Beyond Deception: Potential Unfair Consumer Injury from Various Types of Covert Marketing

Jenifer Skiba, Ross D. Petty, Les Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Although there is little agreement over the best definition or even name for covert marketing, many policymakers and commentators agree that covert marketing may deceive consumers to their detriment. This study proposes that some forms of covert marketing also impose a type of unavoidable consumer injury that we call marketer control of consumer engagement. This injury, if aggregated to be substantial, can violate legal prohibitions against unfair acts and practices. To reach this conclusion, this study first proposes a name mnemonic and then develops a typology of covert marketing practices that may deceive and also unfairly injure consumers. It concludes by discussing policy implications of this two- rather than one-dimensional analysis of covert marketing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1573-1601
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

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