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commercial_alert.jpgThe non-profit consumer advocacy group Commercial Alert has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate “stealth” or buzz marketing campaigns, where corporate marketing departments and ad agencies enlist ordinary people to talk up products and services to their peers, often without disclosing that they represent a client.
Disclose Affiliation and Compensation
The letter demands that “The Federal Trade Commission should require any and all persons who are paid to engage in such practices to disclose their relationship to the corporation whose products they are pitching, including their compensation.”
In a rebuttal of an inflammatory recent Ad Age story, “Is Buzz Marketing Illegal?” Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, “Word-of-mouth marketing is about honest discussions — even to the point where a consumer can tell a company about a problem enabling the company to respond quickly and honestly at the same time it addresses the problem. … Word of mouth forces companies to be honest because it gives tools to consumers to call out companies for their mistakes. All marketing should be held to the same high standards.”
Does Other Marketing Spin?
Commercial Alert is also targeting Proctor & Gamble, according to Media Buyer Planner.
All other forms of marketing, PR, and advertising never exaggerate, put a spin on an issue or try to change opinions, right? Buzz Marketing is the root of all evil. Got that!?