The selling power of lobbying: the alternative marketing toolkit of a 20th-century British cancer quack

  • Jure Stojan Independent Scholar


Purpose – This paper presents a case study of the marketing strategy of David Rees Evans, a British cancer quack active in the first half of the 20th century and the proprietor of the “Cardigan cancer cure”

Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative historical analysis of archival material and printed primary sources.

Findings – In the first half of the 20th century, Rees Evans practised political lobbying as a marketing tool, that is, as a means of obtaining new customers rather than achieving his purported political aims. His customers issued repeated calls for official inquiries into the effectiveness of the “Cardigan cancer cure”.  However, Rees Evans probaby never intended to get State recognition since he ensured that the inquiries failed or that their proceeding remained hidden from public. This lobbying generated free publicity through public debate and appealed to consumers entertaining radical views.

Research limitation/implications – The paper offers a marketing-based conceptualization of cancer quackery. It provides a new interpretation of its historical development and expands the literature on the relationship between lobbying and marketing.


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