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Retrospectives in Marketing (RIM)


A Newsletter of the History of Marketing and Marketing Thought
Published by Michigan State University
The Eli Broad College of Business
April, 2002, Vol. 15, No. 1


The Eleventh Biennial Conference on Historical Analysis & Research in Marketing (CHARM) will mark the 20th anniversary of the First North American Workshops on Historical Research in Marketing held in 1983 at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. The editors of the proceedings of that first conference wrote in appreciation to the participants for their "intelligence, energy, cooperativeness and good humor with which they set out on a largely untrod path." Twenty years later the personal qualities of CHARMers remains unchanged and the path has led us back to our roots as the 2003 Conference will again be held at Michigan State University, hosted by the School of Packaging and the Eli Broad College of Business.

Papers on all phases of marketing history and the history of marketing thought in all geographic areas and all timeframes are welcome at this friendly, informal, and collegial gathering. Methodological and pedagogical submissions are also invited. We are particularly interested in seeing papers related to the conference theme-The heroes and scoundrels, thinkers and innovators, great successes and spectacular failures, and academics and practitioners who have made marketing one of history's most romantic endeavors!

All paper submissions will be double blind reviewed and a proceedings volume will be published. Full papers (25 page maximum) or extended abstracts (750-1000 words plus references) may be submitted. Authors may choose to publish either full papers or extended abstracts in the proceedings. The deadline for paper submissions is November 15, 2002. Acceptances will be sent by the end of January, 2003.

Outstanding full papers may be invited for submission to the Journal of Macromarketing. The full paper judged to be the best overall at the conference will receive the Stanley C. Hollander Best Paper Award. The full paper submitted by a graduate student judged to be the best will be awarded the David D. Monieson Best Student Paper Award.

For submission guidelines and additional information about the conference please check the conference web page, http://www.upei.ca/~charm which will be updated periodically. Or, for more information contact the Program Chair: Terrence H. Witkowski, Dept. of Marketing, California State University Long Beach, CA, 90840 (e-mail witko@csulb.edu); or the Arrangements Chair: Diana Twede, School of Packaging, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824 (e-mail: twede@pilot.msu.edu).


Ellen Feldman, writing in American Heritage, October 2001, traces the history of Halloween from its early Pagan roots through many metamorphoses and notes that the 20th century celebration has been stimulated and fostered by corporate effort. An 1890's issue of the Dry Goods Economists urged stores to take full advantage of Halloween opportunities. In more recent times, Oreo cookies have been filled with a special orange colored inner layer, (a relatively tasteful gesture), and Burger King has offered soda straws wrapped around plastic eyeballs (somewhat less appetizingly). Currently, Americans supposedly spend an estimated $6 billion annually on the event of which about $2 billion goes for candy and treats, and about $1.5 billion for costumes.


A great deal of the support for the idea of the marketing concept as an artifact of the Post World War II era, was based upon a Journal of Marketing article by Keith, a Pillsbury and Company marketing manager. In this self-serving article, Mr. Keith described the changes he (and perhaps his predecessors) brought to move Pillsbury from being a commodity oriented, to being a consumer specialty oriented company over the years. At no point in the article did he even mention the changes at Washburn-Crosby/General Mills, the Betty Crocker brand firm that was light years ahead of Pillsbury in market innovation. Now in autumn, 2001, General Mills has acquired 100% control of Pillsbury.


The Coca-Cola Company has established a digitized archive on the internet to hold its marketing history going back to May 29, 1886. Approximately 24,000 items are now displayed in the inventory but there is room for considerable growth. It is accessible through links from the Coca-Cola website. IBM, which worked with Coke in developing the inventory, is negotiating with and working with other firms and institutions to provide similar resources.


RIM has taken considerable delight in previous years in noting the Treasury Historical Society's most unique Christmas tree ornament-a miniature metallic reproduction of the first 1040 personal income tax form. Now the National Institute of Health gift shop moves farther along some dimension with a $34 necktie in an Anthrax spore pattern.


A possible outlet for writing on some aspects of marketing for consumption history will appear with the establishment of a new journal called The Journal of Mundane Behavior. This is part of the trend toward the expansion of studies of ordinary life that has become so popular in social science circles in recent years. The address, mundanely enough is www.journalofmundanebehavior.org.

The Service Industries Journal for October, 2001, reports on a survey of service industry literature prepared by REESER (the European Network for Research on Services and Space), presented at its 2000 conference in Bergen, Norway. Devoted to the question of culture and its relation to services marketing, the survey reports glowing attention to the history of cultural anthropology among researchers in several countries with some particular attention being paid to Clifford Geertz, Margaret Meade, and Thorstein Veblen. Max Weber's study of Protestantism is also given considerable importance. A phenomenon called "The Cultural Turn" which is playing the role in social economic studies, is also noted. This is described as a return to pre-modern approaches, but it seems to also smack of post-modernism. The same issue contains four special retrospective reviews commissioned by book review editor, John Bryson, in which the authors cite the work that they consider as having had the greatest influence on their own output. In total, they mentioned four publications: Manpower and the Growth of Producer Services, IHI Greenfield, New York Columbia University Press, 1966; Central Places in Southern Germany by Walter Christaller, Jena, Gustav, Fischer, Verlag, 1933; Services Industries: A Geographical Appraisal by P.W. Daniels, Andover: Methuen, 1995; and The Economic Transformation of American Cities by T. Noyelle and T.M. Stanback, Totowa, New Jersey, Roman and Allan Held, 1984.

"The Age of Packaging: The History of the Development of Modern Packaging" is the title of an exhibit on display at the MSU museum open seven days a week from February 24, 2002 to October 27, 2002. Readers of RIM will not be surprised to learn that Diana Twede is the moving spirit behind the organization and the display of this material.


Over the years, RIM has contained many accounts of salvaged trading vessels raised from the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea and the China cost that now serve as indicators of ancient trade. Now we turn to something much closer in time and space. American Heritage for April/May 2002 contains "Treasure Ship" by Elaine Warner which tells the story of the Missouri River paddlewheeler Arabia which sank off Kansas City, Missouri when her maiden voyage from St. Louis to Sioux City, Iowa in 1864. Besides a substantial complement of passengers, the boat carried about 250 tons of general merchandise. Recently, the ship was salvaged by private entrepreneurs who dug it out of the soft mud of the riverbed. About half the general merchandise contents have completed restoration and are now on exhibit in a private museum in the Kansas City riverfront redevelopment where the entire contents will ultimately be on display. Warner gives us a more vivid, colorful, and luxurious impression of life, even in the west, that is generally assumed. Clothes and fabrics appear in vivid shades with all their original brightness. Many of the food delicacies, such as jars of pickle relish, appear to be in pristine condition, although there is no indication that they have been subjected to taste tests.

Kevin O'Rourke and Geoffrey Williamson, "After Columbus: Explaining the Global Trade Boom 1500-1800," Centre for Economic Policy Research, 2001, hold that true integration did not occur until about 1800. They relied on the variation of comparative prices in between different markets prior to that date as evidence of non-integration, i.e., the fact that commodity A might exchange for very different amounts of commodity B in different markets at the same time. O'Rourke and Williamson argue that prices did not converge in part because trade was not free, but rather in the hands of monopolies and subject to high import duties. Market conditions also oscillated between buyers' and sellers' markets as the wealthy consumer classes in Europe found themselves able to gain higher or only lower land rentals because of varying agricultural conditions.

March, 2002, National Public Radio marked the 100th anniversary of the motor clubs that became the American Automobile Association. In the early days, in addition to providing insurance, road service, cooperative purchasing of parts and supplies, and a provision of travel advice, many of the clubs actually maintained social facilities for their membership. Even as late as the 1950's, the Minneapolis Automobile Club operated a suburban dining room that served its members exclusively.

Dennis Flynn and Arturo Giraldez, "Cycles of Silver: Global Economic Unity Through the Mid-Eighteenth Century," forthcoming, Journal of World History, look to the enormous movement of silver from South America into China as evidence of an early globalized World Trade. Although China restricted its overseas ventures over time, Flynn and Giraldez argue that it allowed the flow of considerable merchandise through Asian ports.


E.B.H.S. 2002 Conference scheduled for Chicago. Paper proposals are required by January 15, 2002 and should be submitted to Conference Chair: Malcolm B. Russell, Andrews University, School of Business, Economics Faculty, Berrien Springs, MI, 49104, or e-mail: Russell@andrews.edu; website: www.EBHSOC.org


Lilian Vernon is a very substantial mail order business that sells moderately priced apparel, housewares, and other such merchandise through a variety of catalogs without attracting much tension from the business press. Ms. Vernon appeared on an "All Things Considered" (National Public Radio, December 9, 2001) to celebrate the enterprise's 50th anniversary. It all started with a small space ad in Seventeen magazine to promote a novelty purse and belt combination for teens and sub-teens. The business was founded with a $2000 wedding gift. Ms. Vernon attributed her success to her intuitive merchandise selection.


The Ranger directs our attention to Alfred D. Chandler Jr.'s, Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics and Computer Industries, Free Press, 2001, $35.00. Business Week is somewhat skeptical of Chandler's attempt to apply his traditional scale and scope theories to the computer industry, although it seems to work well with consumer electronics. The reviewer believes the venturesomeness brought more flexibility to the computer industry than Chandler would have predicted.

Stephen Browne, Marketing: The Retro Revolution, published by Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, presents a post-modern view of marketing history. A review will appear in the Journal of Macromarketing, and the book may be discussed further in the next issue of RIM.

Alf H. Walle III, "Rethinking Marketing: Strategies and Exotic Visions," Westport, CT, Quorum Books, 2001, discusses the use of humanistic approaches, in the study of marketing. Walle sees literary, historical and similar methodologies as a complement to, and not a substitute for, quantitative research methods. The Journal of Consumer Marketing's reviewer found the book well written and highly informative. Many veteran History Conference and Macromarketing Conference attendees will remember Alf from some of our earlier sessions.

Kurt Eichenwald, The Informant, New York Broadway Books, describes the convoluted history of the anti-trust case that involved Archer-Daniels-Midland in an enormously expensive, price fixing conspiracy, and in which the government's principle whistle blower witness turned out to be a corporate officer who had embezzled millions from the company itself.

"Economic Focus 1492 And All That: Europe's Age of Discovery Gives Birth to an Age of Globalisation?" The Economist, August 25, 2001 presents conflicting views as to the origin of worldwide market integration, to use current jargon, globalization.

Chasing a Ghost: Retail Power and the Development of Slotting Allowances in the United States' Food Sector, An Historical Perspective, by Roger Dickinson has been accepted by the Journal of Marketing History.

Terry Witkowski reviewed Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation From Wedgwood to Corning by Regina Lee Blaszczak (Baltimore, MD, and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000) for the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Witkowski, who recommends the book highly, found it contradicted the well-known production/sales/marketing era periodization, the belief in increasing competition in some aspects of product life-cycle theory.

Consumerism in World History: The Global Transformation of Desire by Peter N. Stearns published by Routledge provides a fascinating discussion of the re-orientation of European, American and other economies in societies on a consumption-oriented basis during the past 300 years.

Making the List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller, by Michael Korda, 2001, Barnes & Noble Books.

Selling the President, 1920: Albert D. Lasker, Advertising, and the Election of Warren G. Harding, by John A. Morello, 2001, Praeger Publishers, Quorum Books, Westport, CT.


Bill Davidson is now publishing a new retail newsletter under the heading Retail Forward, 700 Ackerman Road, Suite 600, Columbus, Ohio, 43202.

Stan Hollander reports progress in completing several articles started with Kathy Rassuli before her death in 1999. Rassuli and Hollander, "Revolving But Not Revolutionary Books; A History of Commercial Rental Libraries," appeared in the Journal of Macromarketing for December, 2001. "An Assessment of Farmers' Marketing in the United States," with Michael Tippins (one of Kathy's former students) has been accepted by the International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management. Work continues with Laura Dix, another former student, on a study of periodization of marketing history.


by Bob Peterson

On Saturday, March 2, the marketing community in general, and the Academy of Marketing Science in particular, lost an outstanding marketer. Alvin Eicoff, an AMS Distinguished Marketing Practitioner and inventor of the infomercial, passed away in Florida. Al was the rarest of individuals in that he was successful in virtually everything that he undertook. Among other things, he was a very successful direct marketer, the founder of a major advertising and direct marketing agency, a successful entrepreneur, and the author of two very successful books. Moreover, Al was an academic at heart, and he loved to present guest lectures, especially when the audience consisted of undergraduate students. In recent years he had been accorded many honors, including being elected to the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and being named by Advertising Age as one of the 50 most influential individuals in advertising in the twentieth century. He will be sorely missed.

David Thomas, who founded Wendy's hamburger chain and who became a public figure with his homespun TV commercials for the chain, died in January 2002.


"Women at the Top in British Retailing: A Longitudinal Analysis," Service Industries Journal, vol. 21, no. 3, (July 2001), by Alan B. Thomas describes the under-representation of women on the boards of directors of major British retail firms during the last forty years. Thomas, however, notes that there has been a significant improvement in female representation in recent years.

Edward Elgar Ltd. has announced a number of items of economic history that have some relevance to the development of marketing thought and practice:

  1. Is There Progress in Economics? Knowledge, Truth and the History of Economic Thought, edited by Stephen Boehn, Christian Gehrke, Heinz D. Kurz, and Richard Stern, University of Graas, Austria.
  2. The Institutional Economy: Demand and Supply by David Reisman.
  3. Carl Menger and the Evolution of Payments Systems: From Barter to Electronic Money, edited by Michael Lagzer and Stephen W. Schmitz.


"Ogods" by Tobe Ester (The Atlantic Monthly, February 2002) cites a marketing based theory for the growth of religious movements NRN advanced by Rodney Stark and comparative religion at the University of Washington. This holds that new religions and new religious organizations rise in response to consumer demand. This now holds that, under religious freedom, new religions and religious institutions emerge in response to consumer demand, not revelation. Ester believes that desire to establish social, societal relations is the prime motivator, not satisfied by insisting institutions, and that conversion actually is a consequence, not a cause, of affiliation. The imposition of demands for contribution of substantial time and money serves to motivate adherents. This is a familiar marketing phenomenon in which a sense of involvement and satisfaction flows from consumption. It also builds a sense of social support; "These esteemable people will help me." Ester cites the Mormon practice of sending young people on two year foreign missions. The conversion rate is very low, but the process reinforces the missionary's own faith.

In "The Gold Standard," The Atlantic Monthly, January 2002, Colin Murphy points out that international trade all became possible when merchants came up with the idea of currency exchange rates. He quotes a Mesopotamian text about 800 BC that gives equivalency rates for copper, at that time a medium of exchange. He cites that a recent study published in the journal Nature, (not specifically cited) shows that rules of thumb are changing value media in one nation to that of another were established as early as the Bronze Age.

"Old Sneakers Never Die," by Ed Liebowitz, Smithsonian, November, 2001, recounts the history of the Charles "Chuck" Taylor's All-Star Converse basketball shoe which became a popular item in the 1920's due to the sales personality of its namesake, former basketball star who established long relationships with coaches and athletes throughout the country. It was always an American-made shoe until very recently, and in present times, the only well-known athletic shoe produced in the U.S.A. An example has been placed on exhibit at the National Museum of American History.

Uplift, by Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau, (University of Pennsylvania Press, December, 2001) does not describe the moral orientation of retrospectives in marketing. It is a social history of the bra in America. Dot-Com: The Greatest Story Ever Sold by John Cassidy, is a history of the dot.com bubble and has been well-received by reviewers. Its orientation is indicated by its ironic title.

Special Issue on Globalization

The Journal invites authors to submit manuscripts that advance conceptual understanding about the nature and effects of macromarketing aspects of globalization. Manuscripts may be historical, conceptual, or empirical in nature. Consistent with its multidisciplinary perspective and openness to multiple methods of inquiry, the Journal welcomes a variety of views and approaches. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical perspectives on globalization
  • Alternative conceptualizations of the nature of globalization
  • Effects of globalization on competition and markets
  • Globalization, communication technology, and the media
  • Public policy and globalization
  • Globalization and the environment
  • Economic development and globalization
  • Marketing ethics and globalization
  • Quality of life and globalization
  • Effects of globalization on economic welfare and social justice
  • Unintended consequences of globalization
  • Benefits and dysfunctional effects of globalization

Deadline for submissions: November 1, 2002

Submit five (5) copies of each manuscript along with a diskette containing the manuscript in Word format. The author's name should not appear anywhere except on the cover page. The words "SPECIAL ISSUE ON GLOBALIZATION" should appear at the top of the cover page. The author should keep an extra, exact copy for future reference.

Please send all manuscripts to:
Dr. Sandy Grossbart; Editor, Journal of Macromarketing; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Department of Marketing; 310 College of Business; Lincoln, NE 68588-0492; Office: (402) 472-2316; Fax: (402) 472-9777; E-mail: sgrossbart1@unl.edu.

Retrospectives in Marketing

Dept. of Marketing & Supply Chain Management
N370 North Business Complex
Eli Broad Graduate School of Management
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
Frozen North Correspondent D.G. Brian Jones,
University of Prince Edward Island
Pacific Rim Correspondent Terry Witkowski,
California State University at Long Beach
Stanley Hollander, Michigan State University
Texas Ranger Correspondent Roger Dickinson,
University of Texas at Arlington
Production Manager
Renee Dixon, Michigan State University
Published biannually by Michigan State University


Updated March 6, 2012.
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