For more information about Royal Holloway, please see this promotional video. To see a promotional video for the MA Consumption, Markets & Culture see here. To see a promotional video for the Royal Holloway School of Management, click here.

For more information about the Royal Holloway MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing and the application process see here.

To get an understanding of the unique values that underly the MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing programme please read these blog posts: Value of Scholarly Values, Importance of Reading and Morris Holbrook and Business Interest in Education.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

X Factor



I've been telling my students about my favourite TV show of the minute, X Factor, and why it tells us much about current priorities in marketing. The X Factor brand has solved the two key problems of contemporary marketing: 1) how to generate consumer engagement, that is, how to get consumers passionate about the brand so that they want to do stuff with it, and 2) how to generate revenue streams out of that engagement via digital platforms. So the show seems to be fading a bit, 2,00o,000 viewers down on last year and counting- no surprise really, with Simon Cowell absent from the UK version the show just doesn't have quite the liminal resonance it did with Shaman Simon running the process. But for now it remains by far the biggest show on commercial TV in the UK, commanding some £250,000 for a 30 second advertising spot. Here is a link to a pre-print draft of a paper myself, Professor Steven Brown and Dr Amy Tiwsakul have put together explaining how the X Factor brand achieves its unique consumer engagement (by tappinginto our latent need for liminal ritual, as it happens) http://pure.rhul.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/chris-hackley(bb78fbaf-7641-4f8f-87c0-57dc1b4db16f)/publications.html

and here are some links to the way UK newspapers tried to interpret our research- with varying results (and a D minus to the Sun sub-editor- we never mentioned sacrifice, and there's no institution called London University) ):

The Mirror

http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/tv/2011/10/12/x-factor-uses-cruelty-of-rejection-to-appeal-to-audiences-academics-claim-115875-23484149/

The Sun

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/x_factor/3869326/Simon-Cowells-the-TV-shaman.html

Financial Times (you need to scroll down the page to get this one)

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/f43ebf70-ef34-11e0-918b-00144feab49a.html#axzz1b98iLt6O

Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/mediamonkeyblog/2011/oct/13/simon-cowell-high-priest-x-factor

Advertising Age

http://adage.com/article/global-news/understanding-x-factor-simon-cowell-arch-shaman/230402/

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

MA Marketing Camp 2011

The Marketing of Comedy, the Comedy of Marketing
Marketing Camp at Royal Holloway, University of London
Wednesday 12 October 2011, 7:00pm
Arts Lecture Theatre

NB - if you are not an MA Marketing student or are MA Marketing alumni and wish to attend, please email me at alan.bradshaw@rhul.ac.uk

Stephen Brown, Jonathan Kesselman, Finola Kerrigan, Dean Craig, James Fitchett and more...

“By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising… kill yourself. Thank you.” Bill Hicks

Writer, director and producer Jonathan Kesselman will address this year's Marketing Camp.


From Boomerang (1992) to How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) to What Women Want (2000) the portrayal of marketers tends not to be particularly reverential but rather one of morally bankrupt shysters in urgent need of redemption. Even early movies like the Travelling Saleslady (1935), Ex-Lady (1933) or the Easiest Way (1931) present such dark humoured representations leading us to suggest that ever since the emergence of cinema, the medium has been used to laugh at marketing as a site of morally bankrupt production of, at best, nonsense or at worst, corrupting ideology. Where the gaze is turned inwards to examine the impact of marketing upon filmic production as in, say, What Just Happened (2008) the representation is no less complimentary with marketing revealed to be a conservative force undermining directorial vision and true art.
Such is the extent of the phenomenon that the esteemed Marketing Professor Steven M. Shugan writing in Marketing Science (2006), with a tiny hint of hubris, encourages marketing scholars to take such content seriously as “the depiction of business and businesspeople in motion pictures might have as great an influence on public perceptions of business as all of our research combined” (p681) leading us to wonder if the real comedy of marketing is to be found not in its depiction but in its scholarship, in all its pseudo-scientific, clich├ęd, po-faced, power-pointing self important glory. If not inadvertently or unknowingly hilarious marketing is often at its best when embracing comedy itself – see for example the work of Stephen Brown.

Stephen Brown, will make a rare appearance at the event speaking on the topic Sex With Philip Kotler.

Meanwhile advertising has often been a great source of comedy with many of the great and good of the comedic world trying their hand in the trade, though sometimes via clandestine trips to Japan. More recently given the rise of social media and increasing levels of disintermediation we live in an age where comics can be found promoting themselves via blogs, tweets webpages and beyond. Of course this continues the tradition of comics as entrepreneurs carving out careers in the circuit via self-financed and self-promoted shows at places like Edinburgh.  If it was ever true that a division between marketing and comedy existed in the first place, then it is a division that is increasingly difficult to discern.

Finola Kerrigan, author of Fim Marketing
In this context of convergence of comedy and marketing we gather at Royal Holloway to provide discussions, encounters and interventions between marketing scholars and comedians. A variety of topics shall be considered: stories from comedians who struggle in a world of marketing, marketers who struggle in a world that is profoundly funny, best practices and lessons learnt from marketing comedy and indeed anything at all that fits the bill of the comedy of marketing, the marketing of comedy.

The speakers will include Jonathan Kesselman, US-based writer, director, producer and comedian best known for his production of the cult classic The Hebrew Hammer. Jonathan will speak about his experiences and encounters of marketing practice. Professor Stephen Brown, is an enigma. Finola Kerrigan of King's College is author of Film Marketing and is a well established author whose work relating to the marketing of independent movies spans a decade.

Dean Craig, maker of Death at a Funeral
Professor of Marketing James Fitchett
Also speaking on the day will be Professor James Fitchett from the University of Leicester, Dean Craig - maker of the hit movie Death At a Funeral, with more guests to be added closer to the day.

Shugan, Steven M. (2006), "Antibusiness movies and folk marketing," Marketing Science, 25 (6), 681-85.