Marketing enthusiasts at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in the city of London


When you sign up for one of the world’s most accredited MBA’s in the most beautiful university of UK (huge shout-out to RHUL for bagging the award this year), you know you’re headed for something new every day.

From looking up a new class in the campus (we call it treasure hunt), to having renowned guest speakers speak eloquently for students to figure out their opportunities, to having a surprise off-campus class; this blog is for the latter.

After 6 weeks of extensive knowledge in marketing, we were given an opportunity to see marketing come out of our books and see how it grew in the British era. The announcement was made by our charismatic lecturer – Giana Eckhardt that Tuesday the 31st October we had an off-campus class and were headed to the Museum of Brands in the city of London.


As enthusiastic children amazed to find their way in Disneyland, we the young millennial marketers entered awestruck in the museum to find our favorite brands take birth in the 1800’s during the Victorian era. It was interesting to know how the Industrial revolution resulted in the birth of brands. Trade developed and people felt the need to have distinct products and brands.

The first segment on display was the Victorian and Edwardian phase which was pompously marked with exquisite crockery of the Royal household, complimenting the newly-born brands showcased in the display. The development of railways was widely advertised in the Sunday Times newspaper (interesting to know that Sunday times is that old a newspaper brand). There were bright-colored boxes with brand names in huge fonts which caught our eye and depicted the newness of advertising in the market (baby steps as they say). It was amusing to find big brands like Nestle originate in 1837 and most people’s favorite comfort food product – Cadbury chocolate came into existence in this very phase. Printed postcards started circulating by 1894 during the Edwardian phase and to get active the game – Ping pong was invented.

The 1910’s were uniquely marked with introduction of Jig-saw puzzles as this was the learning phase of marketing and the great minds were still developing their ideas so why not make it an interesting game! People developed a sense of sophistication which led to shoe-related brands origination; the famous shoe polish brand – Kiwi and Dr. Scholl’s sole were neatly presented in big colorful printed media posters. Heinz came up with easy-to-use tin containers of soup, spaghetti and soups while the sweet-toothed experimented with their taste buds and produced cocoa and Bournville- Dark chocolate.

The next few years from 1920-30’s weren’t the best in terms of trade or marketing due to the war crisis. However, Radio was the highly-used media for marketing and also the London Underground system was developed. Food products like Kellogg’s initiated cornflakes and chocolates producers – Nestle and Macintosh diversified their products by producing variety of toffee and chocolates.

In the 1940’s, which was a post-war time; it was turning point in the marketing history. Various FMCG products like Vim dish washers, Kleenex tissues, HP sauces, Nescafe coffee and Brook bond tea saw an evolution. It was evident that people developed newer products and tried various print media marketing from catchy one-liners to brightly colored posters of their products.

The period of 1950’s, people were heavily investing in leisure and travel. Based on the need the huge the photography revolutionary company –  Kodak was born. While food products expanded their product lines, we also observed beverages like Pepsi and fruits juices in the household items.

In 1960’s, brand started using mascots in their branding. Mascots were cartoon figures to famous celebrities marketing product campaigns and advertisements. This was a period of revolutionary breakthroughs wherein the first personal computer – Apple’s Macintosh was born. Daily consumption products developed diversified product categories like Kellogg’s adding different flavors of cornflakes in their product category to Fairy’s liquid dish washers being replaced by soap bars. Entertainment sector was more music-oriented in this era and famous bands like Beatles and Bench boys gave birth to the pop culture.

The 1980-1990’s was the booming period of entertainment; pop music culture was in huge demand. Music bands like Spice girl, Blue, West life were hugely popular and to listen their songs Sony developed Walkman’s to play their songs on the go and shifted the public from old-age tape recorders to Walkman cassette players. Major supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s were the go-to place for buying FMCG products. Cadbury chocolates to Kellogg’s to Macintosh chocolates, all these brands were developing different flavors to attract sales and ascertain public response.

Now many of you must be wondering why have I been referring brands which already exist? Were these the only brands I observed? Apparently no! They were plenty of brands, so many out of which I handpicked the ones I could relate with. What happened to the rest of majority that didn’t ring a bell with the students? These brands didn’t survive or didn’t make enough stakes to pass the rest of time (survival of the fittest as they say!). The unique attributes of brands listed above to have survived while other brands have disappeared were consistency and their ability to modernize with changing trends of the market.


Interesting observations of my fellow marketing students

Vijay – He observed how older brands marketed their brands by having images of activities depicting the usage of the brand (like a woman washing clothes with a detergent).

Sherry – She observed that in 1950’s, both men and women were used in illustrations of brand marketing images.

Nicole – She identified brands adopted innovative packaging to update their positioning in the market. There was more artistic display of grains in food products and transfer to pictures in packaging.

Anjali – She observed how brands survived throughout the various periods by adopting the right pricing strategies.

Youngeun – She observed how marketing was more about stories earlier and now it’s has been simplified and is competitive. Also, the colors used in packaging are getting stronger with time.

I observed how the font size on the packaging has decreased with time.

In the last class exercise to pick a brand, to discuss its various brand elements the famous liquor brand – Johnny walkers was picked by Kim for discussion.

  • Packaging – The brand used exquisite packaging in a square bottle.
  • Slogan of the brand – Keep walking
  • Logos/symbols – Name of the brand was embossed in golden and written in indented font.
  • Characters/ Celebrities – The brand developed their mascot of a suited man, wearing a royal shield walking in the outdoors.
  • Audience – It was interesting how Johnny walkers sponsored a race car event and golf tournaments to market themselves in the premium high-class society.
  • Colors -They used bright colors like red and blue in their packaging for indicating the level of premium.

I would like to conclude this blog with a big thank you to our program director – Olga Kravets for giving us this amazing opportunity to connect with the marketing history with this museum trip and treating us to Honest burgers after the museum trip.

IMG_0814-Sakeynay (Sammy),  Batch of 2017-2018




My MBA at Royal Holloway – Flashback

The very first day I entered the classroom I was a little scared and out of my comfort zone. For a person like me, who was born in a small village in Pakistan and spent the whole of his life in that country, this was too much. I was looking at the faces from different parts of the world and ethnic backgrounds. I sat alone on a chair at the back of the class. Everybody was introducing themselves, so did I. Everyone had a unique background and varied experiences which made me think that how will I connect with these people as each one is so different from me. There were some tasks for the first two weeks so that we can become familiar with each other and then the modules started but there was still some hesitation.


Then came the last day; we had our presentations for the consultancy project. All the students presented their best with the help of their group fellows. After the presentations everybody stood in front of Moor building for a final group photo, however, no one left after the photo. I was feeling more scared than the first day and I had somewhat same feeling on the last day but the reason was totally different. I was uncomfortable on the first day because I felt out of my comfort zone but now I was uncomfortable because I was leaving my comfort zone. Everybody was saying goodbye to each other with promises to remain in touch. I stayed on campus until late that day and then left in the evening with a heavy heart. I could not have thought I would make good friends during such a short span of less than a year, and the impact this MBA would have on me in this time period.


I still remember the day, when I went to see Olga, our programme director. I was there for something else but during the conversation, I told her that I am a reluctant person in class who is afraid of asking questions and participating in the class discussions. She encouraged me to speak without fear as it is quite possible that you might have a better point than the others. I gave it a thought and started participating in the class not because of what I had in my mind was right but because, often, what others were saying seems not quiterelevant to the subject under discussion as I understood it. It seems a bit awkward but that is how I tackled my fear of classroom participation and presentations.

I developed and refined my thought processing through interaction with the faculty members and my classmates. I cannot express in words, the learning and experience that I gained from my MBA cohort and I am so thankful to all of them for sharing their time, experiences and thinking with me. I tried so many foods with them from across the globe. Similarly, I will remember our sittings in the Hub, Imagine and Bedford library.  Also, the group work provided me with the opportunity to learn from them and understand their way of doing things. Moreover, the study trip to Germany and Czech Republic was an amazing experience where I spent quality time with the MBA family. I know that I will definitely keep in touch with most of them for rest of my life.


Apart from in class discussions and debates, I really enjoyed my out of the class conversations with Dr Brendan McSweeney on British history and Brexit; Dr Mathew Li on economics and financial markets; Dr Helen Tregidga on PhD and New Zealand; and most importantly Dr Olga Kravets on everything. Most of the faculty members were always helping and easy to approach in and outside the classroom. They played the role of a guide rather than strictly being teachers as they were always guiding the class debates on a given topic towards healthy thought-provoking ideas. Instead of providing answers most of them helped and steered the discussions towards the thinking and ideology behind the answers.

In the end, I would just like to say that my MBA at the Royal Holloway University of London developed me as a manager, leader and most importantly as a person. An interesting learning for me was the difference between ‘doing the right things’ and ‘doing the things right’. Furthermore, now, I am prepared and confident to face the challenges in my life with the tools acquired through my MBA. However, I do wish that I could have more time to spend with my friends of MBA and more Nigel Laurie sessions.

– Fraz Ahsan (MBA 2016/17)

Greetings from MBA 2016/17 – Postcard

Greetings from Royal Holloway MBA 2016/17! (see video postcard from Henry)



Who is Who: Prof. Pauline Maclaran

Professor Pauline Maclaran teaches “Marketing Research” course in MBA “Consumers and Markets” module (Term 1). She recently co-authored and published a book titled Royal Fever (2015).

This book explores how and why consumers around the world leverage a wide range of products, services, and experiences to satisfy their fascination with the British Royal Family brand. It demonstrates the monarchy’s power as a brand whose narrative has existed for more than a thousand years, one that shapes consumer behaviour and that retains its economic and cultural significance in the twenty-first century.

Read Chapter 1 here


Who is Who: Prof. Giana Eckhardt

Professor Giana Eckhardt teaches “Brand Management” course in MBA “Consumers and Markets” module (Term 1). Check out one of her recent talks about her research on “Share Economy”(video) and the related article Learning to Play in the New “Share Economy” (2013, Harvard Business Review, 7-8, p. 125-129)

She co-authored a book “The Myth of the Ethical Consumer” (2010) which explores if “consumers really care where products come from and how they are made?” and asks if “there [is] such a thing as an ‘ethical consumer’?”


Interview with Prof. Brendan McSweeney by Ahsan Fraz

Interview by Ahsan Fraz (MBA candidate)

Professor Brendan McSweeney teaches at the School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London. He completed his PhD in accounting at the London School of Economics. Before opting for a career as an educator, he worked in various capacities in retail banking and mergers and acquisitions (Bank of Ireland), in the Irish Tourist Board and in the Irish Trade Union Congress. Before joining Royal Holloway University of London in 2004, he had worked as a researcher in Glasgow University; lecturer/senior lecturer at Warwick Business School and professor at the University of Essex. Prior to his academic career he was responsible for research at the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants. His work was published in a variety of accounting and wider management journals including: Accounting, Organizations & Society, Journal of International Business Studies, Organization Studies, and the Political Quarterly. He also authored/co-authored/edited a number of books and book chapters about accounting, management and organisational studies. His work is widely cited by many academics and non-academics. Currently, he is also a member of the advisory board of YKK’s Europe Middle-East and Africa division. He has a keen interest in Irish and British history. Professor McSweeney teaches financial analysis to MBA class. I sat with him for a short interview which is given below:

I: What would you do if you were not a professor?

I like to help people. I think that if I were not a professor I would be a doctor. (But you are already a doctor!). O yes, but I mean a medical one!

I: What does international students add to the class?

I would say that they challenge UK-centricity. They bring diverse views and knowledge from all over the world. They pose a challenge to the teachers as well and we also learn from them. People are not identical and everybody has its own background. That diversity of backgrounds and experiences provides opportunity to learn new things and ideas.

I: What will be the consequences of more stringent visa policies for international students?

The biggest negative message to the world is that the UK doesn’t like foreigners. The recent referendum vote supporting the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) has reinforced this message. It was not like this before. UK was a welcoming place for everybody, now it appears to be more unwelcoming. UK universities unanimously opposed Brexit and continue to be strongly committed to internationalism But there is a danger that if the ‘Little England’ zealots continue to control the UK’s government, more students will opt for universities in other countries like Australia and Canada. In addition to the financial loss this would create, the UK would also suffer the loss of the cultural contributions these non-UK students bring. The reasons for the Brexit victory are very complex. They include: extraordinarly dishonest propaganda; decline in income and working conditions for many (falsely blamed on the EU) since the 2007/8 crash – whilst bankers continue to prosper; one million people on zero-hours contracts; 3 million tax-paying EU residents in the UK were not allowed vote; and xenophobic nostalgia for the lost British Empire which even a significant number of affluent middle-class foolishly think can be restored. However, I’m reasonably optimistic. Now that negotiations with the EU 27 are beginning, I think the reality that life outside the EU would be suicidal will become increasingly obvious except to a hard-core of right and left-wing fanatics.

I: Who inspires you the most?

My 8 years old granddaughter inspires me the most with her curiosity and liveliness.

I: How often do you travel?

I travel a lot for both work and leisure. I have been to many countries but all above the equator. I like visiting New York for short time periods because it gives me energy. Also, I like the sophisticated engagement with life in France and Italy where I always enjoy their food, culture, language, manners, and so forth.

I: Last question, what are you doing these days except teaching?

I am writing some articles, working on a book proposal, spending time with my family, and looking after my two gardens.

Crossing Culture Study Trip

What a privilege to spend a week with awesome colleagues of MBA class 2016-17 visiting companies and experiencing cultures in Berlin and Prague!

We get to apply all the knowledge learned from books to the real world. Most importantly, we learned the cultural aspect of doing business. A week might seem a bit short but the memory will last of a life time!

Enjoy the a short clip of the trip presented by



Berlin – Prague Study Trip Highlights

1 week, 2 countries, 3 cities, endless fun!

We worked hard and played hard!

Here are some highlights from the trip. Stay tuned. More pictures coming up!

Presented by Untitled-1.jpg


MBA Student Conference 2017

MBA 2016/17 present their Individual Business Projects!