Lancaster Marketing academics receive Best Paper awards

James Cronin and Gill Hopkinson

21 July 2016

Three Marketing academics have recently been awarded Best Paper prizes at international conferences.

Dr Xin Zhao has won the George Fisk Award for the Best Conference Paper, together with his co-authors, at this year’s Macromarketing conference in Dublin. The prize was for his paper entitled “The Plight of Rural Migrant Workers in Urban China” which was written together with Rongwei Chu (Fudan University, China), James Gentry (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA), Jie Gao (Valdosta State University, USA).

Dr Zhao said: “In the past three decades, the movement of over 270 million Chinese migrant workers from rural to urban areas in search of better job opportunities is one of the biggest voluntary migration in human history. The magnitude of this internal migration in China is also unprecedented. In this project, we seek to put a human face on the challenges faced by those distant from their families of origin, and to raise questions from a macromarketing perspective about what may be done to improve the situations for this massive group of vulnerable consumers.”

Meanwhile, Dr James Cronin and Dr Gill Hopkinson received the best paper award at the prestigious Consumer Culture Theory conference in Lille, France for their paper “The Market as Body Snatcher: Exposing Embodied Subjectivities in New Health Activism”. The paper explores how celebrity chef Jamie Oliver managed to communicate the hidden presence of sugar in food products as a monstrous threat to consumers’ bodies in a televised documentary.

Dr Cronin suggests: “This compelling science fiction-esque narrative was used by Oliver to communicate the gravitas of diet-related illness to lay audiences. We suggest his narrative was very effective in suggesting there is a real problem in the marketplace and this helped win public support for the introduction of a sugar tax.”

Professor Maria Piacentini, Head of Department of Marketing, said: “I am delighted to see our colleagues in Marketing making such an impression with their work at these international conferences. The papers cover important contemporary issues in marketing, and both adopt a critical approach to thinking about consumers and markets. These awards show that Lancaster is at the leading edge in consumer and marketing research.”