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Putting the Italians on bicycles: marketing at Bianchi, 1885-1955

Carlo Mari (Department of Marketing, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 16 February 2015




The aim of this paper is to examine marketing practices within the bicycle industry.


The paper utilizes both primary and secondary sources to provide a retrospective analysis of marketing strategy at the largest Italian bicycle company.


The paper explains how marketing works at the Bianchi company and provides a detailed analysis of how it built its brand identity over time.

Research limitations/implications

Very few primary sources were available. There was neither a company archive nor other archives. For the most part, the paper is based on secondary sources.


The paper tries to fill the gap in current marketing literature that usually neglects the bicycle as a relevant topic, despite bicycle companies being a predecessor to the automobile industry. Moreover, the paper demonstrates that bicycle companies developed a rather sophisticated approach to marketing that is still in use.



The author thanks Daniele Marchesini for his help in gathering data. He also appreciates the help of John Percy Balson, Francesca Fauri, Helen Ford, Giuseppe Genazzini, Tony Hadland, Hans-Erhard Lessing, Andrew predecessor to automobile industry Millward, and Ferdinando Palmieri in providing further data.


Mari, C. (2015), "Putting the Italians on bicycles: marketing at Bianchi, 1885-1955", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 133-158.



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