Thursday, December 18, 2008

Social Media Like Colonialism?

Here's an interesting take on using social media to market brands from the excellent ExitCreative blog:

Us trying to market to people with social media seems a LOT like Colonialism

Most efforts to market things socially (whether they be the idea of a nation or the idea of a brand) involve a hegemonic force (the marketer) trying to commandeer the resources of a small society (on- or off-line, these are consumers). This sounds a lot like colonialism to me. We try, from our ivory tower, to figure out what “consumers” will like, or at least tolerate, and then we try to blast our messages out to them in the hopes they will be converted to our belief system. Sounds a lot like the efforts to convert African nations to Christian religions to me. Certainly not as problematic, but it illustrates a point.

In my experience marketers have always been somewhat deluded about how receptive people are to marketing messages. As a creative in ad agencies I was trained in stealth techniques, premised on the idea that people aren't sitting around watching T.V. to see ads- they want to be entertained...and so forth, so naturally most of my scripts began with 'Open on beach in Bahamas...'(a ploy that did actually work once).

In truth I was simply talking to myself, telling jokes and stories, secure in the knowledge that ti didn't matter much either way, so it might as well be fun - especially for me. So, in that sense it's not much different to blogging.

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