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, 19 November 2013

British Airways - #lookup in Piccadilly Circus

Following on from a surprising (and particularly well received) sponsorship hit at London 2012 with its Park Live concert/chill out space on the banks of the reclaimed river, British Airways marketing team have #lookedup (sic) for inspiration in their latest marketing initiative.  Since the late 1980's generations of British Airways fmcg trained marketers have trail blazed ahead of other service brands, stylishly presented different aspects of the emotions of flying. 
Claiming this clever use of technology as an advertising first, the ‘magic of flying’ campaign seeks to remind people how magical flying can be by the playful and fresh use of the perspective of a child.  You can perhaps imagine the advertising creative team pitching this concept.  It certainly does stand out and a powerful conceptualisation that is innovative for the British airline that has most recently be plugging its patriotic flag carrier status via the "to fly, to serve" campaign. 
Digital billboards located in London's Chiswick and Piccadilly interact with overhead aircraft. "The system tracks the aircraft and interrupts the digital display just as it passes over the site, revealing the image of a child pointing at the plane, accompanied by its flight number and destination it’s arriving from." (Marketing Week, 19 Nov 2013)
I wonder what it says when a competitor aircraft flies over ?  "Another of Richard's planes" ?

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Marketing In Context

My new book, Marketing In Context, attempts to apply a consumer cultural perspective to marketing management and consumer policy issues. I discuss it in a podcast interview with Anna Farmery of website here and there are cover reviews, contents and chapter excerpts on the publisher website here. It can also be purchased on Amazon here .

The book draws on many examples of recent brand marketing campaigns to try to show how the most creative and engaging marketing rests on a nuanced understanding of the cultural contexts of consumption. It uses the theatrical metaphor of the mise en scene to offer a sense of marketing not as a cognitive or neurological science of consumer control, but as method of cultural priming. The aim of the book is not to achieve a thoroughgoing cultural critique or to develop an academic theory but, rather, to sketch out a managerial account of marketing that resonates with current practice in the convergent economy.

One sub-theme of the book echoes Vance Packard's famous critique of marketing's use of depth psychology, which he published in 1957, and called The Hidden Persuaders. Packard's book was a call to arms for consumers to be alert to marketing's sinister use of shadowy social scientific techniques for manipulating consumer behaviour. In Packard's day the fear was of motivation research and 'subliminal' advertising. Today, the suspicion of marketing rests on its uses of neuropsychology ('neuro-marketing') or electronic surveillance and data-gathering.

In Marketing In Context I suggest that, in fact, Packard was tilting at the wrong windmill. Marketing's techniques of consumer control have been oversold. They don't really work. Its truly deep influence is not cognitive or behavioural but ideological, and I try to illustrate this with examples from Edward Bernays's propaganda model of Public Relations in the 1940s to the current fad for marketing that doesn't sell anything, like product placement, sponsorship, 'content' marketing and 'native' advertising.

Unlike Packard, I'm not unduly worried by marketing's subtle influence in framing my buying behaviour. Our sense of agency in consumer culture may be illusory, but there is no place beyond in which we could achieve a more authentic sense of realisation. Unlike the set in the Jim Carrey movie 'The Trueman Show', we cannot crash through the illusion of marketing to find a new world untainted by commerce. The influence of the market is thoroughly integrated into culture and our task is to try to understand how this plays out under the influence of the convergent media-driven economy. I think that the marketing discipline has been distracted by the chimera of consumer control through psychology, and its cultural influence needs to be acknowledged, for the ultimate benefit of consumers, citizens, managers, policy-makers and regulators.