The placement of brand references within mainstream entertainment (called here ‘entertainment marketing’) is a rapidly evolving marketing communications field in its scale and sophistication. Much previous research in the field has conceptualized entertainment marketing as promotion and focused on measuring consumer attitudes, purchase intentions and brand recall in response to brand exposure. This conceptual paper suggests that there is also a need for understanding the quality of consumer engagement with brands in the context of mediated entertainment. The paper draws on phenomenological/existential research traditions in order to begin to theorize the role that entertainment marketing techniques may play in facilitating consumer self‐concepts and identity formation through brand exposure within dramatic portrayals of characters and lifestyles.
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