Marketing Through the Looking Glass

The fictional roommates"'Brand integration' and 'immersive' commercial environments" are becoming more commonplace, as the range of media formats and platforms widens and viewers can increasingly avoid commercials, reports Gloria Goodale. This "blurring of story and selling" goes beyond traditional product placement.


Health Warning Labels Make People Want to Smoke

brainstormA three-year, $7 million neuromarketing study done in Oxford, England has found that cigarette health warning labels actually make smokers want to smoke more, not less. Neuromarketing research studies how the brain reacts to various types of marketing stimuli.


US Navy's Elite Force Seals Deal for an Image Upgrade

The U.S. Navy Seals have hired Gallup Consulting on a $500,000 contract, to help the force "develop a new branding and marketing strategy," reports PR Week. Gallup will write a two-year marketing plan for the Seals, including the "development of market segmentation, target candidate profiles, key marketing messages, competitive analysis, and positioning." One of the contract's goals is to increase recruitment. The U.S.


Stealth Marketers Gone Wild: Will the FCC Act?

One of my favorite critiques of our ad-saturated modern world is in "Infinite Jest," the epic novel by recently-departed author and essayist David Foster Wallace. In the novel's not-too-distant future, time itself has become a corporate marketing opportunity. There's the Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar and the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. That's not to mention the Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office, Or Mobile, which is often abbreviated.

Image from a Masterfoods video news releaseThe novel's system of Subsidized Time is hilarious ... and you can almost imagine it really happening. At least corporate-sponsored years wouldn't present the disclosure problems of today's stealth ads -- marketing messages that masquerade as entertainment or news content.

The Center for Media and Democracy believes that all advertising should be as clearly announced as the Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar. That's why we just filed a comment with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is debating how its sponsorship identification rules apply to product placement, product integration and other types of "embedded advertising" relayed over television or radio stations.

In 2003, Commercial Alert urged the FCC to address product placement disclosure. "Advertisers can puff and tout, and use all the many tricks of their trade," the watchdog group wrote (pdf). "But they must not pretend that their ads are something else."

Especially, we would add, when that "something else" is news programming.

PR Driving "Carbon Neutral" Greenwashing

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) is alarmed about the extent of corporate greenwashing. The authority's chief executive, Frank Goodman, explained, "You are not allowed to say your product is good for the environment unless you can prove this.


Polishing Demand for the iPhone

iPhone 3GThere were long lines of people in Poland to buy the new iPhone 3G, just like in the U.S. But in Poland, those lined up were paid actors. The Polish subsidiary of the French firm France Telecom (Orange) admitted that they had staged the popular demand for the new device. "It was a marketing stunt," said Wojciech Jabczynski, the spokesperson for the French company.



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