‘The Joneses’ was a forgettable movie but it definitely was a satire on today’s consumerist society. But more importantly it taught me a thing or two about marketing. Heard of the term Stealth marketing? Well I hadn’t before seeing this movie.
Stealth marketing also known as Undercover marketing and Buzz marketing is a form of marketing where the consumers are not aware that they are being sold a product. It means that the personal opinion you are eharing about a product/products is in fact a sales pitch. Didn’t get it? I will give an example. I go to my office and start displaying my new mobile phone to my peers. I talk very highly of all the features and show my extreme satisfaction at the purchase. Some of my colleagues who may be planning to get a new phone will obviously shortlist the one which I have talked so highly of and the chances are very high that they may end up purchasing the same phone. Moreover they may recommend the same to their friends and relatives. This is because when one among your peer group shows his happiness and satisfaction at the purchase of a product it establishes a seal of authority in our minds. But what they don’t know is I am a stealth marketer who is being paid by the mobile phone company to act in the exact same way as I have been doing i.e. boast about the phone. Sony Ericsson used this marketing technique in 2002 and you can read about it more here
On a personal front, I think this is not ethical. It is a breach of trust and promoting the product without the consumer being aware just does not seem right to me.
Your views are welcome.