This article uses the work of brand theorists and New Zealand–based cultural critics to examine the circumstances that created the “Hobbit Law,” a New Zealand law aimed at busting local film industry unions. Branding logics created a struggle for authenticity around the importance of Middle-earth to New Zealand's national identity in the twenty-first century. This hybrid identity was then articulated as something that stood against labor actions by film industry workers, culminating in citizen marches against local labor. It closes by exploring ways that the importance of the brand as sense-making tool under neoliberalism might be reconfigured as something that might bridge the gap between media consumer and creative industry worker.

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