SFU study wins “Best Case Study Award” at Academy of Marketing Conference

Aug 17, 2011

Adam MillsA case study from SFU’s Beedie of Business, focused on the long-term business viability of a colourful Twitter success story, has been awarded a top prize at one of Europe’s most noteworthy marketing academic events.

The case study entitled “Marketing S#*t My Dad Says” – authored by Beedie School of Business marketing professor Leyland Pitt, Beedie PhD student Adam Mills, and Phuong Nguyen, Jia-Rong Wu and Aschwin van Alphen-Sato of the Rotterdam School of Management, won the Best Case Study award at the 2011 annual Academy of Marketing Conference at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom this past July.

This is the fourth year in a row that a case study from Simon Fraser University has won the award. The Academy of Marketing conference is the signature marketing conference in the UK each year and is attended by more than 500 marketing scholars from around the world.

The unique case study places students in the role of Justin Halpern, creator of the colourful if occasionally controversial “$#*! My Dad Says” brand. “$#*! My Dad Says” is well-known in social media and increasingly pop culture circles as a hobby Twitter site to share short, funny quotations from Halpern’s strongly opinioned father.

The rapid growth in popularity of his website content ultimately resulted in attention from mass media, and Halpern capitalized on opportunities to begin monetizing his content via book deals and television syndication. These included a book with the same name that topped the New York Times bestseller list for several months in 2010, and a well-publicized television sitcom featuring actor William Shatner.

Halpern is one of the first individuals to achieve millionaire-status by using Twitter effectively to disseminate content.

The “dilemma” in the SFU case study has Halpern wondering whether Twitter had merely been a platform to launch the “$#*! My Dad Says” brand or if it should remain the integral component of content delivery, and how his fan base would react to the changes in his business and creative content. He wonders too whether “$#*! My Dad Says” can really stand the test of time. Was it a viable brand from which he could sustain a long-term business, or was it simply a once-in-a-lifetime “Cinderella story” and an opportunity to enjoy five minutes of fame and fortune before moving onto the next project?

SFU author Adam Mills, who is completing his PhD in marketing at the Beedie School of Business, has been invited to publish the case in the The Marketing Review, an editorially reviewed journal that seeks to bridge the knowledge gap between the esoteric theorizing of academic publication and the more narrative approach of trade publication and journalism.

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