Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Buzz Marketing: All the World's a Stage

Is that guy chatting you up in the bar a natural charmer or an actor being paid to hawk a Hennessey?

Check out today's Journal (Page B9 - You'll have to grab the paper, as it's a paid subscription site) for an interesting snapshot of the latest in buzz marketing. The article covers the rather disturbing practice of hiring actors to pose as average citizens while they're promoting a product.

Fortunately, the Journal reports that the WOMMA trade group is stepping in: The Word of Mouth Marketing Association, a year-old Chicago trade group, is expected to announce today a new set of rules and guidelines for word-of-mouth advertising, one of the fastest-growing advertising practices.

The practice of hiring paid shills isn't new. The Journal article quotes Margaret Kessler of TMR Multimedia, who "routinely hires 'ad spies' to talk up local products."

So the next time a stranger in line at Whole Foods starts raving about a new product, beware. Unless it's the Gaga sherbet. That's worth raving about.


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