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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Volume 6, Issue 2
This issue features four full articles as well as a contribution to our “Teaching and Learning” theme which appears here in place of the usual “Explorations & Insights ” section. Later in this editorial, Associate Editor Stan Shapiro will provide some commentary on the Teaching and Learning feature.
Our lead article in this issue deals with a very hot topic in marketing right now – multilevel marketing and pyramid schemes. William Keep and Peter Vander Nat are among the very few American experts on this topic having served as expert witnesses in the pyramid scheme cases brought by the American federal government and prosecution of pyramid schemes including the Security Exchange Commission v. International Heritage Inc., at the time, the largest pyramid scheme every prosecuted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In “Multilevel marketing and pyramid schemes in the USA: an historical analysis”, the authors describe the evolution of direct selling – a retail channel that successfully sold products ranging from cosmetics to radios to automobiles – to multilevel marketing (MLM), an industry now heavily reliant on selling to itself. As the courts have found some MLM companies to be pyramid schemes, Keep and Vander Nat’s analysis includes the overlap between the legal MLM model and illegal pyramid schemes. Because the MLM model facilitated the growth of pyramid scheme fraud, this article also highlights successful efforts to regulate pyramid schemes. It is the first published material to take a historical perspective on MLM and pyramid scheme marketing practices.
Another highly original contribution to the marketing history literature is Thomas Bayer and John Page’s “The ingenious marketing of modern paintings” which analyzes the evolution of the marketing of paintings and related visual art products from its nascent stages in England circa 1700 to the development of a modern art market by 1900. Bayer and Page use an interesting collection of source material as well as statistical analysis of specifically constructed and unique data sets that list nearly 50,000 different sales of paintings during the period studied. One set includes the records of sales of paintings at various English auction houses during the 18th and 19th centuries, another includes all purchases and sales of paintings recorded in the stock books of the late 19th century London art dealer, Arthur Tooth, during the late 19th century. This is the first published article to trace the historical development of the marketing of art in all its various channel members including artists, dealers, art organizations, art critics and the media.
Industry marketing history has a long tradition in the literature, but very little has been published about the history of marketing in the maritime passenger, or cruise, industry. Blaine Branchik’s aptly titled “Staying afloat: a history of maritime passenger industry marketing” describes an industry that has survived and even thrived for nearly 175 years despite dramatic changes in its marketing environment. Branchik uses fare lists, advertisements, other promotional materials and various company and government reports to examine the changes in the cruise industry marketing strategy from the mid-19th century through to today. His focus is on British, American, and German shipping lines. The history of cruise industry marketing is chronologically organized into six period themes:
1. immigration and luxury from the mid-19th century to 1914;
2. World War I;
3. tourism, alcohol and luxury through 1939;
4. World War II;
5. emergence of the jet age to 1970; and
6. luxury cruising for all to the present day.
There is an active group of Japanese marketing historians, but much of that work is not available in English. Thus, we really know little about Japanese marketing history. Yuko Minowa writes about a masterless samurai, Hiraga Gennai, from 18th century Japan, who Minowa describes as a Renaissance marketer. Gennai was already acknowledged by historians to be Japan’s first advertising copywriter. In this article, Minowa examines 18th century advertising copy written by Gennai for the toothpowder brand, Sosekiko, and describes its target market, branding, packaging, pricing and advertising messages including appeals. Minowa concludes that Gennai had an intuitive understanding of marketing strategy long before the so-called marketing revolution of the 20th century.
Teaching and learning
In Journal of Historical Research in Marketing (JHRM) volume 3, issue 4, we outlined our hopes for an occasional feature under the theme of “Teaching and Learning”. JHRM has published pedagogical material in past issues and that material is summarized in the “Teaching and Learning ” section of volume 3.4. At that time we acknowledged that, as the only academic journal dedicated to publishing historical research in marketing, we have an obligation to make available through the journal materials related to teaching marketing history and the history of marketing thought. We believe that those subjects should play some role in the education of marketing students, but at the same time, there are too few of us teaching them.
Charles Ingene is one of those few, and in “Retailing evolution: historical facts, theoretical logic and critical thinking”, Ingene describes how his undergraduate course on retail strategy at the University of Mississippi incorporates history and stresses the importance of a historical perspective in understanding retail strategy. Ingene’s objective is to enhance his students’ ability to use theory to assess facts logically and creatively. To that end, his course covers the evolution of retailing from its pre-industrial origins to its Internet descendents and examines the determinants of new retail formats over a span covering >200 years. In this article, a leading scholar in retailing demonstrates how historical material is being used within a managerial context. If you teach retailing and are interested in marketing history, we are certain that you will find useful ideas in Ingene’s article.
We repeat our earlier invitation to anyone teaching marketing history or the history of marketing thought who has sources to suggest or ideas to share to contact Stan Shapiro at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brian Jones and Stanley J. Shapiro