Product Placement, Anyone?

Personal email blasts. They remind me of chain letters, except the four or five old friends who have me on their lists don’t always require me to pass on or be cursed with “five years of bad luck.” Like personal blogs, the tone, e.g., “true” stories, jokes, and advice, usually reflect the person’s age, politics, interests and philosophy. As a whole, these folks are not Tweeters but they sure love their email blasts.

Several weeks ago, I received one that I actually looked at, a very sophisticated and well-produced video on YouTube re the “joys of getting old.” The jokes were pretty standard but it was obvious that this was not made in some senior’s basement. Then, halfway through the three-minute vignette, the geyser reaches into his frig and pulls out a bottle of Coca-Cola. Bingo. Paid, sealed and delivered by the folks who care about seniors…buying their product.

I made the mistake of sending back a comment that it was a Coca-Cola produced advertisement. Good grief, talk about the Holy Grail. Few of the group of eight believed that it was advertiser sponsored. Has YouTube and the “media” done such a good job that a public, even though it may be an over-50 crowd, believes that the corporate folks are not taking advantage of YouTube, Facebook and other social media tools to “sell”? Product placement, anyone?

So now, I’m curious. I’ve been looking for research on social media and unattributed advertising with little luck. Let me know if you have or see any good consumer studies. Oh, I got kicked off my friend’s email list. That’s all right. My mid-western friend still sends me dirty jokes.

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