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MONDAY, JULY 15, 2019
 
This is an entry I originally wrote for my blog before it got published in the Capilano Courier.

So you're at the club, you're squinting your eyes to peer across the room to get a good look at the "hot chick" that all your drunk friends are talking way too loudly about. You get a good look, they're right, she's really hot...but you figure, that's a just eye-candy that you'll never get a taste of. However, your drunk friends push you to go and talk to her or at least buy her a drink. So, before you have time to say no, three of your drunk and obnoxious friends are dragging you across the dance floor through walls of annoyed people to talk to her. You arrive at the allocated destination and you wave awkwardly at her and manage to mumble out of your shaking mouth:

"Uh...hi"

The super-hot-way-out-of-your-league chick gives you a funny look which (fortunately) fades into a smile and she responds nonetheless:

"Hi"

Now you're thinking "omg she said hi to me and smiled". All of a sudden you feel like you could teach "how to mac on hot chics 101" and you turn on your sexy-man voice and drop your best one-liners at her. Soon enough, you've got her laughing at all your jokes and giggling at all your actions. Your friends are in dismay, and they awe at your presence. She tells you she wants you to take a picture with her on her camera. She pulls out her impressive new SONY camera and tells you to hold it up to take the picture because she claims you have much longer (not to mention, stronger) arms. *SNAP* you take the picture, and just as you're handing it back to her she tells you how that camera was a birthday present from her dad and it's been the best gift she's gotten since that pony in grade five. You give the camera a double take... and realize that...damn...that really is a nice camera...so, super-hot-way-out-of-your-league chick, tell me more about it. And NOW...they got you. Turns out this girl knows a whole lot about this camera and starts telling you great stories about her adventures with it and all the wonderful things it can do. But one thing she never tells you is that she's an undercover marketing agent for SONY...and you just got played by people who made you think you were Mr.MacDaddy. And, this isn't fiction, it's happening right now, right in your favourite club (PLUSH, ATLANTIS, 686, THE ROYAL, CAPRIS, WILD COYOTE)...and it might've already happened to you. PLUS, this is only 1 of 5 different techniques of advertising that corporations will be using consistently in the future. So, right now, you look up at the image for this post and you think that that's advertising at it's best..."hot girl with a VAIO computer...I can't help but want it because sex sells". Sure, it's a very successful form of advertising, and sure, it kind of makes every man reading this suddenly want a VAIO computer...but it's not even close to the effectiveness of advertising that we'll be facing in the near future.
Comments

alishahnovin

alishahnovin

2008-10-21 13:20:57

Can you blame them? They needed some way to combat the ugly uber-geeks that you would never hit on who are constantly finding faults in products.

Anyway, that stuff is always so easy to see through. What normal person - girl or guy - goes to a club and then discusses at length how great a digital camera is?

It's the internet equivalent of going on some web forum and pretending to be a regular user while advertising your own site, or some product. In other words... it's spam - now in the real world.
REPLIES: Mtsang

Alamir

Alamir

2008-10-21 14:03:04

I remember when the Sony Walkman came out there was a girl who got paid by Sony to hang out on the beach, right here at Stanley Park, and be seen listening to her new yellow walkman.

Mtsang

Mtsang

2008-10-21 16:17:15

Replying to alishahnovin:
Yes I can blame them, because it's stealth marketing, which I feel is decieving and not justifiable. However I understand it's only being used because of the very skeptical and cynical generation we live in. And I think you're over-generalizing and making too many assumptions. First off, I'm pretty sure "ugly uber-geeks" is not the right term to use to define people that constantly find faults in products. Maybe "ignorant and overly skeptical...people" would fit better.

Also, I think it might be too cynical to perceive that the notion of talking up a camera (or any product) at a club is always going to be real-world spam. Products garner more attention through word-of-mouth and it doesn't necessarily have to be initiated by someone working for a company, so I doubt that it's actually "always so easy to see through". I mean, I don't think it'd be difficult to find many examples of people who extensively promote a product (at a club, or anywhere) without working for the company. Many times I've told people about a certain product or thing I like just because, and it has nothing to do with me working for that company, it's just me expressing my appreciation for a product. And I do it in forums all the time, and no, I don't get paid for it.
REPLIES: alishahnovin

alishahnovin

alishahnovin

2008-10-21 17:42:21

Replying to Mtsang:
I used the term "ugly uber-geeks" as it forms a better opposite to "super-hot-way-out-of-your-league chick" than "ignorant and overly skeptical...people." The stereotype being that a "super-hot-way-out-of-your-league chick" wouldn't be the type to normally recommend some form of technology, or bring it up as a topic of discussion, while the "ugly uber-geek" would. A better term would perhaps be a power-user, but I'd still have to use the ugly adjective to form the distinction between what you're referring - someone who is attractive - and what my proposed opposite - someone who is unattractive.

Secondly, call me a skeptic, but anytime someone starts recommending something to me, I suspect an ulterior motive. If someone recommends a brand of laptop, it may not be be because they work for that company, but rather that they own that brand themselves and have vested their interest in the success of that company. In other instances they want their own brand selection validated by another person. And in this instance I'm speaking specifically of friends - people I know, whose opinions I would otherwise trust. But they do have their own interests in mind when they recommend something or not - though they may not always be conscious of it.

But now, throw me in a club, and have someone - anyone - start telling me about their camera? There will be flags raised immediately. The conversation would go:

Person: "Can you take a picture of me?"
Me: "Sure. Hey, nice camera..."

At this point, if it's anything but a simple thank you - I'll even grant a "I got it for my birthday." I'll stop paying attention. I'll be wondering: "Do you want me to take your picture or not? Why are you telling me so much about this camera?"

To be perfectly frank, whenever someone goes out my perceived norm of talking about something, I know they're pushing something on me. If I recommend a product to someone, it's because I too have a vested interest. When I say: "Hey, get this kind of laptop, I've never had an issue with it..." I want to see that laptop that I purchased be embraced by others. Even if I were to say "Yea, this camera is amazing... it has all these great features..." I would, at the very least, want to be a source of recommendations for that particular person. I would want to appear savvy, to know my stuff.

But I'd say it also depends on the type of person you are, and how much you associate image with a product. For example, the iPhone has the fortune of being associated with the image of trendy, well-off financially, hip, cool, etc. Is the iPhone hip, trendy, cool, etc? No. It's a phone, as are all smart phones, it cannot be cool, as it cannot be. It can only be perceived as such. And if you don't perceive it in that way, then you really are a lot less inclined to buying it over any other phone.

If that hot girl in the club, or that hot girl on the beach, are with a product and pushing it that product onto people, it's to associate the product with the image of that girl. The image of attraction, of being cool, etc. But to talk about how cool you are because you have a particular kind of product isn't very cool in my mind, it's kind of lame. I'd just sit there thinking "Yeesh, how dull is your life that you're so excited to tell me about a digital camera?"

Some people may glance at the picture of that girl with the VAIO and be more inclined to buying a VAIO. The ad didn't have that affect on me, it just made me think: "What is she looking at on that computer of hers?" because frankly, just about any computer should be able to surf the internet, and go to the sort of websites she's likely looking at. There's nothign VAIO specific about it... And if someone associates the VAIO with sexy, trendy, and hot...I don't really know. I have nothing against the VAIO... but it's a computer.

To me this is the exact equivalent of people on the beach, laughing, having the best time of their lives, and drinking Coke. Because Coke is either the direct cause of, or is associated with their ability to find happiness. I mean, don't you just look at these commercials and go "Calm down people... it's just Coke."

Mtsang

Mtsang

2008-10-21 20:11:50

Ahh now I understand why you used the "ugly uber geeks" term, however I think you've misunderstood what I'm countering because of the exaggeration of my article.

Obviously, the undercover marketing doesn't work as simply as I've written in the story up there - they obviously would try to make it as realistic as possible. If the same scenario had happened at the club as in my article, then a doorknob would even be able to tell something was up. But you claimed that undercover marketing campaigns are easy to see through which IMPLIES that it doesn't affect you because you are so cautious of it, and you support this implication with your examples of supposedly futile advertisements in your reply. So when I say that it's not actually easy to see through, what I mean is although you can detect it, you are still affected by it and thus can't really “see through it”. Let me explain.

Your example about the club and only mentioning that the camera was a perfect example of you believing that you see through the undercover marketing when you really don't. It's perfectly normal for a girl to show her camera to you and say “I got it for my birthday” or “I like this camera”, right? That in itself is the main goal of the advertisement – the mere MENTIONING of the product. The goal of the undercover marketing campaigns are not to necessarily make you want a product more because someone else says they like it, rather it's merely assigned just to get you to talk about the product. And it works because if a hot girl at a club were to tell you a story about the camera and even if you were wary of it, you would still have that camera on your mind, and it doesn't matter what your opinion on the product is. The point is that they got you to listen to them, something that images like the VAIO ad are trying to get you to do.

You give good examples about why images like the VAIO computer with the hot girl doesn't make necessarily make you want to purchase that type of computer, however, like I said before, that's not the point of the advertisement. Really, it's not an original thought to think the way you think about the VAIO ad or the hot-girl-on-a-beach-with-a-product, all the sex appeal is there for is to get you to talk about it and have an opinion on it like you have. It doesn't matter that the hot girl isn't associated with the product, it just matters that you talk about it. eg. “Remember that hot girl from that VAIO commercial?”. You may claim that it doesn't affect you, and you tell me it doesn't affect you, but just by saying that you're buying in to what they knew you'd do, all they really wanted was for you to talk about it and have a opinion, and they don't really care what you think about it. So really, anyone that notices the image and is willing to talk about it contributes to the success of the advertisement. So by saying you “see through” this kind of advertisement, I had to respond.



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