This paper aims to analyze an important series of events in the history of marketing in socialist Europe and the internationalization of marketing thought and practice. Examining the reception of the marketing concept in communist Czechoslovakia, the study shows the effective blockage of the implementation of marketing approaches by orthodox communist authorities. The paper demonstrates the distinctiveness and importance of the Czechoslovak case and provides a basis for integrating that experience into the larger history of marketing under socialism.
The paper is based on an extensive review of the most relevant Czech and Slovak primary sources including trade journals, manuals and textbooks in marketing and related fields, party and government documents and statements on commercial issues, and other important professional literature on domestic commerce.
The paper provides insights into the use of communist political power to suppress the use of marketing as contrary to the social and ideological goals of socialism. It identifies the rise of marketing approaches during a brief “marketing moment” following market-oriented economic reforms in 1965 and lasting through the “Prague Spring” of 1968. Following the restoration of orthodox communist control, new policies of “normalization” dictated the decline of marketing, which returned to its earlier status of near-invisibility. The suppression of marketing thought and practice lasted until the end of communist rule in 1989.
This paper analyzes an unexamined case of marketing in a socialist society and places the case in broader comparative context.
The author extends special thanks to Bradley Abrams for his generous sharing of sources and insights related to advertising and marketing activities in socialist Czechoslovakia. Jonathan Terra and Johana Vamberská provided helpful guidance concerning the political and economic context of the mid-1960s reforms.
Patterson, P. (2016), "The Prague Spring and the Big Chill: the marketing moment in communist Czechoslovakia", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 120-140. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHRM-09-2015-0036Download as .RIS
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