Santo, Avi: "“Is It a Camel? Is It a Turban? No, It’s The 99”. Branding Islamic Superheroes as Authentic Global Cultural Commodities." In: Television & New Media 15.7 (2014), S. 679–695.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Santo2014
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Keywords: "The 99", Al-Mutawa. Naif, Arabia, Comic book industry, Islam, Kuwait, Reception, Religion, Superhero, USA
Collection: Television & New Media
Since 2006, Kuwait-based Teshkeel’s The 99, billed as the world’s first Islamic superhero team, has developed into a transnational cross-media brand, with theme park tie-ins, merchandizing, and an animated series coproduced with Endemol sold to nearly a dozen countries around the world. The 99 is intended to be a transformative brand that repairs and redefines Islam’s reputation through branding and marketing. Yet, attempts to bring the TV series to U.S. audiences have repeatedly been met with accusations that The 99 is attempting to indoctrinate non-Muslims into Shari’a law. American resistance to The 99 reveals both the limits of consumer capitalism as a great equalizer and some of the incompatibilities of brand marketing and correcting misperceptions about Islam. In particular, I argue that emphasis placed on “brand authenticity” functions as a double-edged sword for Islamic brands, which are simultaneously perceived as both inauthentic and too authentic for broader commercial appeal.
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