Authenticity in Advertising

The paper will analyze the utilization of authenticity as a marketing strategy as observed in three beer products: Amarula Cream, Hertog Jan, and Imperial Beer. Despite their obvious difference, the utilization of various cues of authenticity in advertising these products is nearly an equivalent . By analyzing four unique ads, we will see that the consumers’ trust is made on authenticity and thus, brands that practice advertising authenticity solidifies the consumers’ connection to the brand.
Consumers don’t trust advertisement. Most of the purchasers within the market believe the products that a corporation sells appear or work as they are doing within the market. Thus, to sell to the consumers, companies need a far better strategy: Authenticity. Not only are consumers in control of what they consume and how they interact, but they also have the control of what to consume and what to reject. While companies must sell, they need to remember that the consumer’s appetite is more based on how they communicate and present their brand to the consumers, and less of how they produce and sell these adverts. Moreover, advertisement or ads need to narrow its content to the consumer’s experience.


Authenticity is the element of being genuine, bent on realism, and truthful. An authentic ad is said to be authentic if it is based on originality and realism. That is, consumers, base the authenticity of the product on how it relates to their personal experience and everyday life. If a product appeals to their experiences or is relatable to what they go through on a daily basis, the consumer attaches meaning to the product and thus deem it authentic (Goldman & Papson, 1996). Thus, the authenticity of an advert is dependent on what the consumer perceives. Authenticity can be viewed from three different perspectives; the existentialist, the objectivists, or the constructivist.

According to the existentialist perspective, authenticity resides beyond the object or brand advertised but rather determined by the consumer’s pursuit of social and personal goals (Miller, 2015). That is, the consumer may base authenticity on how easy they are able to identify the environment, how they can relate to the product or the virtue that is attached to the ad. Through existentialism, the consumer judges the products ability to exist or affect him on a personal level.

Differently, the objectivist perspective bases the authenticity of the product on the quality it poses. A product is received based on its originality (O’Neill, Houtman & Aupers, 2014). A consumer can use the label, the product information, the ingredients, or licenses to determine whether the product is authentic. Before accepting the product, the consumer peruses over different information to find out whether the product has a place of origin or a link to a place. If the product fails this perusal, then-then the advert fails the authenticity test.

The constructive perspective is based on the ads authenticity in relation to realism. That is, how close the advertised product looks in relation to the one the consumer has seen or can remember. The closeness of the product to the original will thus determine whether the product and advert are authentic or not. Thus, the authenticity is personally or socially constructed since the authenticity of the advert results from his interpretation of realism from the product.

Cues of Authentication

Marketers use several cues to create the case of the authenticity of a certain product. These include “Naturalness”, “Location”, “Historical Rootedness”, and “Storytelling and Myth.” The ads may make use of one or combine several cues to capture the consumer’s eye for authenticity.


Demonstrating the naturalness of the product brings in an aura of authenticity about the product. For example, in the Amarula advert, the advert shows the natural amarula seeds picked from the wild Africa are used to make the brand (O’Neill, Houtman & Aupers, 2014). With added phrases like “Amarula is a rare find. Appreciate accordingly” solidifies its authenticity, since, amarula fruit is hard to find. The quality of the product is emphasized in most of their adverts, and the trust level and confidence on the product is elevated.

Through the existentialist perspective, the consumers of Amarula can relate to the wild nature of the wilderness and the elephants that are in the advert. This relation to the product provides avenues for the consumers to get attached to the product.


The consumer’s ability to locate the originality of a certain place associated with the brand advertised is a way of adding the authentic touch to a product. Mentioning a geographic location of the product provides a ground for the consumer to identify himself/herself with the product. When adverts touch on the source of the ingredient or the original location of the product foundation, consumers identify with the product and trust it completely (O’Neill, Houtman & Aupers, 2014). The advert on Imperial Beer, for example, tell the consumer that its origin is in the Costa Rica. Moreover, it explains to the consumer that it is made from the tropical rainwater of “one of the few places on earth (Costa Rica),” that has such natural water.

Through objectivist perspective, consumers can immerse themselves in the cultural background of the product and therefore have a link to the product advertised; this, in turn, brings about the aura of authenticity. When the Imperial Beer is advertised, they refer to the tropical waters of Costa Rica, a phrase that links the consumers to the location.

Myth and Storytelling

When the stories concerning a product are told and retold, the content is more touching to the audience than just naming or branding a product. It brings the emotional connection to the product, and which has a strong effect on how the consumer connects to the product (O’Neill, Houtman & Aupers, 2014). For example, the Hertog Jan’s advert emphasizes on the story of how yeast is handpicked and examined before they are thrown in the bucket with hop then drained into the brewing kettle and brewed to perfection (Hertog Jan). The song in the background goes, “it is got to be perfect…” This is supposed to be the story of how careful and wonderfully the product is made. The stories create a long lasting impression on the consumers and the belief of the authenticity of the product.

Historical Rootedness

O’Neil et al (2014) state that by the through history, the authenticity of a product has easily been determined. History immortalized a product, making it identifiable by the consumer. Emphasizing on how the product was created and how long it has stayed in the market, creates trust on the product; enhancing its receivership by the consumer market. Taking a look at the Imperial Beer, they emphasize that the product has been in existence since 1924. This means that ever since the product has been received well, and people have lived the product. This achievement and historical rootedness increase the preference of the consumer to these products. By the constructive perspective, the consumer is able to link the longevity of the product with brand loyalty and value for the consumer.

The application of different cues of authenticity increases the appeal of the advert, and thus the way the product is received in the market (Miller, 2015). By combining location and naturalness, for example, Amarula Cream has been able to rise to the market leader position and has a strong consumer base (Brand South Africa, 2017). In the same way, Hertog Jan has scaled through the market and captured its share of the consumer base, who appreciate its naturalness, locality, and storytelling cues of authenticity (Kreuzen, 2010). These products have remained in the market and capitalized the authenticity niche to continue growing to different continents.

Authenticity and Brand Attitude

Back in the 60’s and early 70’s, the consumers had started distrusting ads. The advertisements were perceived as purely manipulative, and mostly untrue. The rejection of the ads by the consumers affected attitudes towards the certain brand, especially the new one, reducing their market share in the process. Due to this rejection and mistrust, the marketers opted to bring the element of authenticity back to the products, and try to win the consumers back (Napoli, et al. 2014). The marketers devised ways of making ads that evoke sufficient confidence of the believability of the brand, for the consumer to accept them. It was a strategy that was working ever since, either genuinely or forged.

While marketing, adverts seeks to evoke a positive attitude towards a brand (Napoli, et al. 2014). This makes brand attitude the central focus of the product. Amarula, Hertog Jan, and Imperial Beer use the cues of authenticity to align themselves to the consumer, and in the process win their hearts and create a positive attitude towards the product. The messages in the ads serve as to effectively communicate to the consumer. Thus, by being authentic, the adverts offer the most effective way of passing this message and reaching to the consumer. Moreover, by believing the authenticity of the product, the consumer becomes convinced of the qualities of the product, hence becomes loyal to that particular product.

When Hertog Jan runs their advert on the natural production of their product, the consumer is hooked and trust the product. This creates brand loyalty, a cornerstone of a profitable company. In the same manner, relating to the tropical waters of Costa Rica, consumers are attached to the Imperial Beer, which solidifies the consumer base of the product. When Imperial beer shows that it has survived since 1926, it sends the message of longevity and trust. This can be translated to profits from the loyal consumers, and new ones who trust on a product that has been in existence for a very long time.

Several studies have attempted to understand the relationship between advertising authenticity and consumer response. O’Neil (2014) explains that the phenomenon could be as a result of the emotional attachment and authentic advert leaves to the mind of the audience. More so, they discuss the genuineness of the advert makes the consumer believe and want to buy a certain product. This persuasion may be as a result of the attachment or the ability of the consumer to relate to the product.

While studying the effects of authenticity on the consumer, Jung Park (2017) found out that the perceived authenticity of a certain product has little effect on the consumers’ attitude towards a given product. Nonetheless, by the attitude, they have towards a given ad heavily influences the attitude the consumer has towards that product. Moreover, they discovered that the more authentic an advert was, the more believable it becomes, and the more positive it is received (Napoli, et al. 2014). This means that an advert that is reduction or absence of realism in a given advert may reduce its appeal towards the consumers, leading to less persuasion ability of the product. Since the ad has little or no effect on the people, and the advertisement is badly received, the probability of the gaining a market share reduces significantly.


Authenticity can be used as an effective marketing tool that can appeal the consumer and guide them towards appreciating and attaching themselves to a certain brand. As shown through the analysis of the three adverts (Imperial Beer, Amarula Cream, and Hertog Jan), having a product that through authenticity, attachment to a product is a great possibility. This can create a trust in the brand and thus loyalty. As the consumer examines the authenticity of the product, he or she is looking for the genuineness of the product; once he or she finds it, then the cues of authenticity present can result in an attachment to the product. This attachment is one of the best ways of finding a loyal market that can translate the products of the company and give it a consumer base, and then continuous profits. Therefore, advertisement authenticity is a marketing strategy that can propel the company towards greater sells and a loyal portal of a market.


Brand South Africa. (2017). Amarula cream a global market leader. Brand South Africa. Retrieved 23 June 2017, from

Goldman, R., & Papson, S. (1996). Sign wars (pp. 141-185). New York: Guilford.

Hertog Jan

Jung Park, H. (2017). Impact of Brand Authenticity on Brand Attitude and Loyalty: The Mediating Role of Self-brand Connection. Research Journal Of Business Management, 11(2), 74-79.

Kreuzen, J. (2010). Competitive intelligence: a study examining the profitability and strategy of the competitors of Royal Grolsch in the Dutch beer market (Bachelor’s thesis, University of Twente).

Miller, F. M. (2015). Ad Authenticity: An Alternative Explanation of Advertising’s Effect on Established Brand Attitudes. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 36(2), 177-194.

Napoli, J., Dickinson, S. J., Beverland, M. B., & Farrelly, F. (2014). Measuring consumer-based brand authenticity. Journal of Business Research, 67(6), 1090-1098.

O’Neill, C., Houtman, D. & Aupers, S. (2014). Advertising real beer: Authenticity claims beyond truth and falsity. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 17(5), 585-601.

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