of the sandals, were a clear way of illustrating that production. Symbolic and Cultural Aspects Explored in the Market Positioning of Havaianas Sandals The change in the marketing strategy of Havaianas Sandals, as mentioned before, was based on a process of marketing mix management (URDAN; URDAN, 2006). Marketing management actions related to market segmentation, product concept, product mix, positioning, product value and communication, among other things, enable us to verify both the use and relevance of that process to the process of reaching a new position in the sandal market. Nevertheless, it is clearly possible to observe that Havaianas Sandals have also been seeking to produce symbols for the consumers. These symbols are based on cultural attributes. The aspects exploited in the positioning of the sandals are presented in Table 2. The intensity of the usage of the sandal attributes in their positioning process within the market referred to the number of times the attributes were referred to in advertising campaigns, at points of purchase, and in magazines or websites. The scale was as follows: (i) very intense: ten or more references, (ii) quite intense: up to eight references, (iii) reasonably intense: up to six references and (iv) not very intense: up to four references. Table 2 Sandal aspects used in the positioning of Havaianas Sandals within the market Exploited Aspect What the Sandals are Sandal Attributes (symbology) Comfortable Colored, Modern Delicate, Innovative Use Intensity Very intense Quite intense Reasonably intense 8

9 What the Sandals provide How you will be when using the Sandals What you can do using the Sandals Source: Documentary and field research, Anatomical, Legitimate, Perfect, Suitable Design, Shape, Different combinations Adherence, Durability, Fluidness, Lightness, Quality, Safety, Stability Fashionable Beautiful, Sophisticated Casual, Cool, Elegant, Feminine, Free, Happy, Rash, Venturous Luxurious, Romantic, Vain Be fashionable, Go out, Go to the beach Beauty tricks, Go shopping, Put the block down, Ride the surf, Upgrade your look Be funny, Please, Work Not very intense Quite intense Not very intense Very intense Quite intense Reasonably intense Not very intense Quite intense Reasonably intense Not very intense The set of aspects exploited by Havaianas Sandals shows a clear intention to develop a relationship with the market by means of the symbolization surrounding the sandals themselves, as well as through what the consumer can achieve by using them. In the cultural construction, the putting together of an object and its symbols (BHAT; REDDY, 1998), these aspects are specifically concerned with what the sandals are, what they provide for consumers, and how consumers will be and what they can do when using the sandals. Although the first and second aspects (Table 2) have some physical and tangible features linked directly to the attributes, they still strongly incorporate symbols that have been conveyed to consumers. For example, in Table 2 we can see that there is a more intense use of the possible interpretations (GEERTZ, 1973) and representations (APPADURAI, 1986) relating to modern social life than to physical features. On the other hand, the third and fourth exploited aspects do not have any tangible features. They consist entirely of symbols, especially the third aspect, which has the most intense symbology of the four (Table 2). With regard to this aspect, it is very interesting to note the suggestion that the ability for someone to be something is directly related to his or her use of the sandals. In other words, using the sandals can even define or express a type of identity or a sense of humor (FRIEDMAN, 1994; CSIKSZETMIHALYI; ROCHBERG-HALTON, 2002). According to McCracken (2005), this is representative of a typical situation in which consumer goods can help us to display new meanings or to change meanings through their use or innovation, respectively. The fourth aspect is also remarkable for one particular simple reason, which has a central role in the process of symbolic production: the creation of the ideas of consumer actions and of the social life of the goods (APPADURAI, 1986). It shows the way that Havaianas Sandals have been using different symbols to represent, and to suggest, collective actions among people, especially actions related to outdoor environments, such as going shopping, going walking and going to the beach. At the same time, it reinforces the consumption of the sandals as a symbolic act that individuals develop socially and collectively (APPADURAI, 1986; WATTANASUWAN, 2005; McCRACKEN, 2007). With regard to the aspects of how you will be and what you can do when using Havaianas Sandals, it is important to emphasize that there are clear elements of Brazilian culture 9

10 embedded in the symbology used in positioning the sandals. These elements are related to the tropical environment of outdoors activities, and have been exploited through the valorization of sensuality and beauty, concepts that are very important social constructions in Brazilian society (DaMATTA, 1998; ROCHA, 2003; LEITÃO; LIMA; MACHADO, 2006; ALMEIDA, 2007). Another important point is that the symbolic and cultural aspects exploited in the positioning of the sandals have a direct link with their product mix through the use of words in the English language. This usage, which we can consider to be strategically defined, had at least two marketing purposes. The first one was to exploit the Brazilian fascination for almost everything that comes from abroad (CALDAS, 1997; RICHERS, 2000), thereby attaining an advantage in the market with sub-lines whose names are in English and can therefore represent more than a simple object or artifact of the daily life. The second was to build a bridge to the international market, which was later confirmed by the exportation of the sandals. This whole process seems to have been based on what McCracken (2005) refers to as the construction of meanings for consumers. The production of a premium product with innovative designs, styles and colors, as well as the creation of sub-lines, which were researched together with international fashion offices (BLECHER, 2006), was undertaken for the exportation of Havaianas Sandals. At the same time, in addition to the symbolic production surrounding the sandals, as already described, the brand concept followed image research carried out with consumers about various aspects of Brazilian social life, such as music, soccer, carnival and the cultural inheritance of miscegenation in the formation of the Brazilian people from Indians, Europeans, Africans, Asians and Orientals (RIBEIRO, 1995). A program of international public relations and social events was also implemented, which generated huge visibility in the media, through newspapers, television channels and magazines, in several countries in different continents. With the exhibition of Havaianas Sandals with well-known international brands such as Louis Vitton, Prada, Gucci and Chanel, the program contributed to the transformation of the sandals into an object of glamour and desire (SALEK, 2003). Nowadays they are present in the editorials of fashion magazines and have become a fashion accessory, a collector s item and have even gained an affectionate nickname: havies. Final Remarks This study is about culture and consumption, and focuses on describing and understanding an important phenomenon that occurred primarily in the Brazilian, and secondarily in the international, markets. It concerns Havaianas Sandals, who redirected their target market by the creation of social and cultural constructions, through assumed meanings and the symbolic aspects of the products. This was translated into marketing management actions in terms of market segmentation, positioning and communication. The symbolic production surrounding Havaianas Sandals led to the symbol of beauty, and even glamour, through their use. Nowadays, the image of the sandals is very different from their original symbolic representation, and they have been used by pop stars, movie stars, top models, and princesses, among other people of the jet set, who have made, and still do make, appearances in public using the sandals. Thus, the case study reveals a clear example of a 10

11 company creating symbolic production through their products and in a cultural way (BARBOSA; CAMPBELL, 2006; DURGEE, 2004; McCRACKEN, 1991; SAHLINS, 1978). Theoretical and Managerial Implications First of all, this study puts into perspective, and reinforces, some axioms of both marketing management theory and marketing management actions, such as, for instance: (i) the importance of analyzing the external environment; (ii) the competitive dynamics around the product life cycle; (iii) the recovery of profitability and increase of market share by lengthening the lines or sub-lines of the product mix; (iv) the necessity of defining clear concepts for the products; (v) the possibility of differentiating products by means of positioning strategies; (vi) the power of association among brands with complementary products; and (vii) the ability of building an image in the marketplace through communication techniques and public relations. Secondly, the study contributes to interdisciplinary literature in the area of marketing knowledge, which is not just important, but also necessary, for the process of theoretical construction and academic legitimation within the discipline (LAZER; KELLEY, 1960; WINICK, 1961; ZALTMAN, 1982; ZINKHAN, 1999). Lastly, and most importantly, the study presents a case of symbolic production that has been created by a company through the offering of its products to the market. It is therefore assumed that this case has theoretical implications for the discipline of marketing, which are based on the processes of symbolization associated to cultural production by companies. Suggestions for Further Studies In closing, it is important to emphasize that the phenomenon studied here has many faces and can be approached from different angles, such as through Semiotics or the Social Representations Theory. Another worthwhile possibility for study this phenomenon is from the point of view of Consumer Culture Theory, which could point out critical and relevant aspects of consumption. The theoretical background could be based on Featherstone (1995), Bauman (2001), Baudrillard (2005), and Arnould and Thompson (2005), among others. These different theoretical approaches could bring important contributions to our understanding of the symbolic production that is created by companies when they offer their products to the market. References ALMEIDA, Carlos A. A cabeça do brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Record, APPADURAI, Arjun. The social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 1986 ARNOULD, Eric J.; THOMPSON, Craig J. Consumer culture theory: twenty years of research. Journal of Consumer Research, v.31, n.4, p , mar AYROSA, Eduardo A. T.; SAUERBRONN, João F. R.; BARROS, D. F. Bases sociais das emoções do consumidor uma abordagem complementar sobre emoções e consumo. In: ENCONTRO DA ASSOCIAÇÃO NACIONAL DE PÓS-GRADUAÇÃO E PESQUISA EM ADMINISTRAÇÃO (2007: Rio de Janeiro). Anais... Rio de Janeiro: ANPAD, (Versão integral em CD-ROM do Evento) 11

12 BAKER, Michael J. Business and management research: how to complete your research project successfully. Helensburgh: Westburn Publishers, BARBOSA, Lívia; CAMPBELL, Colin. Cultura, consumo e identidade. Rio de Janeiro: FGV, BAUDRILLARD, Jean. A sociedade de consumo. Lisboa: Edições 70, BAUMAN, Zygman. Consuming life. Journal of Consumer Culture, London, v.1, n.1, p. 9-29, BHAT, Subodh; REDDY, Srinivas K. Symbolic and functional positioning of brands. Journal of Consumer Marketing, v. 15, n. 1, p , BLECHER, Nelson. A brasileira que construiu uma marca global. Exame, São Paulo, Ano 40, n. 6, p , mar BROWN, Stephen. Marketing pós-moderno: vale tudo! In: BAKER, M. J. (Org.) Administração de Marketing. Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier, pp BURTON, D. Towards a critical multicultural marketing theory. Marketing Theory, London, v. 2, n. 2, p , jun CALDAS, Miguel P. Santo de casa não faz milagre: condicionantes nacionais e implicações organizacionais da fixação brasileira pela figura do estrangeiro. In: MOTTA, Fernando P.; CALDAS, Miguel P. (Org.) Cultura Organizacional e Cultura Brasileira. São Paulo: Atlas, pp CASTILHOS, Rodrigo B.; ROSSI, Carlos A. V.; CAVEDON, Neusa R. Cultura e consumo de famílias no Brasil e na França. In: XXIX ENCONTRO NACIONAL DOS PROGRAMAS DE PÓS-GRADUAÇÃO EM ADMINISTRAÇÃO (2005: Brasília). Anais... Marketing. Rio de Janeiro: ANPAD, (Versão integral em CD-ROM do Evento) COSTA, J. A. Marketing in a multicultural world: ethnicity, nationalism, and cultural identity. Thousand Oaks: Sage, COOPER, Donald R.; SCHINDLER, Pamela S. Métodos de pesquisa em administração. Porto Alegre: Bookman, CRAIG, C. S.; DOUGLAS, Susan P.; Beyond national culture: implications of cultural dynamics for consumer research. International Marketing Review, v. 23, n. 3, p , CRESWELL, John W. Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches. London: Sage, CSIKSZETMIHALYI, Mihaly; ROCHBERG-HALTON, Eugene. The meaning of things: domestic symbols and the self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, CUCHE, Denys. A noção de cultura nas ciências sociais. Bauru: EDUSC,

13 D ANGELO, André. Cultura e consumo: apanhado teórico e reflexões para o ensino e para a pesquisa de marketing e administração. In: XXVII ENCONTRO NACIONAL DOS PROGRAMAS DE PÓS-GRADUAÇÃO EM ADMINISTRAÇÃO (2003: Atibaia). Anais... Marketing. Rio de Janeiro: ANPAD, (Versão integral em CD-ROM do Evento) DaMATTA, Roberto. O que faz o Brasil, Brasil? Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, DOUGLAS, Mary; ISHERWOOD, Baron. The world of goods: towards an anthropology of consumption. Oxford: Routledge, DURGEE, Jeffrey F. The co-creation of meaning between marketers and consumers; step 1: how marketing creatives interpret consumer motivations. Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 31, Michigan: Association for Consumer Research, pp FARIA, Alexandre de A. Crítica e cultura em marketing repensando a disciplina. Cadernos EBAPE.BR, Rio de Janeiro, v. 4, n. 3, p. 1-16, out FEATHERSTONE, Mike. Cultura de consumo e pós-modernismo. São Paulo: Studio Nobel, FRIEDMAN, Jonathan. Consumption and identity. Oxford: Taylor & Francis, GAIER, Rodrigo V. Vendas no varejo do Brasil têm maior alta desde Reuters Disponível em: <http://br.reuters.com>. Acesso em: 10 fev GARCIA, Silvia. A poção mágica do sucesso das Havaianas: marketing e comércio internacional. Capturado em 12/11/2007. <http://www.cursos.aduaneiras.com.br> GEERTZ, Clifford. The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973 HIRATA, Angela T. A globalização das Havaianas. In: III SEMANA DO EMPREENDEDORISMO (2006: São Paulo). Documento do GV CENN Centro de Empreendedorismo e Novos Negócios. São Paulo: EAESP-FGV, HIRSCHMAN, Elizabeth C.; and HOLBROOK, Morris B. Postmodern consumer research: the study of consumption as text. Newbury Park: Sage, HORVATH, Sheila. 100 anos da Alpargats: marketing que constrói marcas. Gazeta Mercantil, São Paulo, 1 abr Caderno C, p. 6. IBGE Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Disponível em: <http://www.ibge.gov.br/home/presidencia/noticias/noticia_visualiza.php?id_noticia=1106&id_pagina=1>. Acesso em: 12 mar KOTLER, Philip. Marketing management: analysis, planning, implementation, & control. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, LAZER, W.; KELLEY, E. J. Interdisciplinary horizons in marketing. Journal of Marketing, Chicago, v. 25, n. 4, p , oct

14 LEITÃO, Débora K.; LIMA, Diana N. de O.; MACHADO, Rosana P. Antropologia e consumo: diálogos entre Brasil e Argentina. Porto Alegre: Editora Age, LIMA, Samantha. 46 milhões de novos consumidores. Exame, São Paulo, ano 41, n. 19, p. 42, out LIMEIRA, Tânia M. V. Comportamento do consumidor brasileiro. São Paulo: Saraiva, MARÇAL, Maria C. C.; MELLO, Sérgio C. B. de; FONSÊCA, Francisco R. B. Cultura e virtualidade real: um estudo sobre o consumo na Lan House. In: II ENCONTRO DE ESTUDOS MULTIDISCIPLINARES EM CULTURA (2006: Salvador). Anais... Salvador: II ENECULT, MAUSS, Marcel. The gift: forms and functions of exchange in archaic societies. New York: Norton, MERCER, David. Marketing. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, McCRACKEN, Grant. Culture and consumption: new approaches to the symbolic character of consumer goods and activities. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, McCRACKEN, Grant. Culture and consumption II: markets, meaning, and brand management. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005 McCRACKEN, Grant. Cultura e consumo: uma explicação teórica da estrutura e do movimento do significado cultural dos bens de consumo. Revista de Administração de Empresas, São Paulo, v.47, n.1, p , jan./mar MILLER, Daniel. A theory of shopping. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, PRIDE, William M; FERREL, O. C. Marketing: concepts and strategies. 8 th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, RANDS, Maurício. Os dois brasis. Folha de S. Paulo, São Paulo, 24 fev Caderno 1, p. 3. RIBEIRO, Darcy. O povo brasileiro: a formação e o sentido do Brasil. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, RICHERS, Raimar. Recordando a infância do marketing brasileiro - um depoimento., Revista de Administração de Empresas, São Paulo, v. 34, n. 3, p , mai./jun RICHERS, Raimar. Marketing: uma visão brasileira. São Paulo: Negócio, ROCHA, Everardo. Jogo de espelhos: ensaios de cultura brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad,

15 ROCHA, Everardo; BARROS, Carla. Dimensões culturais do marketing: teoria antropológica, etnografia e comportamento do consumidor. Revista de Administração de Empresas, São Paulo, v.46, n.4, p.36-47, out./dez SAHLINS, Marshall D. Culture and practical reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, SALEK, Silvia. Havaianas são vendidas por quase R$ 500 em Londres. BBC Brasil Disponível em: <http://www.bbc.co.uk/portuguese/index.shtml>. Acesso em: 12 out SANDÁLIAS HAVAIANAS. São Paulo, SP, Disponível em: <http://www.havaianas.com>. Acesso em: 12 nov SILVA, Adriano. A volta por cima do chinelão. Exame, São Paulo, ano 34, n. 1, p. 37, jan SOLOMON, Michael R. Consumer behavior: buying, having and being. Upper Sadle River: Prentice-Hall, SORJ, Bernardo. A nova sociedade brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, THOMPSON, John B. Ideologia e cultura moderna: teoria social e crítica na era dos meios de comunicação de massa. Petrópolis: Vozes, URDAN, Flávio T.; URDAN, André T. Gestão do composto de marketing. São Paulo: Atlas, VOLPI, Alexandre. A história do consumo no Brasil: do mercantilismo à era do foco no cliente, Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier, WATTANASUWAN, Kritsadarat. The self and symbolic consumption. The Journal of American Academy of Business, v. 6, n.1, p , WINICK, C. Anthropology s contributions to marketing. Journal of Marketing, Chicago, v. 26, n. 3, p.53-60, jul ZALTMAN, Gerald. Theory construction in marketing: some thoughts on thinking. New York: John Wiley, ZINKHAN, G. M. Interdisciplinary contributions to marketing thought. Journal of Market- Focused Management, New York, v. 4, n. 4, p , dec

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