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.

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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, 5 January 2012

Marketing Melancholia

Misery lit is well-known as a book marketing phenomenon that plays on readers’ prurience, voyeurism and, perhaps, shadenfraude (if that’s how you spell shadenfraude). Frank McCourt, for example, recounts his wretched Irish childhood (wretched even for an Irish childhood) in Angela’s Ashes, a classic of the genre, while more recently Cormac McCarthy (a pattern emerging here) cornered the market in post-apocalyptic depravity. McCarthy’s themes of infanticide, necrophilia and cannibalism might not strike you as promising marketing material. Nonetheless, consumers lap them up with the same enthusiasm as McCourt’s starving hero who, in a memorable scene, ecstatically licked the salt from a fish and chip wrapper discarded by his mother's beastly lover. Perhaps that simile doesn’t quite work grammatically, but why would anyone want to sojourn in the seventh circle of hell, linger in a labyrinth of lachrymosity, dwell in a dungeon of depravity? What is so marvellous about melancholia? What is the perk in paying money to be pissed off? Leaving aside, for a moment, the titillation of alliteration, could it be that misery lit, and the consumption of misery in little chunks as risk, thrill, fear, or drunken, drug-fuelled excess, tells us something deeper about the darker recesses of consumer psychology? Read on...