Dr. Andre Maciel, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business, received the Sidney J. Levy Award presented annually in honor of one of the founding fathers of consumer culture theory. Maciel earned the recognition from his article, “Taste Engineering: A Consumer Model of Cultural Competence Constitution,” published in the Journal of Consumer Research,
a top-ranked marketing journal.
Maciel’s research examined the emergence of the craft beer industry and in particular, how the refinement of consumer taste drives growth in the marketplace. He spent two years working with co-author Melanie Wallendorf, participating in craft beer clubs, attending craft beer festivals and competitions, in addition to interviewing consumers of craft beer.
“The only segment of the beer market showing growth is craft beer,” said Maciel. “Until about ten years ago, most people exclusively drank mass marketed American lager beer. Today there are a range of styles with quite different tastes and experiences offered to consumers. We looked at how consumers move from one style to another in a qualitative way to examine how people acquire new tastes.”
He received the award at a presentation in Anaheim, California, July 11. Maciel believes the award is significant given the stature of the man for whom the award is named.
“Sidney J. Levy is one of the most influential marketing researchers of all times. Among other things, Sidney developed the idea of brand image and initiated a lineage of works on culture within marketing, which until the 1960s was dominated primarily by economic theories. The award is given to the best dissertation-based article published in my main research area, consumer culture. So, it is a major recognition of the work of a young scholar in this research area,” he said.
The selection jury for the award noted Maciel’s research “stands as an exceptionally well-crafted piece that is able to bring strong theorization into the data analysis and make a significant contribution to the extant literature.”
The article highlights consumer behavior for acquiring new taste in the craft beer market, but may also be a gateway into how other marketplaces grow. Maciel believes his article is a first step toward finding out how consumers move from one product style to another.
“Other product examples of heightening the importance of aesthetics in the marketplace include olive oil, wine, cheese and coffee,” he said. “Hopefully this research will illuminate other markets and help us understand how people learn to appreciate new tastes.”
Maciel joined the College of Business in fall 2016. His current research project analyzes how organizations can create markets aligned with consumer’s intentions to become taste experts.