I’ve been thinking about this flogging thing again.
By flogging I mean blogs that are intentionally created to appear to be innocent/detached from an agenda yet push an agenda (often with key insights) for commercial purposes.
WalMarting Across Amercian was a flog. It was wrong. It wasn’t advertising – it was PR.
I also think they’re inevitable. Many people in marketing, advertising, and PR won’t care about transparency and authenticity. They’ll care about sales, and branding, and stopping that piece of legislation.
Here in DC you’ll have coalitions pop up all the time. “Citizens for This”, “Americans for That”. They’ll place ads in major newspapers ( the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USAToday). But you can’t contact these groups. You’ll see a P.O. Box, an “info@AmericansForThat.org” and if there’s a phone number, you get voice mail.
They’re usually corporate sponsored and often have ties to business groups and their K Street lobbying firms.
On the advertising end, I think top people at agencies and on the client side have the same viewpoint. Do what needs to get done and don’t screw it up. Best flogging practices will come about and PRESTO! They’ll be all over the place.
I don’t think we in social media have enough power and influence to stop it. Period. I’m writing an article for ZDNet that says essentially that. When it’s published (likely this week) I’ll point to it.
But for now, what should we do?