We The Advertisers

27 01 2011

It’s funny how people often bad mouth advertising, yet we turn around and pay big bucks so we can become walking billboards for Other People’s Brands. Pick your product. Pick your brand. I bet you have quite a few things in your closet, your garage, your backpack, that are emblematic of a killer brand.

A brand that defines who you are.

Now imagine a world in which you suddenly become an accidental advertiser. Yes, we all know that Google and Facebook use incredible engines to place those pesky text ads (Google) and box ads down the right pane (Facebook). Those ads are closely tuned to whatever it is we are seeking (Google), or recurring topics previously established in our Status Updates (Facebook). The two biggest online advertising companies on the web are watching very closely.

But they are watching so closely now that Facebook is launching Sponsored Stories in which you are the star.

Do you remember using the Facebook Places app last night when you checked into Red Robin? The mall? Your favorite bar? Facebook is now turning those check-ins, which were intended to be ways to crowdsource and push promos and rewards in the moment, into a special kind of Status Update that will appear in the ad pane on the right.

More visible, and probably more impactful, than the previous blurbs telling us that so-and-so Likes a certain page, these Sponsored Stories will share our check-in writ large, including whoever we tagged in the process. Oh yeah…and let’s not forget the logo of the company paying for all of this.

It’s kind of like paying money to advertise for someone else, but different from purchasing a shirt with a desirable logo. I go to Red Robin and drop my standard $15-20 for victuals and libation, and then suddenly I am a spokesperson for the brand. Yes, to all of my FB friends. If only this had been around when Jared was busy losing weight. I bet they could have spammed us for a lot less money this way.

I am sure the naysayers will howl in discontent over this one. Insidious? Absolutely. Over the top? Maybe. Clever beyond words? (Insert speechless gasp.)

So from henceforth, whenever we check in so that our adoring fans will know where we are and our infinitely cool tastes, we now have the added cachet of possibly starring in our very own ad. Take that, Jared. Move over, Marie Osmond. I’m buying my way to stardom.Start clicking, everyone. I want their metrics to show what a marketing stud I really am.

Unless, of course, you can do better.

Dr “Tag, You’re It” Gerlich

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