CFP: 1st international conference on marketing (as) rhetoric, 14 June 2017| Deadline: 31st March

Due to interest from many quarters internationally the organisers are extending the deadline for 250 word abstracts to 31st March. Please see below for full details.

Bournemouth University, U.K., June 14th 2017


It is fifteen years since Tonks (2002) argued that “rhetoric needs to have a more central location in making sense of marketing management” (p. 806). How far has this clarion call been answered? Are we any closer to an understanding of what it might mean to recast marketing theory and practice as a rhetoric? Or are we all still in thrall to the latest logic? To what degree has the ‘rhetorical turn’ in the human sciences had an influence on scholarship and teaching in marketing? We hope to enlist your contribution in starting to answer these and related questions at the 1st International Conference on Marketing (as) Rhetoric, to be held at Bournemouth University, June 14th, 2017 under the auspices of the Promotional Cultures and Communication Centre’s Advertising Research group.

While rhetorical approaches have become part of the standard toolbox in management studies (Bonet & Saquet, 2010; Hartelius & Browning, 2008) and have made a notable impact in economic scholarship (McCloskey, 1983, 1985) their adoption in marketing has been comparatively slow. A small but dedicated group of advertising scholars have perhaps had the most visible success in applying rhetorical criticism to a marketing topic area (McQuarrie & Mick, 1992, 1996, 2003; Phillips & McQuarrie, 2002, 2004; Scott, 1994; Stern, 1998, 1990). At the same time, there has been some investigation of the substantial part that rhetorical strategies play in the success of our most valued marketing scholars and marketing concepts (Brown, 2004, 2005; Hackley, 2003; Miles, 2010, 2013, 2015; O’Reilly, 2000) as well as efforts to situate aspects of marketing practice within a rhetorical frame (Marsh, 2013; Nilsson, 2015; O’Shaughnessy & O’Shaughnessy, 2004; Palmer et al, 2014; Persuit, 2013; Press & Arnould, 2014).

Given the historically central place that strategies of persuasion and control have at the heart of marketing thought it is remarkable that rhetoric remains such a rare framework for marketing thinking and scholarship. Has academic marketing’s (unrequited) love for the trappings of ‘science’ made rhetoric an unworthy research partner? Is there something at the root of rhetoric that makes marketers uncomfortable? Why are some young marketing scholars happy to adopt discourse analysis but remain wary of the far more developed traditions of rhetorical criticism? The International Conference on Marketing (as) Rhetoric hopes to deals with these challenging questions. Additionally, we are keen to encourage engagements with rhetorical themes across all aspects of marketing theory and practice. Below is an indicative (but not exclusive) list of possible research areas for papers:

*Rhetoric and the ‘attention economy” (Lanham, 2007)
* Rhetorical strategies as marketing strategies
* Advertising/PR and rhetoric
* Rhetoric and social media marketing
* The rhetoric of marketing relationships
* The rhetoric of marketing pedagogy
* Rhetoric as a unifying theory for marketing
* Propaganda, political marketing, and rhetoric
* Sales and rhetoric
* Critical marketing / postmodern marketing and rhetorical theory and criticism
* Explications of particular rhetorical figures and schools and their relevance for marketing
* Contemporary rhetorical criticism and marketing theory
* Kairos and marketing techniques
* Logos/ethos/pathos as marketing frames
* Copia and marketing pedagogy
* Sophism and modern marketing

We particularly welcome contributions that examine the legacy of Sophism as it relates to the marketing function and to the overall understanding of marketing. Given that Laufer and Paredeise’s (1990) dictum that “marketing is the bureaucratic form of Sophism” was so clearly an inspiration for Tonks’ (2002) own stance and that the reappraisal of Sophism continues to go from strength to strength (Poulakos, 1983; Lanham 1993, 2007; Cassin, 2000; Corey, 2015; Tindale, 2010), we would encourage scholars to continue this line of investigation and submit abstracts which examine the relationships between Sophism and all aspects of marketing.

We also invite contributions from scholars with an interest in marketing and rhetoric but residing in fields other than marketing, including organization studies, human resource, management, leadership, etc., as well as scholars from other disciplines, including rhetoric, sociology, philosophy, linguistics, cultural studies, etc.

/Practical information/

Conference Date: 14 June 2017

Keynote Speakers:
* Dr. Nicholas O’Shaughnessy (Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies King’s College London, Centre for Strategic Communications; Professor of Communications, Queen Mary University of London)
* Dr. Chris Hackley (Professor of Marketing, Royal Holloway University of London)

Conference Location: Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Dorset, United Kingdom.
Conference registration: £50
Conference website/registration page:
Abstracts: Abstracts of 250 words to be submitted to<> by the extended deadline of *31st March*.

Review procedure: Notification of acceptance of abstracts will be communicated by 10th April.
* Dr. Chris Miles (Department of Corporate and Marketing Communication, Bournemouth University, UK). Email:<>
* Dr. Tomas Nilsson (Department of Marketing, Linnaeus University, Sweden). Email:<>

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Brown, S. (2004). Writing Marketing: The Clause That Refreshes. Journal of Marketing Management, 20(3–4), 321–342.
Brown, S. (2005). Writing Marketing: Literary Lessons form Academic Authorities. London, Sage.
Cassin, B. (2000). Who’s Afraid of the Sophists? Against Ethical Correctness. Hypatia, 15(4), 102-120.
Corey, D. (2015). The Sophists in Plato’s Dialogues. Albany, State University of New York Press.
Hackley, C. (2003). “We Are All Customers Now . . .” Rhetorical Strategy and Ideological Control in Marketing Management Texts. Journal of Management Studies, 40(5), 1325–1352.
Hartelius, E. J., & Browning, L. D. (2008). The Application of Rhetorical Theory in Managerial Research: A Literature Review. Management Communication Quarterly, 22(1), 13–39.
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Marsh, C. (2013). Classical Rhetoric and Modern Public Relations. London, Routledge.
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McQuarrie, E. F., & Mick, D. G. (2003). Re-Inquiries: Visual and verbal rhetorical figures under directed processing versus incidental exposure to advertising. Journal of Consumer Research, 29(4), 579–87.
Miles, C. (2010). Interactive Marketing: Revolution or Rhetoric? London, Routledge.
Miles, C. (2014). The rhetoric of managed contagion: Metaphor and agency in the discourse of viral marketing. Marketing Theory, 14(1), 3-18.
Miles, C. (2014). Rhetoric and the foundation of the Service-Dominant Logic. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 27(5), 744–755.
Nilsson, T. (2015). Rhetorical Business: A study of marketing work in the spirit of contradiction. Lund, Lund University.
O’Reilly, D. (2000). On the Precipice of a Revolution with Hamel and Prahalad. Journal of Marketing Management, 16(1–3), 95–109.
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Palmer, M., Simmons, G., & Mason, K. (2014). Web-based social movements contesting marketing strategy: The mobilisation of multiple actors and rhetorical strategies. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(3–4), 383–408.
Persuit, J. (2013). Social Media and Integrated Marketing Communication: A Rhetorical Approach. New York, Lexington Books.
Press, M., & Arnould, E. J. (2014). Narrative transparency. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(13–14), 1353–1376.
Phillips, B. J., & McQuarrie, E. F. (2002). The development, change, and transformation of rhetorical style in magazine advertisements 1954-1999. Journal of Advertising, 31(4), 1–13.
Phillips, B. J., & McQuarrie, E. F. (2004). Beyond Visual Metaphor: A New Typology of Visual Rhetoric in Advertising. Marketing Theory, 4(1), 113–136.
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