University of Bath School of Management University of Bath School of Management

The Hard Sell: Robert Heath discusses the role of cigarette and alcohol advertising

Robert Heath
Dr Robert Heath

Dr Robert Heath, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Bath School of Management, joined celebrities such as Lord Tim Bell, Sir Alan Parker, Winston Fletcher, John Hegarty and Jilly Goolden, in The Hard Sell, a BBC TV documentary which examined advertising for drinks and cigarettes. 

The programme is part of a series of six, and Dr Heath will also be appearing in programmes on the 11th March and 1st April. 

Dr Heath, author of The Hidden Power of Advertising, discusses the power that advertising has to influence attitudes towards brands like Hamlet and Guinness.  He points out that humorous TV ads like Hamlet reinforce the idea that cigars are in some way less harmful than cigarettes, even though the evidence is that cigars can be just as harmful as cigarettes.

He also argues that epic ads like the Guinness Surfer are in effect like art movies, which flatter viewers into thinking that if they drink Guinness they will be seen as culturally sophisticated.

The programme can be downloaded from BBC iPlayer (for a limited time only).

Notes to Editors
Dr Robert Heath’s research focuses on the role of emotion and attention in advertising. He is a speaker with an international reputation on this subject and his widely-publicised monograph The Hidden Power of Advertising is translated into four languages and on its sixth UK reprint. Recent projects include research which establishes the flaws in current advertising evaluation metrics and a study which provides evidence that it is emotional content not rational content in advertising which drives brand relationships.

Dr Heath is a member of the School’s Centre for Research in Advertising and Consumption (CRiAC) which explores a broad range of consumption practices that constitute consumer culture in both developed and developing economies, and the role of advertising in the development of brands.

The Hard Sell is a BBC 4 series which looks at 50 years of British TV advertising. In this episode, entitled Cigarettes and Alcohol, it examines the quality of the ads that encouraged people to smoke and drink.

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General Notes For Editors:

The University of Bath School of Management has consistently achieved both top research and teaching ratings in the UK's Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) assessments. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the School was ranked 8th in the UK for business and management studies.

We are one of a select number of international business schools accredited by EQUIS, the European Foundation for Management Development's quality inspectorate and the Bath MBA has been accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) since 1976. The School is consistently ranked among the top UK business schools by The Times, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and The Guardian.

The centrality of research to teaching is an essential feature of all our programmes. The School offers a full range of programmes from undergraduate to postgraduate up to PhD level and post-experience programmes including the world-ranked Bath MBA. The School also provides tailored executive development programmes for middle and senior management.

The School of Management has a faculty of around 100 teaching and research staff, including visiting academics, with a support team of around 70 professional staff. Research income averages £2 million per annum. There are approximately 2,100 students in total comprising some 200 MBA students, 480 Master’s students, 210 full- and part-time research students, and over 1100 undergraduates following BSc degrees. The School also runs joint undergraduate programmes with Departments in the Faculties of Engineering and Design, Science and Humanities and Social Sciences.