Morris Hite Center

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

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

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.

UTD Frank M. Bass FORMS Conference
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

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.

Sponsored Speakers

Fall 2019
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
9/20/2019 Omid Rafieian (U. Washington)
9/24/2019 Yewon Kim (U. Chicago)
10/1/2019 Tommaso Bondi (New York University)
10/4/2019 Tongil Kim (Emory)
10/15/2019 Mathew McGranaghan (Cornell)
10/18/2019 Xin Chen (U.C. Berkeley)
10/22/2019 Sungjin Kim (Cornell)
10/25/2019 Samir Mamadehussene (Catolica Lisbon)
10/29/2019 Woo Hyun Choi (Columbia)
Spring 2019
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
1/25/2019 Koen Pauwels (Northeastern)
3/8/2019 Baojun Jiang (WashU St Louis)
3/29/2019 S. Sriram (Michigan)
4/9/2019 Xiao Liu (NYU)
4/19/2019 Mengze Shi (Toronto)
Fall 2018
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
11/30/2018 Rajdeep Grewal (UNC)
Spring 2018
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
2/9/2018 Matt Shum (CalTech)
2/16/2018 Eric Schwartz (U. Michigan)
4/6/2018 Anthony Dukes (USC)
4/10/2018 Oded Netzer (Columbia)
4/13/2018 Sachin Gupta (Cornell)
4/20/2018 Yong Liu (U. Arizona)
4/27/2018 Jiwoong Shin (Yale)
5/4/2018 Tanjim Hossain (U. Toronto)
Fall 2017
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
9/8/2017 Amir Fazli (U. Washington)
9/19/2017 Stelios Despotakis (Carnegie Mellon)
9/22/2017 Ning Zhong (Emory)
9/29/2017 Andrey Fradkin (MIT)
10/6/2017 Shervin Tehranhi (U. Toronto)
10/10/2017 Xu Zhang (U. Michigan)
10/13/2017 Xinyu Cao (MIT)
10/20/2017 Joonhwi Joo (U. Chicago)
10/27/2017 Jialie Chen (Cornell)
Spring 2017
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
3/9/2017 Jian Ni (John Hopkins)
3/30/2017 Vineet Kumar (Yale)
4/13/2017 Monic Sun (Boston University)
4/27/2017 Young-Hoon Park (Cornell University)
Fall 2016
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
9/12/2016 Garrett Johnson (Northwestern University)
9/19/2016 Prasad Vana (London Business School)
9/22/2016 Zachary Zhong (UC Berkeley)
9/29/2016 Kristina Brecko (Stanford)
10/3/2016 Navid Mojir (Yale)
10/3/2016 Liye Ma (University of Maryland)
10/6/2016 Khai Chiong (Cal-Tech)
10/10/2016 Wreetabrata Ka (Purdue)
10/13/2016 Zibin Xu (USC)
10/27/2016 Wayne Taylor (UCLA)
11/4/2016 Yitian Liang (Univ. of British Columbia)
11/10/2016 Zhuping Liu (UT Ausin)
11/17/2016 Adam Smith (Ohio State University)
Spring 2016
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
2/19/2016 Sudhir Karunakaran (Yale)
3/25/2016 Yi Zhu (University of Minnesota)
4/1/2016 Baojun Jiang (Washington University in St. Louis)
4/8/2016 Baohong Sun (Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business)
4/25/2016 Tansev Geylani (University of Pittsburgh)
4/29/2016 Doug Chung (Harvard)
Fall 2015
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
9/20/2015 Sanjay Jain (Texas A & M)
9/25/2015 Anna Tuchman (Stanford)
10/2/2015 Robert Waiser (University of Toronto)
10/16/2015 Pavel Kireyev (Harvard)
10/23/2015 Raluca Ursu (University of Chicago)
10/28/2015 Dinesh Puranam (Cornell University)
11/6/2015 Michael Palazzolo (University of Michigan)
11/13/2015 Lingling Zhang (Harvard)
12/4/2015 Ahmed Khwaja (Yale)
Spring 2015
Date Speaker/University Affiliation
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)

Morris Hite Center is proud to sponsor the annual Frank M. Bass Frontiers of Research in Marketing Science (Bass FORMS) conference every year in February-March. Over 100 top researchers from all over the world gather to present their latest research over a three-day period. The conference starts on Thursday afternoon and ends on Saturday after lunch.

This year we had the Fourteenth annual Bass FORMS conference from Feb 27- 29, 2020. The keynote speaker this year was Professor Puneet Manchanda, Isadore and Leon Winkelman Professor of Marketing at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. Twenty four papers were presented over the three day period.

UTD Frank M. Bass FORMS Conference