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.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Applicants Wanted for the New MA in Consumption, Culture & Marketing

Are you a perfect applicant for our Masters programmes? We are looking for students who have a 2.1 degree (or national equivalent) in a related subject area which might include business but could include such subject areas as history, philosophy, sociology, culture studies, classics, music, geography, English literature, etc. Most of all, we want students who are fascinated in the topic, who will accept the challenge of trying to engage with difficult-to-read texts, who are willing to stay up all night long with class mates discussing new ideas.

In addition, the following type of person is especially welcome:

"decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, alongside ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie: vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, maquereaux, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars — in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French call la bohème"

also "nihilists converted to Marxism and Marxists converted to shit, every kind of chip on the shoulder: sexual, political, economic, psychological, social, cultural, sporting and electronic; practising Zen Buddhists, Catholics, witches, voodoists, Islamists, santeria animists, a Mormon and two Jews, a pitcher from the Industriales team who pitches and bats with either hand; fans of Pablo Milanes and enemies of Silvio Rodriguez, expert oracles who know who will be the next Nobel Prize for Literature as well as Gorbachev's secret intentions, the last pretty boy adopted as nephew by the Famous Person in the Higher Echelons, or the price of a pound of coffee in Baracoa; seekers after temporary or permanent visas, dreamers, femmes and hommes, hyper-realists, abstract artists and socialist realists who'd reneged on their aesthetic past; a Latinist; the repatriated and the patriotic; people expelled from everywhere one can be expelled from; a blind man who saw, disillusioned and deceivers, opportunists and philosophers, feminists and optimists, followers of Lezama, disciples of Virilio, Carpentier, Marti and one adept of Anton Arrufat; Cubans and foreigners; singers of boleros; breeders of fighting dogs, alcoholics, rheumatics, dogmatists and head-cases; smokers and non-smokers; and one macho-Stalinst heterosexual"

also "Born Again Losers and the Lavender Boozers and some crack team from Washington Heights, the boys from Avenue B and the girls from Avenue D, a Tinkerbell in tights"

also "Postgraduates who never finished their studies, who broke themselves against the texts of Heidegger and Derrida and Delueze... Undergraduate geniuses, brighter than a thousand suns, who never received funding for postgraduate study... thinkers who were kept outside the university, obscure Judes who lived their entire lives in employment precarity; thinkers of unimaginable integrity, unimaginable will, reading Leibniz in their lunchbreaks, reading Canguilhem on the commuter train... thinkers too mad to think, institutionalised thinkers; alcoholic thinkers lying ruined on park benches, who were never given a chance."

and if at all possible "Thinkers who hate other thinkers. Thinkers who'd broken with old friends over intellectual matters. Over political matters. Thinkers at war, for whom philosophical enmity had become personal enmity, had become name-calling, and hair-pulling. Thinkers who'd shot away half their faces in despair, W. says. Thinkers with deep scars across their wrists. Thinkers who wept as they spoke. Thinkers whose pauses were longer than their talks. Thinkers in breakdown, their lives careening. Thinkers who spoke frankly about the misery of their existence.  Thinkers who told of why they couldn't think, why thought was impossible, why the end had come: their end and the end of the world. Wild thinkers. Drunk thinkers. High thinkers, nostrils flared, pupils tiny, staying up for whole weeks at a time. Thinkers with missing teeth. With missing eyes. Thinkers with missing fingers, and with great clumps of their hair torn out. Thinkers with terrible rashes around their mouths. Sick thinkers, walking with two sticks, W. says. Coughing thinkers, who could hardly get out a word. Thinkers who spoke too quietly to be heard. Thinkers who spoke too loudly, half-deafening the front row. Think-declaimers, thinker-prophets who might as well have set themselves on fire in the seminar room. Exiled thinkers, forced out of their home countries for crimes of thought. Lost thinkers, left over from vanished intellectual movements. Bereaved thinkers, in mourning for dead thinker-partners. Betrayed thinkers, who spoke of backstabbing and purgings, of auto-critiques and revolutionary punishment. Thinkers with neck-kerchiefs, W. says. Thinkers with cravats. Thinkers with Hawaiian shirts. Thinkers in plus-fours. Thin thinkers, in roll-neck sweaters, with sharp cheekbones and shaved heads. Tubby thinkers, epicureans full of joy, with great, jolly faces and think folds of fat at the back of their necks and spadelike hands, who'd laboured alongside others in the fields and the mines. Serene thinkers, half godly, looking into eternity with widely-spaced eyes. Laughing thinkers, who laughed because could think, because they were free to think. Thinkers who'd escaped from imprisonment and war. Saintly thinkers, of unimaginable integrity, of absolute purity. Nomadic thinkers, who, like swifts, never touched down, moving only from conference to conference as invited speakers. Traveller thinkers, who had forsaken the lecture circuit for private voyages through jungles and deserts. Ascetic thinkers, who spoke of great solitudes, great retreats. Thinkers who had seen things, lived things that were greater than they were. Thinkers who knew what it meant to live. Thinkers who served life. Thinkers who thought in order to live, to be alive. Thinkers who spoke of the ecstasy of thinking after their talks, in the student bar. Thinkers who spoke of the beatitude of thought, tears glittering in their eyes. Thinkers who said, the only thing that mattered was to think. Bearded thinkers, with great bushy beards like Marx's, or tidy, trim beards like Lenin's, or goatees like Trotsky's, or - very rare - neckbeards like William Empsom's. Nonagenarian thinkers. Centenarian thinkers! And thinker-youths, no more than 20 years old, mere pups, with minds like steep traps. Thinkers who'd been imprisoned for thinking, W. says. Thinkers who'd been half-crucified for blasphemies of thought. Thinkers whose tongues had been ripped from their throats. Mute thinkers, whose papers were read for them. Thinkers whose voices were hoarse from screaming. Thinkers who refused to think, out of shame, and refused to read their own paper, out of modesty. Humanist thinkers, dripping with pathos, W. says. Anti-humanist thinkers, siding with viruses, siding with plagues, waiting for the demise of 'man'. Thinker-fanatics, full of hatreds and ecstasies. 'Your kind', W. says."

(Above links bring you to the original sources from Marx, Sedgewick, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Padura, Reed, Iyer and Herzog)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Hello Kitty ! How to grow brands with human characteristics

Ever since my French exchange partner (Jean-Francois) managed to pull a garden rotivator up his leg on day two of my Easter ski trip I have been a bit of an Asterix fiend.  To this day I am pretty good at reading French, even if my accent is 'un petit peu franglais', because this accident meant I got to read three or four Asterix Bande Dessinee each day for the remainder of my stay.  BD, to those in the know, cartoon books if you were still wondering, are very popular even amongst adults in France, many homes will have a collection of these. Oddly, Tin Tin (who is Belgium and a good answer to the 'name three famous Belgians' question) never quite did it for me.  I have collected Asterix stuff over the years, and even visited Parc Asterix, near Paris, as a grown up to taste the theme park branded experience.

The Japanese Manga craze came to late for me, even though my boys are Pokemon mad. I was therefore intrigued when my marketing colleague Sameer mentioned he had just been published a peer reviewed journal paper about Hello Kitty, the cat like character that is a global marketing phenomenon.  A cooler, younger, Asian cartoon character that, without much of a back story seems to have grown to become a global player.  Extremely feminine, cutesy, pink, fluffy and kitch, my oldest son begged me not to buy Hello Kitty branded (and scent impregnated) tissues.  I care not what I wipe my nose with and given that both my sons were encouraged to hang out with girls at dance classes in their early years, I really didn't see pink tissues as an issue.  Joel, however, was insistent.  "They are for girls ! If you get those I won't use them."  They were £1/box on special offer, cheaper than the alternatives.  Decision made.

Must buy Hello Kitty Pomegranate Branded Iced Tea

Hosany et al, (2013) in the Journal of Marketing looked at the theory and strategies of anthropomorphic brand characters from Peter Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, and Ronald McDonald, to Hello Kitty, a topic the marketing literature has not yet considered much.  It draws on Aaker theory, that is close to my heart, on brand extensions and line extensions and seeks to explain how Hello Kitty has achieved the venerable status of being the third most counterfeited global brand.  It considers the use of nostalgia and contemporary resonance to ensure that Kitty fans continue to find the brand proposition relevant even in adulthood.  A good thing ?   With its diamante sparkle and fluffiness I am surprised the anti-everything gang hasn't dubbed the brand "Hello Kitchy". 

VW lashes:  Are you making eyes at me ?
Not everyone is into the cutsie humanisation concept, of course.  VW camper van and Beetle owners are renowned for naming their vehicles and treating them as though they were part of the family.  One of my metrosexual dad chums refused to put eye lashes made from windscreen wiper rubber on his middle aged crisis sports car.  Not even for a day !  I taunted him over email with this picture (left).  He stood firm.

I know it might not be perceived as cool by others, (I transcend notions of coolness) but take this recent example of personalisation that I captured on the side of what otherwise would be seen as yet another dull, functional, delivery vehicle.  White van man was a bit of a negative cultural stereotype in the UK for a while, synonymous for a type of bad mannered driver who lacked common courtesy, but didnt' care. 

Surf chic on this White VW van ?
I love the sense of fun, the celebration of an iconic brand in a spray of blue hibiscus flowers.  The owners sense of fun, pride in his alloy wheeled van, that includes the tropical flower silhouette, so evocative of the beach surf scene.

It's almost as though you would expect to see a couple of surf boards nestling in the back of the van with a sand encrusted wet suit.

I haven't tried this before, but why not share below your own stories for cartoon characters ? What name would you give this white van ?