Although I’ve intended to post hip hop related entries to Blogcritics, this week’s installment focuses on the growing practice of marketers trying to influence public opinion through the use of online “ambassadors” and street teams who interact and pretend to be everyday people while pushing a product. Apparently, this practice backfired in the case of Ashlee Simpson, who seems to have an incredible appetite for public humiliation.
“We are looking to hire 30 Online Marketing Ambassadors to Chat and Write Message Board Messages.
Multiple Shifts available from 8am – 3am.
Talk about video games, movies, sports and much more.
We are also looking to hire 2 Online Marketing Managers.”
I briefly considered applying for the job as a form of research but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. However, I poked around the Guerilla PR website and, in addition to seeing the prominent names of many large corporations, found the bio for Paddy Taber, V.P. Online Marketing who “sets the tone for the viral campaigns that deliver individually tailored messages and dialogue to highly targeted segments.”
Paddy’s online biography goes on to explain that he,
“recruits, trains and certifies the online Marketing Associates with the Online Campaign Managers. Under his instruction and management, they learn how to use guerillaPR’s Proprietary Technology that allows them to be in 2 Chat Rooms and 10 Instant Messenger sessions at the same moment in time, while also learning the 7 techniques of human engagement to maximize communication impact and conversation effectiveness. When certified each Marketing Associate can seamlessly blend into an assigned target market to engage them in conversations that result in increased traffic, awareness and branding.”
I hope I don’t have to explain the implications of this information but I do want to say that I’m not picking on Guerilla PR because this kind of thing is much more commonplace than people realize. But it is the first time I’ve found a website by one of these companies that lays out so clearly the fact that people are getting paid to shill for corporations by going in and acting like everyday people.
I was thinking about doing a short piece on these guys when I ran into various references to such posts for Ashlee Simpson and traced them back to a mini-exposé on Metafilter. The post may seem confusing but when you take part of the quote from “mandyc19″:
“I just read about Ashlee in us weekly. Those guys at the football game were total jerks.”
And put it into Google, you’ll see that miss mandy was all over the place, as if she was paid to cut and paste the same phrase everywhere she could.
Now I’m not picking on Ashlee Simpson either, she has enough problems. Although I think she should take a break and start studying music more seriously and come back, not anytime soon, but when she’s ready to be something similar to a real musician.
Guerilla PR? I bet they would have done a much more sophisticated job with this campaign of lies and falsehoods.