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May 14, 2008
Yes, we're all replicants
"Lured by free goods and cash, everyday people are talking up products both in public and private, leading critics to envision a world in which every corner of American life is saturated with pitches and product placements."
The only "critic" the Trib points readers toward is a spokesman for Commercial Alert, which hasn't been known for keeping an even head when it comes to word of mouth.
The Macy's program is run by RepNation. Glad to see the Trib highlights the company's credo that reps must be upfront about their ambassadorships. It's unfortunate, though, that RepNation refers to itself on its website as "the consumer powered media network."
A "media network" makes it sound as if brand evangelists are just another media buy.
A true brand ambassador/evangelist program is focused on building customer loyalty. If it's viewed as a media buy and planned as an inexpensive form of advertising, it cheapens the brand by emphasizing promotion over emotion.
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Ok, this is pretty scary... now when I legitimately want to talk about a brand I love, I'll feel suspect.
Glad you posted on this one - I was going to - and with a little more negative slant. I do think that is the case profiled (macys, NU) it is often not clear that she is sponsored - and that crosses a ine.
We'll see how it develops.