Stealth social marketing
May 16, 2011 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Stealth social marketing: CBC’s Spark radio show and podcast interviews a social marketer who describes the lengths to which advertisers will go to make you believe the “friends” who mention a product really are your friends. Includes everything from use of regional slang to hiring a stripper. (Bonus points for the segment’s Deep Throat–style concealment of the identity of the source.) Spark blog with Flash audio player; direct MP3 download.

This is exactly the sort of thing explored in one chapter of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad.
posted by joeclark (17 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I love that show.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 1:45 PM on May 16, 2011

So do I.
posted by selenized at 1:56 PM on May 16, 2011

So... this is about the social network version of Harry & Louise, the infamous couple who were fabricated and used in ads against the Clinton health care reform bill.

Advertising has been creating fake people that we are supposed to relate to for decades. That they're doing it now through social media where they can "interact" with each "friend" on an "individual" basis... that's just a logical extension of the phenomenon.

After all, Spuds Mackenzie wasn't really anyone's pet, but he was the pet everyone seemed to want for a while.
posted by hippybear at 2:01 PM on May 16, 2011

Not as much as I love new Triple-Double Oreos!
posted by briank at 2:01 PM on May 16, 2011

Spark is one of my favorite podcasts; highly recommended. [THIS ENDORSMENT IS MADE WITH HONEST, UNPAID ENTHUSIASM]

I absolutely loathe most forms of marketing, especially sneaky ones like hiring people to make fake profiles, videos, etc.. Unfortunately, it can't be fought by trying to force marketers to identify themselves without awful consequences to privacy and freedom of speech. Just like for broadcast formats, a media literate and marketing literate citizenry is the best defense (even if it is a pipe dream). Time to add another tick to the list of extremely important things we don't learn in school.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:03 PM on May 16, 2011

If you have a product that's as delicious as Dr Pepper, you don't need to do these sort of shenanigans!
posted by milkrate at 2:03 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]

(Also: The Joneses is on Netflix streaming now)
posted by milkrate at 2:06 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

"We are what we pretend to buy, so we must be careful what we pretend to buy."

The thought of having this job is profoundly depressing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:38 PM on May 16, 2011

posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM on May 16, 2011

It's under 10 minutes. Listening won't take much more time out of your life than once through Free Bird.

If you happen to create a transcript, I'm sure others might appreciate your link to it.
posted by hippybear at 2:52 PM on May 16, 2011

Listening won't take much more time out of your life than once through Free Bird

But how can I be sure the content itself is not a stealth advertisement nor includes any stealth advertisements? I'm not sure I trust this weird "" site ...

One can never be too sure of one's virtual "friends"!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:14 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I did a short interview for Spark once. We could have done it over the phone, but I totally wanted a tour of the mothership, so Nora invited me in. It was wicked. I met everyone. I managed not to fangirl my head off. That was tricky.

I <3 Spark.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:18 PM on May 16, 2011

Spark is one of my favourite shows to listen to in podcast form. And Nora Young has the best voice of anyone at CBC.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:44 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

"A Visit from the Goon Squad" is a fantastic read and available at all good book stores in your local metropolitan area.
posted by joannemullen at 4:48 PM on May 16, 2011

Because of my membership here and my intermittent pro wrestling work it's not uncommon for me to receive - and approve - friend requests from "randoms." For a while now I've wondered how many of these are marketing sockpuppets...
posted by jtron at 5:28 PM on May 16, 2011

Propaganda by any other name is still propaganda.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:58 PM on May 16, 2011

It's harder to tell the marketers for legitimate products from the fraudsters.
posted by acb at 3:26 AM on May 17, 2011

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