We’ve all been overloaded with inordinate advertisements everyday through innumerable media including television, emails, radio, text messages, phone calls, newspapers, books etc. Stealth marketing or Under cover marketing or Buzz marketing is a technique where the customers will not know that they are being marketed to a product/ service.
Though many people consider stealth marketing deceptive and unethical, several experts believe that stealth marketing is a very effective marketing tool and if framed or manipulated in an innocuous manner, it will not be categorized as unethical.
Stealth marketing has many forms out of which some of it is acceptable by consumers.
Showing or referring to a particular product in movies or television come under product placement. A subtle way of promoting a particular brand using the help of mass media gets the product known to a large number of people. It helps create brand awareness.
Here are some examples
- A computer manufacturing company pays a film producing company to get their laptops with the logo featured during a very short part of their movie.
- A company pays a radio channel to tell the company’s tag line a number of times during a show very subtly.
- A fast food company pays the film producer to show on screen the actors enjoying the food with the company logo or at their fast food outlet.
To avoid the unethical circumstances, when a movie is reviewed and a brand appears by mistake on screen the editorial board ensures to either blur the logo/name of the brand or censor it somehow.
This technique uses people agents who seem to be just going ahead with their daily lives, but are actually paid workers promoting a business product.
Here are some examples
- Sports figures who are paid to wear a specific brand of clothing and going out in public
- Paid workers who may be a part of an online community and special interest message boards who chat with people about products without revealing that they work for the company.
- Common people who post fake reviews online and have an umpteen number of followers but are actually paid workers of an organization.
How is buzz marketing relevant to the event industry?
Product placement has been a part of the event industry, but has not been termed as product placement. Here are some examples,
- When a speaker of your event explicitly posts about your event on his Facebook Page
- When a celebrity invited to your event as the chief guest, talks about it on YouTube
- When attendees who are renowned , change their Facebook profile picture into your event logo
- When you have paid someone to give positive feedback on your event’s online public portal
Some people consider product placement unethical unless they are officially allowed to do so or the two entities involved in this technique have partnered or are in a joint venture.
When common people discover that they have been deceived by the reviews given by the so called peers who are actually paid workers, it is going to infuriate them. But if the product or service given to the public is doing great or good enough it is not going to cause any problem.