Research Seminar: Denise Sutton

Thr age of romance, Hazeltine Neutrodyne advertisement

Research Seminar: Denise Sutton

Marketing Love: The Global Expansion of Romance Publishing Companies Mills & Boon and Harlequin Enterprises, 1930-1990

Location: Copeland Room, Hagley Library.

Time: 6:00pm (light reception), 6:30pm (seminar).

When Harlequin Enterprises acquired British publisher Mills & Boon in 1972, the merged firm became the world’s dominant publisher of popular romance novels. Little is known, however, about the role that innovative marketing strategies played in the growth of these two romance publishing companies, especially their use of product sampling, direct mail, and product standardization. Through research in the Mills & Boon company archive at the University of Reading, as well as an analysis of company histories, trade publications, and marketing techniques, this study reveals how Harlequin and Mills & Boon took a different approach to product promotion than traditional publishers. Their innovation was to incorporate consumer goods marketing strategies that were familiar to other industries, and that redefined standard practices of the book publishers.

Denise Sutton

Denise H. Sutton, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Business at City Tech-CUNY. She is the author of Globalizing Ideal Beauty: Women, Advertising, and the Power of Marketing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, 2012). An expert on advertising beauty, Sutton has lectured widely on the subject at universities and at corporations such as Unilever and Firmenich. She developed and taught courses on advertising and gender at the New School University, New York City, and lectures at the Fashion Institute of Technology—SUNY.



Regina Lee Blaszczyk of the University of Leeds will provide introductory comments.

Attendees are encouraged to read Sutton's paper, “Marketing Love: The Global Expansion of Romance Publishing Companies Mills & Boon and Harlequin Enterprises, 1930-1990,” which may be obtained by contacting Carol Lockman at


Free, reply requested, call (302) 658-2400, ext. 243, or email Carol Lockman at

Image: The age of romance, 1924, AVDJOPN2014_garod-romance-rh-3-24-1, John Okolowicz collection of publications and advertising on radio and consumer electronics (Accession 2014.277), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum & Library, Wilmington, DE 19807