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.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ephemera Conference - Politics of Consumption

Ephemera Conference
Dublin, Ireland, 9-11 May, 2012.

This conference explores the relationships between consumption, accumulation, production, reproduction and politics today. Taking the apparent generalisation of conditions of austerity as an opportunity to re-visit longer ongoing debates surrounding the extra-economic nature of commodity consumption, and its complex relationship to commodity production, the conference asks whether traditional conceptualisations of the politics of consumption require revision. What empirical developments have become crucial? What theories remain helpful? What political mobilisations have become inevitable? The conference gathers together leading figures for the sake of debating and contesting such issues. The conference also forms the basis of a special issue of ephemera: theory and politics in organization - please read the call for papers for more information.

With less than three months to go until the opening of the event we are delighted to confirm Professors Ben Fine and Costas Douzinas as our keynote speakers. We are also proud to be running a series of provocative round-table discussions and paper streams, as well as an Excess and Austerity walking tour of Dublin City, as part of the event. More information will be posted online at the beginning of April. Places at the conference are severely limited so please pay the registration fee (€100 for waged delegates, €50 for non-waged delegates) as soon as possible but no later than the 15th of March. Payments and registration can be arranged by contacting any of the organizers.
Venue and getting there
The conference will take place at the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 63 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 (see Google Map). Conveniently located at the heart of Georgian Dublin, this is a fitting venue for the conference theme, both because Ireland has taken centre stage within contemporary debates concerning compulsive excessiveness and retributive austerity, and also by virtue of the fact that cultural and historical nationalism has become a principal foundation of the contemporary politics of consumption. Visit the Society’s website for more information (
Dublin’s City Centre is a 30-45 minute bus ride from Dublin airport. The easiest way of getting there is to take the 747 bus to the city centre (€6): alternative routes exist, some cheaper, others more expensive. The conference venue is about a five minute walk from famous central landmarks such as Trinity College Dublin and St Stephen’s Green. The nearest DART stations to the venue are Pearse Street and Grand Canal Dock - the area is also well served by a variety of Dublin Bus Services. Further details can be found at (Trains) and (Buses).
Further information
For queries, you can contact one of the conference organizers:
Alan Bradshaw (
Norah Campbell
Stephen Dunne (

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Stephen Colegrave Lecture

We are very pleased to announce that Stephen Colegrave shall give a guest seminar at Royal Holloway on March 14, at 6:00 in the Bourne Building Lecture Theatre 1. This event will also mark the launch of the Royal Holloway Marketing Society and will be followed by a wine reception. Please come and support the event and enjoy what promises to be a fascinating evening. All welcome.

Stephen Colegrave – Biography

After an early career in the music business and 6 top 20 hits, Stephen joined the advertising business in the mid 1980’s at its peak of influence, first as a strategic planner then as a creative. He has two entries in D&AD Annuals. Selling out he became World Wide Account Director for Procter & Gamble at Leo Burnett.

He went on to set up Saatchi & Saatchi offices in Eastern Europe in the early 1990’s and ended up as CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Central and Eastern Europe. Following a brief interlude making movies in Hollywood he returned to Saatchi & Saatchi as Marketing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Also he was responsible for Saatchi & Saatchi’s digital operations during the era and for much of the Agency’s political and public sector advertising. Along the way he has advised three Prime Ministers.

Over the last 10 years Stephen has run his own communications agency Giraffe with a range clients from the NHS to Antigua Tourist Board. Also he is CEO of Boston Books Ltd, a healthcare consultancy that advises Government and co-owns a fashion business. Recently he helped to set up a successful crowd-sourced publishing business.

Stephen is a fellow of the British American Project, trustee of the Young Actors Theatre and an ambassador for the UpRising mentoring programme. He has produced feature films including: “Everybody Loves Sunshine” with David Bowie and Goldie and written books including: Punk (Cassell 2001) with over 500,000 sales worldwide and Inside Music (Random House 2004 and 2005).

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Outsider's insights and (mis)understanding Fuat Fırat

Today the journal Consumption, Markets & Culture published an interview that myself and Nikhilesh Dholakia conducted with Fuat Fırat. Myself and Nik wanted to champion a scholar that we both think very highly of and have been encouraged and inspired by throughout our careers (Nik's career, I should hasten to add, has been going on for a lot longer than mine). In 1987 Fuat, together with Nik and Richard Bogazzi, edited the seminal Philosophical & Radical Thought in Marketing which re-imagined the subject of marketing and contained submissions by such high and mighty scholars as Philip Kotler, Morris Holbrook and included Russell Belk's wonderful re-working of Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal that suggested that consumers be fitted with micro-chips so that they could function according to the marketing models that scholars had developed for them.

Eventually Fuat, Nikhilesh  and Alladi Venkatesh created the journal Consumption, Markets & Culture; a journal committed to radical scholarship that calls into question all assumptions about marketing and consumption. To this day the journal remains one of the few marketing journals in which every submission is interesting and worth reading. The journal has created space for alternative scholars such as myself to find an outlet and in many ways, I see my career as that of a settler occupying space that was previously fought for and won by people like Fuat and Nik.

In 1995 Fuat and Alladi played no small role in introducing postmodernism to the field of consumer research in their paper that contributed to a seismic shift in the marketing imagination and helped bring to life the subject of marketing in an explosion of new ideas and colours.

As the interview attests, Fuat remains a vibrant personality and inspiring colleague and I hope our article will succeed in our aim of championing the Turkish scholar. Over the course of the interview, Fuat addresses a series of issues that range from recalling his radical student days in Istanbul in 1968 then moving to the Northwestern Marketing Department in Chicago and also discusses his various research interests including consumption patterns, postmodernity, theatre, new literacy and beyond. I am sure many marketing scholars will feel assured that Fuat is in Texas thinking such thoughts, much like the narrator in the Big Lebowski is assured that the Dude is out there keeping it real for the rest of us sinners.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Careers Service at Royal Holloway

This is a reminder to students that Royal Holloway operates an excellent Careers Service for students which is located in the Horton Building. 

Careers Advisers provide a range of workshops addressing various topics including CVs, application forms, finding jobs, interviews and career choice. 

You can make appointments with an Application Adviser to discuss CVs, application forms and personal statements, and appointments with a Career Adviser to discuss further study and career options.
Take a look at their website here.

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Student Describes Her Dissertation - Christina Demertsidou

My Quest for Perfection – MA DISSERTATION by Christina Demertsidou

As a student I used to belong to the category of perfectionists. Defining whether that was good or bad or even both is a long story. In short I would state that perfectionism along with my passion for Marketing; lead to the fulfilment of the prime aim I set before applying for a Masters degree. My aim was a distinction. It’s been a year since graduation and I can admit that had I not held myself to a high standard at the very beginning, I wouldn’t have been so enthusiastic about my degree. I didn’t study Marketing in order to later just add it to my CV. I studied Marketing to make me a better person as it helps me balance the obsessive part of my personality. A brand, an advert, and/or a slogan do not have to be perfect in order to be considered successful. A well known example Google is a misspelling and yet “this was good, because was available and was not.” My point is, each time my quest for perfectionism goes gaga, I ask to myself ‘does it really matter?’

Sharing the enthusiasm of writing my dissertation is one such gaga topic. I want to write about each and every piece as I loved my dissertation from the very veryyyy beginning; long before I held the final printed copy in my hands. Me being gaga, I had chosen the topic for my master’s dissertation during my undergraduate degree. Oh yeah! From the very first moment I discvoered service encounter theory I became addicted. Believe it or not, I had to study for other exams but yet I couldn’t just stop reading the various journals I got for the Services Marketing unit. I had exams to worry about and yet I was actually enjoying reading extensive academic literature on intercultural service encounter theory. A year later, during my first day at the Services Marketing seminar of my master’s degree I knew who my dissertation supervisor would be. My tutor was as enthusiastic about the unit as I was and so I knew that that would have been a ‘golden match’. Unfortunately though later I came to know that due to the Work Load Model my tutor was already at the limit of his allowance and therefore wouldn’t be supervising. Obviously I was disappointed; nevertheless I had two names in my ‘prospective supervisor’ list and I liked the second tutor equally. After our first meeting, I knew she was my rightful supervisor. She found my topic interesting and she provided me with helpful and constructive advice during the formulation of the research idea as well as during the actual development of the dissertation.

The title of my dissertation was “An investigation of customers’ dissatisfaction arising from intercultural face-to-face service encounters: A Case Study on SUBWAY®”. I sought to investigate international students’ experience of intercultural service encounters in order to identify ways of maximising customer satisfaction. The rationale for focusing on international students was based on my personal experiences and a five year observation of intercultural service failures that arise mainly through accent barriers and the fact that there are international students who are not familiar with the terminology (i.e. footlong and6-inch) and the service process at SUBWAY®. Through personal experience I know that international students feel sometimes embarrassed when their accent is not understood by service employees and that often ultimately leads to dissatisfaction with a service.  Moreover, SUBWAY® belongs to the high-contact services since for its service, process communication skills are particularly important for an effective service delivery. SUBWAY®’s service employees follow a standardised service process by processing customers’ instructions, and therefore any difficulties (such as cultural barriers) that might arise in processing customers instruction might lead to service failure and customers’ dissatisfaction. Such difficulties were the focal point of my dissertation and as a result based on the research findings, I developed a new theoretical framework. The Spectacles of Intercultural Service Encounters’, which illustrates key findings of the study and I honestly believe that my dissertation has provided valuable insights into the intercultural service encounter theory.

Last but not least, besides of being a perfectionist I also like being creative so here goes a prose I want to share with you:

An MA Graduate
I feel so proud and happy for this exceptional accomplishment. The distinction I’m awarded is more than just a recognition of all the effort and time I put into my degree. “You get out of it what you put into it”... I put my heart and soul into this degree and so this award is for ME and I justly deserved IT.
The journey to this began somehow like this...
One day 7 years ago, my parents gave me wings and opened the gates for me to fly and explore the world of wisdom... Soon after that, my English tutor planted the seed of enthusiasm into my heart that blossomed into the hard working and determined self I am since then. So I left for England with wings and a whole lot of enthusiasm. However, that was not the end of the recipe as one should always remember and not miss out another important piece... That piece was my best friend. Without his support and motivation I do not know if I would have achieved this distinction. Therefore, through my experience I can conclude that the recipe for academic success consists of four key parts: family, tutors, determined self and good friends.
As you can see the recipe is simple... Go for it and trust me at the end of your journey success is guaranteed. But remember, not all parents give wings, not all tutors plan seeds, not all friends are supportive and not all are determined selves. You should be innovative and should adjust the recipe accordingly. A well written recipe simplifies the process; however your personal strategy is the one that will lead you closer to success. 
I am an MA Graduate and I take pride in it.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Consumer Culture Theory Workshop on Methodology

Update on CCT Workshop  June 18-22

We have a number of updates. The course will be hosted in Bloomsbury, right in the very heart of London city centre. In addition to Cele Otnes and Giana Eckhardt, we are delighted to announce that Avi Shankar from University of Bath will join the faculty. 

The cost of the week long course has been set at £500. This will include costs of tuition and also lunch and coffee provisions throughout the course. Attendants will be expected to source their own accommodation (for a list of available local accommodation please see here - with thanks to Birkbeck Institute for Humanities for sharing their list).

Application – please send a one page description of your doctoral research and motivation for joining the programme to

Finally the course will be worth 6 ECTS points.