Opinion editorials on advertising and business

I get it. Borrowed interest is everywhere. You can't escape it. The idea that somehow a Celebrity™ lends credence to your brand--whatever your brand might be--has taken hold. For good or for bad.

Oh sure, you think that headline's nothing more than link bait. Fine. You believe what you want to believe. But I have proof. The Jackson 5 were totally in on the world's biggest cereal conspiracy. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Zapruder Film of advertising.

The other day, Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank house. This should not be news in and of itself, but here's why it is.
The Anne Frank House posted the above message, quoting Justin's "Belieber" comment, on their Facebook Page.

I love this. Absolutely love it. Not because it proves something about Bieber. No, I love it because it proves the people calling themselves Personal Brands™ are extolling the virtues of being shallow and fake.

Once upon a time, before the marketing charlatans* got their buzzword hands on our vernacular, there were well-established words and phrases used to define decent behavior. Words like common sense, civility, etiquette and the like.

Jonah Peretti founder of Buzzfeed has been riding the viral wave ever since his stunt email exchange with Nike in 2001. Buzzfeed is the viral headquarters if you will, where imgur gifs, tumblr jokes and reddit best photo threads are repackaged with smart headlines, cleaned up with snarkier comments and sent out into the world with big yellow "WTF" buttons on them. A machine of memes, with an editorial staff skilled at making them who will sell this ability to the highest bidder, like Virgin Mobile and other brands targeting the younger demographic.

In 2003, California passed SB 27, or the "Shine the Light Law." Basically it required companies doing business with Californians to disclose all sales of private information to third parties, like telemarketers, spammers, junk mail and more.

And then came google and Facebook. And the third party apps demanding information about us. Information the companies are more than happy to sell. In less than a decade (Hell, in less than half a decade) the "Shine the Light Law" became outdated.

Is it that we just can't admit that social media is not a money maker? Do we not want to face up to reality that social media is increasingly becoming a very expensive way of generating PR that cannot be measured? Isn't it time to just come out and say that brands are being coerced into spending a lot of money to give away free shit (merch, ringtones, screen savers, t-shirts, trips to vegas, cars, etc) because a bunch of social media people with impressive sounding titles have pre-determined incorrectly that the mantra of society is "What's in it for me?"

One would think. And yet. Here's Coke.

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