Branding Shakespeare
in Cultural value in twenty-first-century England
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The Shakespeare brand' has offered scholars, as well as marketers, a compelling language with which to try to explain Shakespeare's value in the twenty-first century. This chapter argues that commercial organisations do not simply borrow value from Shakespeare and trade profitably on his name, but also 'co-produce' new kinds of meaning and value for Shakespeare in the market. It shows how organisations have generated, to their own benefit, the powerful impression of a Shakespeare brand, downplaying to a certain extent their own identity in order to work in the name of Shakespeare. The chapter also argues that the Shakespeare brand is an impression retrospectively constructed by the organisations that appropriate and deploy Shakespeare's name for their own purposes. The twenty-first-century 'destination marketing' of Stratford-upon-Avon and its locale provides an excellent example of how the impression of a Shakespeare brand continues to be constructed and deployed to market very different products.


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