The subservient pimp... NOT!!!
March 26, 2005 1:15 AM   Subscribe

Remember this? It has won recognition as "Best Interactive Viral" in the Viral Awards. With all the viral1 and stealth2 marketing campaigns, comment spam, astroturfing3, and other tools that marketeers are using to infiltrate the Brave New(ish) World of blog, we sometimes forget that we also have the power to do good, so "you know, like, reclaim the streets, or re-frame the conversation, or some damn thing". Words of wisdom from our not-so-subservient chicken. [and, a bit more...]
posted by taz (20 comments total)
Online Media Daily reports that bloggers and their readers "fall into that critical demographic for advertisers known as 'influentials'" (yes! I'm talking about you, gentle reader), so while marketing professionals are scrambling to find ways to get into your pants on behalf of all the major corporations, it may be worthwhile to remember that you're the one who controls the zipper, and instead of linking that cute Mazda or BK video, fasten your belt, readjust your suspenders, and take control of your own buzz.
posted by taz at 1:15 AM on March 26, 2005

Oooh, I like the footnotes to Wikipedia entries. Good style.
posted by painquale at 1:29 AM on March 26, 2005

yeah and the other thing about them is that nobody has to make the first post so then before you know it you have a pretty good conversation...going...
posted by radiosig at 3:52 AM on March 26, 2005

If I had a blog I would not want to be a viral pawn.

It reminds me of a discussion at school once regarding advertising. The teacher was seemed to be getting the reactions she wanted; if I am hungry and I see an advert for a chocolate bar it makes me want to buy one, if the advert is funny or catchy it stays in my head and makes me want to buy the advertised product etc.
I suggested that if a company had the money to waste spend on advertising then they obviously didn't need any more and that I couldn't think of any time that an advert had effected my buying patterns since I hit puberty. The teacher's reaction was quite dismissive, not leading me to develop a deep sense of respect for them. It was as if the dismissal of advertising as a paid for opportunity to lie to the customer were a new concept to her.
As people have become enured to the claims of advertisers to some extent, these new avenues to customer exploitation become more important to accessing those hard to reach customers. /repeating wikipedia info
posted by asok at 4:26 AM on March 26, 2005

That bartender is..uh.. interesting.
posted by flippant at 5:03 AM on March 26, 2005

"...we sometimes forget that we also have the power to do good, so "you know, like, reclaim the streets, or re-frame the conversation, or some damn thing". "

Hey Kemosabe, who's that "us" ?

I, for one, haven't forgotten about Dan Gillmor's chunk 'o change.
posted by troutfishing at 6:29 AM on March 26, 2005

More virals on metafilter: Subservient Chicken, by CP&B, named most infectious viral campaign by adweek, Trojan Games by the Viral Factory winner of the viral awards, Brandweeks viral award and a Cannes Lion, Bad Day part 2 by GoViral in Denmark, pimp my burger by some agency in Germany, Institute of Backup Trauma and games like that sink ya drink by preloaded who sold off the emails they gathered with it to spammers (naturally).

Online virals are as old as Mahir, even here on Metafilter, remember rubberburner and the later post that revealed it was an ad?

I do agree with Taz, control your own buzz. I don't post every viral ad that I see, even though I have a an advertising blog that talks only of ads, because quite frankly some are just too crap to even waste a link on. ;)

I used to really fancy everything Brody did but that viral awards site is not his best work.

There are networks for marketers in the business of viral, buzz and wom, VBMA is the worldwide one and then there is US based WOMMA. The latter has tried to make a draft of ethics guidelines for all these marketing disciplines (worldwide), open for comments (that people complained never got published), which was attacked by consumer groups like NIMF (The National Institute on Media and the Family) because the guidelines didn't prohibit the use of tweens or teens in WOM/Buzz marketing campaigns.
posted by dabitch at 6:33 AM on March 26, 2005

(cool, I didn't know that Dong Resin had a book!)
posted by dabitch at 8:13 AM on March 26, 2005

The teacher's dismissal, asok, was probably more to do with your fantasy that advertising hasn't affected your purchasing decisions. Typical teenager attitude, seems to me: "Oh, I'm all so smart and knowledgable, I've got this advertising thing worked out so much that they can't affect me any more!" Shya, riiiiight.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:49 AM on March 26, 2005

Advertising is more than ads. If you have never noticed the brand name on an article of clothing, whether or not it is "in fashion" in any sense, or whether or not it "clashes" with your other clothes, then you have successfully dodged the advertisers' attempts to program you.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:59 AM on March 26, 2005

All hail stavrosthewonderchicken!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 11:08 AM on March 26, 2005

Well, like all other aspects of marketing, some methods of "viral advertising" are more effective (and less evil) than others.

On the other hand, do you think whatever viral ad agency Viacom employed in it's Ashleeturfing spam campaign was satisfied with the results? Has anyone ever demonstrated that this type of advertising is actually effective?
posted by jca at 11:41 AM on March 26, 2005

as much as I hate viral marketing ... even though I've been duped into spreading it on the front page of metafilter... I can safely say that they don't work on me. I'm no more likely to eat a chicken sandwich from that fast food place, or purchase a particular brand of condoms over another simply because I saw some clever little flash commercial on the web.

I sort of wonder about the people who are influenced by them, though. I think maybe we should remove their feeding tubes.
posted by crunchland at 12:12 PM on March 26, 2005

At least, they don't work on you consciously, crunchland. I don't think advertising's usually meant to work like that. Who knows what little levers are being tipped in your brain?
posted by painquale at 12:17 PM on March 26, 2005

I used to be all paranoid about advertising affecting my purchashing decisions without my knowing. I was seriously insecure and doubted myself for a long time, basically until I had collected enough data on myself (read: made enough purchases I could remember) to realize that no, I knew exactly when advertising had led me to a purchase: very rarely, and when it had there was no knee-jerk buying involved, I still made the same reasoned decisions/comparisons I always did. Of course, I still keep an eye on myself. IPod almost had me there, but then I realized I *never* listen to music in public, not even when I owned a Walkman and a Discman (read: 1992).

Thereafter I came to the conclusion that for the group of people who are like me in this way, advertisers still get bang for their buck when they advertise, because they put their brand out there and simply announce themselves as an option. No company worth their salt relies completely on advertising -- they just want you to look at them so they can be included in your decision process, which they then attempt to win by making their product or service be or seem good. I reject advertisers who invade what I consider to be inviolable places (besides my phone, fax, and inbox, remember Space Marketing?) and don't include them in a product assessment even if they otherwise have the best product.
posted by sninky-chan at 3:35 PM on March 26, 2005

smile crunchland, even if you were duped we can't blame ya, it was a pretty good game, I posted it at both and Would have posted it here myself but feared the pepsi-blue backlash, after all I knew it was a viral.

Like snicky-chan I try my darndest to avoid those advertisers who employ ad creep. I deiced not to stick to my Ericsson phone preference after the SonyEricsson camera phone was advertised by the help of viral teams who chatted tourists up at photo-op spots (say, Empire state Building) with the common qustion "Could you take a picture of me and the view?". When the helpful person said yes, they showed them how to take a picture with the phone. Clever advertising, but too creepy for me, sortof like SPAM in real life. Paid advertising space is already creeping into be nearly everywhere, unpaid space is being used by companies who have big pockets, such as flyposters and stickers and even street art like grafitti. Big music corps like EMI & Sony fly postered (on public, not advertising media places) all over Camden letting the taxpayers foot the bill for the removal of the posters. Things like that really tick me off.

Advertising isn't ment to work like an instant hypnotism, you see ad, you rush out to get X. Instead the fact that they clutter your brain with brand names and product advantages might shape suspectable brain circuits involved in descicion making. Some say. Little levers indeed.

Apparantly what I do for a living is: "I tickle people's dorsal striatum into wanting more fast food with the stringy cheese-shot." Oh yeah.

While ads and neuroscience is a bit like tea-leaf reading right ow, if interested have a look at these articles:
Searching for the Why of Buy "Moreover, researchers suspect that the inescapable influence of marketing does more than change minds. It may alter the brain.", Seattletimes "You know you want it, or do you? Marketing and the brain", "Madison Avenue and your brain".

Hmmm.. Oh dear I'm rambling on. Well, back to reclaiming the blog-space. Is that what sylloge was doing with the Kottke post?
posted by dabitch at 8:21 AM on March 27, 2005

According to Ad-Week, the company that sponsored that silly chicken flash claimed their sales in chicken sandwiches climbed 9% per week after the ad campaign started, though one of their store managers remained dubious about the effect.

Like I said, I know that playing with an online flash game and making a product purchase are two things completely divorced from each other for me. While I may be more aware of the product afterwards, I can't say that I'm more likely to buy it because of it. If I am in the store, and have the option of buying two relatively identical products of different brands, I'm probably more likely to purchase one instead of the other based on past experience, or on price, but I'm sure as hell not going to buy something because the name was plastered in a flash game online.

But, then again, I fall completely outside the target demographic for these ads. They're aimed at consumers half my age, and maybe that makes the difference.

I do know I am more likely to buy a product if an endorsement comes from someone I've come to trust on line... And that's where the subtle shilling on metafilter and other weblogs is most insidious. It's this sort of thing that perturbs me with pepsibluisms.
posted by crunchland at 11:41 PM on March 27, 2005

Aye, crunchland, someone that you trust who turns into a bzz agent shilling all sorts of things could damage trust (for anyone) for years, if not outright kill it and up our cynicism one more notch.

Or if someone is a bzz agent, signs up for metafilter and plays good member in askme, but every answer they give is the brand of one of their clients. Loverly.

I actually did become a brand-fan of something thanks to another mefiosos comment here, widdershins recommended a top, I tried it out and I liked it and now I catch myself recommending the same store to other girls. I've been made a brand ambassador for this company who only offered something as basic as decent pricing, quick delivery, courteous phone people and most important great products in my size. See that latter part has been hard to find in ordinary shops. Whenever I catch myself letting another girl of similar stature know about them, I feel a little dirty. ;)
posted by dabitch at 1:20 AM on March 28, 2005

Stay well away from the Tink book, DaBitch, it's bloody awful.
posted by dong_resin at 2:58 AM on March 28, 2005

Are you trying the reverse psychology marketing tactic? 'Cause it's working! ;P
posted by dabitch at 5:02 AM on March 28, 2005

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