Examining Markets, Marketing, Consumers, and Society through Documentary Films


Russell Belk, York University, published “Examining Markets, Marketing, Consumers, and Society through Documentary Films” on August 23rd, 2011 in Journal of Macromarketing’s OnlineFirst collection. Dr. Belk kindly provided the following responses to his article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

Those with an interest in macromarketing, historical, or film research regarding markets, marketing, consumption, and society.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

I have been making documentary videos myself for the past 25 years and have been co-chairing a consumer research film festival for the past 10 years.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

This is a conceptual piece trying to stir researchers to utilize documentary films in their work, so there are no findings as such.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

I hope it opens scholars eyes to the wealth of documentary material available.  On YouTube alone there are over 150 million videos posted, many of which qualify as documentary films.  All constitute a valuable archive of consumer (and marketer) use of visual online media and are ripe for analysis.  Together with other resources identified or exemplified, the time has never been better for documentary film research.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

As noted above, I have created documentary films as well as encouraged others to make them and show them at the film festivals I have coordinated.  I am now encouraging others to make use of the growing corpus of relevant film material.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

If I had more pages I could go on and on about relevant films and provide many more examples.  Also after a few years the supply of available film material is not only going to be much larger, but will likely take new forms that we cannot imagine at present.

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