Purpose – The purpose of this article is to present an inside look at the history of a little‐known but interesting initiative in the marketing field, one that involved the infusion of marketing thought into public policy decision‐making in the USA. It aims to trace the interesting tale of how marketing academics came to be included in the activities of the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through the FTC's “Marketing Academic Consultancy Program” (MACP) during the 1970s. This story also aims to include descriptions of the contributions made by those marketing academics and how those scholars were later phased out of the FTC. Design/methodology/approach – An autobiographical approach is used since each of the authors was personally involved in the MACP. As participants in the program and as scholars whose careers were thereafter tremendously affected by that participation, these personal accounts provide considerable insight into the impact on both FTC operations and on marketing academic thought itself. Findings – Over the decade of the 1970s some 30 marketing academics participated in this program, with considerable impact on both FTC operations and on marketing academic thought itself. Reflecting positive impact within public policy, for example, was a massive increase in the FTC budget for marketing and consumer research activities – from essentially zero at the start of the program to some $ 1 million in 1978. Benefits also flowed back into academia, as this program formed a prime basis for the development of today's “Marketing and Society” research area. Originality/value – Although there are histories of the FTC, this is an original, first‐hand account of a little‐known era during which marketing academics and public policy decision‐makers were given a unique opportunity to work together and learn from each other. It offers personal insights into the workings of this innovative program and the benefits that accrued for both the FTC and for the marketing discipline.
Journal of Historical Research in Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 25, 2013
Keywords: Federal Trade Commission; Consumer protection; Marketing academics; History of marketing thought; Marketing and public policy history; Consumer research; Marketing and society; Marketing consultants
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