Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Time to Imagine an Escape

Electronic data

  • Manuscript (2)

    Accepted author manuscript, 429 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Time to Imagine an Escape: Investigating the Consumer Timework at Play in Augmented Reality

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/01/2024
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Marketing
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)92-118
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date25/12/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose: While the spatial dimensions of augmented reality (AR) have received significant attention in the marketing literature, to date, there has been less consideration of its temporal dimensions. This paper aims to theorise digital timework through AR to understand a new form of consumption experience that offers short-lived, immersive forms of mundane, marketer-led escape from everyday life. Design/methodology/approach: The authors draw upon Casey’s phenomenological work to explore the emergence of new dynamics of temporalisation through digitised play. An illustrative case study using AR shows how consumers use this temporalisation to find stability and comfort through projecting backwards (remembering) and forwards (imagining) in their lives. Findings: The proliferation of novel digital technologies and platforms has radically transformed consumption experiences as the boundaries between the physical and the virtual, fantasy and reality and play and work have become increasingly blurred. The findings show how temporary escape is carved out within digital space and time, where controlled imaginings provide consumers with an illusion of control over their lives as they re-establish cohesion in a ruptured sense of time. Research limitations/implications: The authors consider the more critical implications of the offloading capacity of AR, which they show does not prevent cognitive processes such as imagination and remembering but rather puts limits on them. The authors show that these more short-lived, everyday types of digitised escape do not allow for an escape from the structures of everyday life within the market, as much of the previous literature suggests. Practical implications: The authors argue that corporations need to reflect upon the potential threats of immersive technologies such as AR in harming consumer escapism and take these into serious consideration as part of their strategic experiential design strategies to avoid leading to detrimental effects upon consumer well-being. More nuanced conceptualisations are required to unpack the antecedents of limiting people’s imagination and potentially limiting the fully fledged escape that consumers might desire. Originality/value: Prior work has conceptualised AR as offloading the need for imagination by making the absent present. The authors critically unpack the implications of this for a more fluid understanding of the temporal logics and limits of consumer escapism.