This consumer research study investigates the meanings behind creating and consuming user-generated content (UGC) about brands. It touches on the broader issues of the lives of persons, rather than consumers. We discuss relevant theoretical underpinnings to our empirical two-stage study that we then describe in detail. From our findings we contribute a person-centric trope of the journey that individuals can be understood as participating in as they interact with brands on the Internet for personal formation and even transformation. We conclude that for the young adult population this activity is the interactive ongoing construction of identities, as persons rather than narrowly as consumers. These actions creating and consuming UGC also underpin potential for personal transformation, as proposed in the movie “Leaving Pleasantville”. Our contribution is both insight and a metaphor to explain a key driver of UGC creation in 21st century postmodern life.
- Branding; digital marketing; WOM; UGC; identification; CCT.