Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

2 10 2011

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing has published a special theme issue on the history of marketing in Canada. Here are the abstracts of the articles. The bibliography will be very useful to scholars, I bet.

Hat tip to Stan Shapiro.

Mammoth market: the transformation of food retailing in Canada, 1946-1965

‎Monday, ‎August ‎08, ‎2011, ‏‎5:00:00 PM | Barry E.C. Boothman

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to appraise the spread of supermarkets in Canada during the mid-twentieth century. It examines how corporate chains altered the organization of distribution, reconfigured shopping experiences, and promised gains realized through greater business volume. Design/methodology/approach – The paper utilizes a mix of primary and secondary sources to compare how companies responded to opportunities for mass marketing that emerged in the post-war era. The perspective is grounded in the theory of managerial capitalism, which was originally elaborated by Alfred D. Chandler. Findings – The paper highlights how mass food retailing in Canada shared some attributes normally associated with the rise of managerial capitalism, but it also reviews the variations and highlights the difficulties faced by firms despite their jump to giant size. In particular, it stresses how the leading companies did not build secure positions. Research limitations/implications – Corporate archives in Canadian retailing either did not survive or remain inaccessible. The essay therefore draws upon a mix of sources including company publications and government investigations. The paper highlights the inability of companies to realize permanent gains commonly associated with large firm size or mass retailing. It stresses that there was no one “model” of corporate development. Originality/value – This paper illustrates the complexities associated with developing strategic leadership in retailing and therefore should be valuable to educators and practitioners.

Building customer confidence in the automobile age: Canadian Tire 1928-1939

‎Monday, ‎August ‎08, ‎2011, ‏‎5:00:00 PM | Dale Miller

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how one Canadian retailer developed customer confidence in the interwar years when the automobile was in its infancy. The emphasis is on products and product information in the mail-order catalogue. Design/methodology/approach – The research design strategy draws on a longitudinal case study research using primary archival data collection and analysis. Findings – In the 1930s, the firm used multiple approaches to respond to opportunities and challenges and to reassure customers through product assortment, guarantees, branding, quality assurance and support services. Generating an extensive mail-order business occurred in tandem with the opening of stores, and together these approaches created rapid growth. In the early years, the emphasis was on maintenance, repairs and some augmentation through accessories. From the mid-to late 1930s, with easing economic conditions, the focus shifts from automobile functionality to include roles for leisure and sport products, and the injunction to engage with the Canadian countryside. Originality/value – The paper uses original historical research to contribute a new way of understanding how retailers developed customer confidence. The study contributes to knowledge about Canadian retailing in the interwar years, and the means for building customer confidence using a range of marketing techniques. For researchers, the study demonstrates a further example of the efficacy of using archival materials to explore marketing questions.

Orderly marketing: reality, rhetoric or myth?

‎Monday, ‎August ‎08, ‎2011, ‏‎5:00:00 PM | Paul D. Earl

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the meaning and content of the term “orderly marketing” as it was adopted by Western Canadian farm leaders in the 1920s, and to determine whether the expected results of “orderly marketing”, as they were enunciated by farm leaders, were met. Design/methodology/approach – The paper examines the critique that farm leaders and Wheat Pool officials levelled against the open market, and the way they posited “orderly marketing” as a solution to their perceived problems. Using contemporary data on wheat prices and movements, it analyzes the content of orderly marketing, and the results of its implementation by the Pools. Findings – The paper finds that “orderly marketing” was primarily a campaign slogan, that the problems it was alleged to address did not exist, and that its implementation by the Wheat Pools did not yield the results that the farm leaders had promised. The paper acknowledges however, the significant accomplishments of these organizations, and postulates that the concept of orderly marketing resonates with aspects of Canadian culture and helps to explain why grain marketing in the USA and Canada evolved so differently. Originality/value – The agricultural cooperative movement in Western Canada has been the subject of a great deal of historical research, most of it positive. However, there are no recently published qualitative studies of the history of the term, nor in-depth quantitative analyses of the economic results achieved by the Wheat Pools during the 1920s that compare with the contents of this paper.

Brand mismanagement: Rothmans cigarette marketing, 1957-2000

‎Monday, ‎August ‎08, ‎2011, ‏‎5:00:00 PM | Timothy Dewhirst, Robert Sparks

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess, by providing a case study of flagship brand, Rothmans, why Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH), Canada’s second largest tobacco firm, has historically lost ground to industry leader, Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited (ITL). Design/methodology/approach – The paper utilizes data from internal corporate documents, made public from litigation, as well as trade press and promotional materials accessed from advertising archives. More specifically, the tobacco industry documents reviewed were made public from two Canadian trials: the 1989 Canadian trial to decide the constitutionality of the Tobacco Products Control Act; and the 2002 Quebec Superior Court trial in which Canada’s three major tobacco firms challenged the constitutionality of the Tobacco Act. Findings – The declining market share of Rothmans is largely explained by the brand’s inability to appeal to the highly valued youth or “health concerned” segments. RBH failed to link the cigarette brand consistently with segment-appropriate imagery during a time when legislation prompted a shift in promotional spending by the Canadian tobacco industry towards sponsorship communications. Unlike ITL, RBH failed to capitalize on the potential of sponsorship to contemporize the Rothmans brand and make it relevant to younger smokers. Moreover, RBH was slow to introduce a so-called “light” line extension, which would appeal to existing smokers with health concerns. Originality/value – This study should particularly interest researchers and practitioners interested in marketing and public policy, in which insight is provided about unique challenges to marketing in Canada on the basis of government regulation.

Development porn? Child sponsorship advertisements in the 1970s

‎Monday, ‎August ‎08, ‎2011, ‏‎5:00:00 PM | Robert Mittelman, Leighann C. Neilson

Abstract

Purpose – Child sponsorship programs have been accused of representing children in the developing world in a manner described as “development porn”. The purpose of this paper is to take an historical approach to investigating the use of advertising techniques by Plan Canada, a subsidiary of one of the oldest and largest child sponsorship-based non-governmental development agencies, Plan International, during the 1970s. This time period represents an important era in international development and a time of significant change in the charitable giving and advertising industries in Canada. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conduct a content analysis on an archival collection of 468 print advertisements from the 1970s. Findings – A description of the “typical” Plan Canada fund-raising ad is presented and shown to be different, in several aspects, from other advertisements of the time period. It was determined that Plan Canada’s advertisement did not cross the delicate line between showing the hardship and realities of life in the developing world for these children and what became known as “development porn”. Originality/value – There has been little previous research which focuses specifically on the design of charity advertisements. This paper presents a historically contextualized description of such ads, providing a baseline for further research. It also raises important questions regarding the portrayal of the “other” in marketing communications and the extent to which aid agencies must go to attract the attention of potential donors.

The history of Canadian marketing: from the seventeenth century to World War II: An annotated bibliography

‎Monday, ‎August ‎08, ‎2011, ‏‎5:00:00 PM | Stanley J. Shapiro, Robert D. Tamilia

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a briefly annotated bibliography of some 200 items that together constitute a “select list” of the available academic literature on the history of Canadian marketing from the seventeenth century to the beginning of Second World War. Design/methodology/approach – After all the available academic literature on Canadian marketing the authors could uncover was examined, the most relevant, interesting, and accessible material was identified and annotated. In addition, all of the literature considered in any way pertinent was added to a more complete bibliography available on the CHARM web site. Findings – Though existing Canadian business and economic history texts and courses tend to pay far more attention to other topics, there is a rich and varied literature on the history of Canadian marketing. Research limitations/implications – No selections are included from either archival sources or the popular press nor are unpublished theses or dissertations cited. Originality/value – This appears to be the first annotated bibliography on the history of Canadian marketing ever to have been compiled and published.

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