Morris Hite Center

The Morris Hite Center for Product Development and Marketing Research was established in 1984 to honor marketing pioneer and visionary, Morris Hite. The center supports research and educational programs related to new products and the management of established products.

Marketing is the key to new product success. Whether a company is in a dynamic, high-technology industry, an industry reshaped by deregulation or an industry faced with increased competition, it must first understand customer needs. Yet a gap often exists between a company’s engineering and R&D skills and its marketing capability. To help close this gap, the center carries out activities aimed at coordinating the functions of technology and marketing.

“There is no such thing as national advertising. All advertising is local and personal. It’s one man or woman reading one newspaper in the kitchen or watching TV in the den.” — Morris Hite

  • Connect with the Director
  • Center Objectives
  • About Morris Hite
  • Famous Ad Campaigns
  • Seminar Series

Connect with the Director

The Morris Hite Center was set up to encourage research in marketing science and product development. Some exciting research being done by scholars at the center include:

  1. Understand how firms should respond to online reviews
  2. Understand the effectiveness of traditional and online banner advertising
  3. How to manage online auctions
  4. Understand consumer search in offline and online purchases
  5. Understand customer lifetime value and risk using credit card data
  6. Understand pricing and promotions strategies using grocery scanner data, category management
  7. Marketing strategies in a competitive environment
B.P.S. Murthi, PhD Director, Morris Hite Center for Product Development and Marketing Research

Center Objectives

Product Development and Marketing Science

The Morris Hite Center was set up to encourage research in marketing science and product development. Areas of research include topics in internet marketing and customer relationship management as well as product creation and sales forecasting.

Core Objectives

  • To advance marketing science using quantitative techniques in order to find effective strategies and tools for marketing decision making
  • To create a dynamic learning environment for faculty and doctoral students
  • To disseminate research results to industry representatives, students and other researchers

Principal Activities

  • Support research of faculty and doctoral students consistent with the above objectives
  • Conduct conferences to encourage researchers nationwide to discuss and deliberate on the latest techniques
  • Teach seminars to doctoral students to train them in research methods needed to conduct research
  • Teach executives and graduate students using the latest research


Morris Hite Center sponsors the annual Frontiers of Research in Marketing Science academic conference. Researchers from major universities present their latest findings in the field.

About Morris Hite

Morris Hite

Morris Hite was born in Oklahoma in 1910. His grandparents taught him to work hard and value both formal and informal education. Even as a youth, Hite was a motivated and talented salesman, selling his family’s milk and home-grown fruit door to door. He left home at 15 to work as a cartoonist in a work-study program sponsored by Eugene Arnett. During this period he studied issues of Printer’s Ink magazine and decided he wanted a career in advertising.

In 1927, he landed his first job in advertising and promotions: He became a movie promoter with Griffith Amusement. He sold tickets, passed out handbills, collected merchandise to be given away and even arranged a publicity stunt or two. From this beginning, he worked for several other advertising agencies until starting his own agency at age 19.

Hite moved to Dallas and joined the Tracy-Locke-Dawson agency in 1937. He brought in new clients and helped existing clients grow their businesses. By the early 1940s, Hite had earned the No. 2 spot in the Dallas office. In 1942, he left to serve his country.

After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, Hite rejoined Tracy-Locke. Wartime economic had weakened the agency, so his first priority was to reestablish relationships with his former clients. Hite also brought new business to the company and was named Tracy-Locke’s president when Ray Locke retired in 1950.

Innovations in Marketing

Morris Hite

Hite held strong opinions about the best way to serve his clients. He wanted his account executives to understand every aspect of the client’s business. While not common for the time, Hite believed his account executives should conduct research on the client’s business, products, consumer opinions and the effectiveness of the advertising and sales techniques used. He insisted his people develop strong relationships with their clients, including designing a marketing plan for clients that gave them guidance on their strengths and weaknesses as well as ways to increase their business.

Hite was on the forefront of new data collection methods in the Southwest. Long before polls, surveys and focus group studies became popular, he believed in seeking consumer opinions directly. He developed a test called “How Much How Good” that his firm used to determine if their advertising was effective. The test asked consumers if they purchased the client’s product, if they had seen the advertising, and if so, what they remembered about the product. Similar techniques are used today.

Hite founded M/A/R/C Research to provide research and data analysis services to other advertising agencies. He was among the first to use telephone survey data, and M/A/R/C analysts demonstrated it was comparable to door-to-door survey data.

Community Service

As Tracy-Locke grew, Hite devoted more time to community service. He was invited to join the Dallas Citizens Council. As president of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, he worked on two successful bond elections, helping the city raise funds for capital improvements to the convention center and gaining approval for the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. He organized a job fair which helped more than 3000 youth find summer jobs. He was instrumental in combining the Dallas and Fort Worth Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas into one. He worked with other leaders in petitioning the state Legislature to establish The University of Texas at Dallas. He also supported the fledging KERA public television station, personally paying for lunches to help Dallas businessmen learn about the station.


  • Linz Award, 1969, honoring him as the Dallas County resident who provided the greatest benefit to the community without receiving any monetary compensation for the effort
  • Silver Medal For Distinguished Service, 1969, Dallas Advertising League
  • Marketing Man of the Year, 1967, North Texas chapter of the American Marketing Association

“It doesn’t take a creative genius to develop sales and advertising ideas. It’s simply a matter of learning to work at it.” — Morris Hite

Famous Ad Campaigns

Morris Hite constantly searched for the “big idea” that would effectively advertise his clients’ products. His clients included:

Imperial Sugar

Imperial Sugar

One of Hite’s favorite clients was the Imperial Sugar Company. Imperial Sugar, based in Sugar Land, was refined from locally grown sugarcane. During World War II, the U.S. government established regulations that gave Imperial Sugar an almost exclusive right to distribute sugar in Texas. Following the war, Hite worked with the company to continue its strong market presence. Imperial’s advertising emphasized the sugar’s purity. The agency created a cookbook that consumers could order by sending in the “Pure Cane Sugar” tag found on each bag. They advertised heavily in print and on the radio, sponsoring a popular radio program which featured The Stamps-Baxter Quartet.

Borden Milk

Hite learned the Borden Milk business from the ground up. He arose at dawn to ride on a milk delivery route, even learning to load the truck. He asked shoppers why they purchased Borden Milk and then used their answers to develop Borden’s advertising campaign. In one of the more memorable campaigns, Hite promoted Borden buttermilk as a post-holiday hangover cure. The ads, which ran in December and early January, featured the slogan “Bounce Back with Buttermilk” and included a hangover sympathy card to be sent to friends along with a jug of Borden buttermilk.

Haggar Slacks

Hite effectively used television and celebrity endorsements for Haggar slacks. One memorable television spot showed Haggar’s Forever-Prest slacks being crumpled and wadded up and then crushed by a steam roller. The pants were then held up and shown to be wrinkle free. The ad was so effective that within 24 hours after its first run Gimbels department store sold its entire inventory of Haggar slacks and demanded a rush shipment. Hite also arranged celebrity endorsements from Mickey Mantle and Roger Staubach.

Mrs. Baird’s Bread

Mrs. Baird's Bread

Mrs. Baird’s Bread was a long-standing client. Ninnie Baird began selling her bread to support her family after her husband’s death in 1912. Hite effectively used the Baird family’s story to market the bread. Some of his more famous slogans were “Stays fresh longer” and “From the Baird family to you.” Mrs. Baird’s Bread still emphasizes the bread’s freshness and the company’s family heritage as they celebrate 100 years in business.

Maryland Club Coffee

Maryland Club Coffee

Maryland Club Coffee, an upscale product of the Duncan Coffee Company, benefited by Hite’s creative approach. Although the product cost more per pound than any of its competitors, Hite convinced consumers it actually cost less than other brands since its richness meant less coffee was needed to make each cup. Hite’s slogan, “The coffee you’d drink if you owned all the coffee in the world,” was featured in ads showing Dallas socialites drinking Maryland Club Coffee.

Seminar Series

Sponsored Speakers

Past speakers sponsored by the center include:

  • David Carstens, trademark attorney at Carstens and Calhoun
  • Beth Lahie, regional VP, enterprise sales for Starlite Technology
  • Sonja Corbin, social networking marketing consultant
Spring 2015
Date Guest Lecturer/Presentation Title
3/6/2015 Matt Taddy (University of Chicago)
3/13/2015 Puneet Manchanda (University of Michigan)
4/8/2015 Elie Ofek (Harvard)
4/3/2015 Sanjay Jain (Texas A&M University)
4/24/2015 Praveen Kopalle (Dartmouth)
4/17/2015 Qiaowei Shen (Wharton)
5/1/2015 Sherif Nasser (Washington University St Louis)
4/14/2015 Wendy Moe (Emory University)
5/8/2015 Catherine Tucker (MIT)
Fall 2014
Date Guest Lecturer/Presentation Title
9/2/2014 Kalyan Raman (Northwestern University)
9/16/2014 Geoff Pofahl (Revtronics)
10/26/2014 Werner Reinartz (University of Cologne)
10/28/2014 Jeff Inman (University of Pittsburg)
10/22/2014 Zsolt Katona (UC Berkeley)
Spring 2014
Date Guest Lecturer/Presentation Title
1/31/2014 Anindya Ghouse (NYU)
3/14/2014 Gunter Hitsch (University of Chicago)
3/28/2014 Jinhong Xie (Universiity of Florida)
4/30/2014 Ganesh Iyer (UC Berkeley)
Spring 2013
Date Guest Lecturer/Presentation Title
02/08/2013 Andrew Ching (University of Toronto)
Quantifying the Impacts of Limited Supply: The Case of Nursing Homes
03/22/2013 Pradeep Chintagunta (University of Chicago)
Presentation To Be Announced
04/05/2013 Gerry Tellis (University of Southern California)
Presentation To Be Announced
04/12/2013 Tat Chan (Washington University)
Presentation To Be Announced
04/19/2013 JF Houde (Wharton)
Presentation To Be Announced
05/03/2013 Ali Hortacsu (University of Chicago)
Price negotiation in differentiated products markets: The case of insured mortgages in Canada.
Fall 2012
Date Guest Lecturer/Presentation Title
Kangkang Wang (Washington University in St. Louis)
The Bright Side of Loss Aversion
Paulo Albuquerque (University of Rochester)
The Impact of Innovation on Product Usage: A Dynamic Model with Progression in Content Consumption
Raphael Thomadsen (UCLA)
The Impact of Switching Stores on State Dependence in Brand Choice
Michael Trusov (University of Maryland)
Zooming in on Paid Search Ads—A Consumer-Level Model Calibrated on Aggregated Data
Spring 2012
Date Guest Lecturer/Presentation Title
Christophe Van den Bulte (University of Pennsylvania)
Non-Monotonic Status Effects in New Product Adoption: Theory and evidence of Middle-Status Anxiety and Middle-Status Conformity.
Paul B. Ellickson (University of Rochester)
Estimating Network Economies in Retail Chains: A Revealed Preference Approach
Przemyslaw Jeziorski (UC Berkeley)
What Makes them Click: Empirical Analysis of Consumer Demand for Search Advertising
Sridhar Naryanan (Stanford University Graduate School of Business)
Bayesian Estimation of Discrete Games of Complete Information
Oded Netzer (Columbia University)
Dynamic Targeted Pricing in B2B Settings
Navdeep Sahni (Chicago Booth School of Business)
Effect of Temporal Spacing between Advertising Exposures: Evidence from an Online Field Experiment