AntiFriday: Special Saturday edition!: Big murketing backlash? Maybe

Posted by Rob Walker on June 28, 2008
Posted Under: Anti,Backlashing,Buying In (the book),Murketing,Uncategorized

[Note: After spending a good deal more time than anticipated stuck in airports and so on last week, I am running late both on AntiFriday, and on responding to recent comments to various posts. Will do that soonest.]

1. WSJ says “Federal regulators are beginning an effort to crack down on stealth advertising in television shows, a move aimed at letting consumers know when companies have paid to use their products as props.” (Via Commercial Alert.) And Ad Age says: “Hollywood’s screenwriters are the latest group to write poison-pen letters to the Federal Communications Commission about Madison Avenue’s use of product integration, which jumped 39% on broadcast TV in the first quarter of 2008, according to Nielsen Product Placement Service.” (Also via Commercial Alert.)

Something people ask me about a lot lately, vis a vis the broad topic of murketing and Buying In, is this very subject: Will there be a backlash/crackdown on the specific practice of commercial persuasion leaking out of the 30-second ads you can zap through if you happen to have a DVR, and into actual shows?

It’s clear that this practice really bugs a lot of people, but up to now my answer has been: I don’t see anything indicating it will slow down. Maybe that’s changing?

Here’s a related Washington Post story. Here’s the official (and generally unimpressed) response from Commercial Alert.

2. Meanwhile, one of the better-known murketing campaigns of the moment is the one pushing Colt 45. The malt liquor brand is owned by Pabst (whose PBR is of course the subject of a chapter in Buying In). The PBR story is largely about a brand picked up by consumers, with the corporate owner amping things after the fact. The Colt 45 thing seems more synthetic, but maybe there was an awakened interest in the malt liquor that I’m not aware of.

In any case, the Colt 45 campaign has been more of a “buzz building” effort, with aggressive stunts meant to have publicity value and talk value. One effort involved indie art on brown paper bags. More recently:

Philly’s “Mural Arts Program” has painted 2,700 murals. But while most of the murals are about life, energy and color, some murals in Fishtown are all about malt liquor, Colt 45. Pabst Beer paid local businesses for some of their wall space. But the city said the quasi-murals are illegal because a permit is needed. NBC 10 called Pabst and they are not commenting on the issue. The city is still trying to see if any local advertising agencies helped them out.

That’s from Phawker. Related posts in AdFreak, and Anti-Advertising Agency.

3. In an interesting development that I guess I totally missed, the British government has apparently considered banning tobacco companies from “using brands and logos on cigarette packaging.” Critiquing this bit of possibly legislative anti-ness, some design/marketing types suggest the strategy is a waste of time.

One says: “An attempt to make cigarettes less desirable may only make them more so, creating a new generic ‘Cigarette’ brand — Minimalist design in a great packaging structure, anti-glam, iconic and slightly cultish.”

Another: “To remove all branding you first have to understand what branding is — which the [government] probably doesn’t. Sure, you can take away the logos, the colours, the visual devices, the pack shape, the copy style. Then you could standardise the card, the foil and the Cellophane. They’d still be branded. The only way to have no branding for cigarettes is to take away the cigarettes.”

Via: UnBeige.

4. Center For Science in the Public Interest:

Anheuser-Busch will remove the caffeine, guarana, and ginseng from its flavored malt beverages Tilt and Bud Extra, and is calling on its competitors in the industry to similarly stop making pre-packaged caffeinated alcohol beverages….

Miller Brewing Co., which markets caffeinated alcoholic drinks under the brand name Sparks, is not a party to the settlement agreements and is increasingly likely to face litigation over the beverages.

5. Book Obsessive Branding Disorder, by Lucas Conley, “skillfully reexamines our buying habits to illustrate the chilling impact of the industry masterminds responsible for capturing our attention and seducing us to buy—at any cost.” Blog is here. Business Week joint review with Buying In is here.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

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