I've always been interested in hearing/reading about marketing and advertising - mostly because I know that marketers/advertisers set out to
manipulate consumers of their media into buying products, services, and what have you. I'm not under the delusion that I'm immune to
advertising/marketing, but I'd at least like to participate in my own manipulation... However, it used to be that we (the media-consuming public) at
when we were being marketed to.
Not so anymore. With the increased use of computers and the internet as a means not only of exchanging information but also as a form of
entertainment, advertisers have had to become more "creative" in the way they market their products/services. One increasingly common way of doing
this is via so-called viral marketing
- marketing which seeks to take advantage of existing
social networks (physical gathering places as well online gathering places, like ATS, Slashdot, etc.) and sometimes masquerades as anything but
advertising - it could be a person you meet who raves about a new product or a post in an online forum which encourages interest in a new movie.
We've already seen this issue crop up on ATS with things like the Coast to Coast "drone" video, which was pegged as a viral video for everything
from the latest offering in the Halo franchise
to an attempt to
increase interest in the new Transformers movie
Some viral campaigns are relatively harmless, obviously meant for entertainment, and are clearly marketing. Some of the best examples out there of
this sort of viral campaign are the Blendtec Blender "Will it Blend?"
adds, which are hosted at the linked
site but also pop up on YouTube and elsewhere on the web. There are pretty harmless and fun, and I think they're pretty effective, too - I like the
episodes especially, and the next time I'm in the market for
a blender I'll definitely give the Blendtec variety a serious thought on the basis of these ads alone.
But what about advertising which isn't so obvious - or as relatively harmless - as this? The FTC has received
complaints (PDF Warning!
of this sort of marketing being used
to advertise alcohol and drugs to children, among other complaints.
My question to you all is this: What can we do to maintain vigilance (as it were) as critical consumers of advertising when you never know whether or
not you are being marketed to at a given moment? Cosmic thoughts?