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Figure 16.1. Spending on Consumer Event Marketing, 2009

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Other includes mall, nightlife, and guerilla marketing.

Source: Veronis Suhlei Stevenson, Communications Forecast,

3009- 3013 (New York: VSS, 3009), part 3. p. 17.

Spring Break presents huge opportunities for event marketing. If youve gone to Florida or Texas for Spring Break, you may have seen companies such as Hawaiian Tropics set up bikini pageants. Often, these activities get more elaborate. In 2009, for example, the college network mtvU aired on more than 750 college campuses around the country sponsored events that framed Spring Break in Panama City, Florida. Performers included Lil Wayne, the All American Rejects, Flo Rida, Asher Roth, and Jim Jones.22 The network also sponsored a $20,000 rock-paper-scissor tournament along with other games and giveaways. MtvUs goal was clearly twofold: first, to get viewers who hadnt traveled to Panama City to watch it on the cable net, and, second, to publicize the channel to the Panama City revelers so that they would watch the network when they got back to school and tell others about it.

EVENT SPONSORSHIP In event marketing, the product is the focus of the activity. By contrast, event sponsorship occurs when companies pay money to be associated with particular activities that their target audiences enjoy or value. It happens a lot with sports, concerts, and charities. Sport has long been the largest entertainment-sponsorship category, with NASCAR and the NFL particular draws for companies. A notable concert sponsorship in 2008 was by the Clorox Company. To promote its KC Masterpiece sauces and Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox paid to support the U.S. stops of singer Keith Urbans tour.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT Product placement takes place when a firm manages to insert its brand in a positive way into fiction or nonfiction content. Think of AT&T and Coca-Cola on the TV series American Idol, or the appearances of particular car models in movies, TV shows, and video games that youve seen. Traditionally, products used in movies and TV shows were provided by the manufacturer to the producers for free in exchange for the publicity. That is called barter, and it still represents the largest percentage. In recent years, paid product placement has been increasing, though observers say it still takes place less often than barter. Some marketers have paid producers of so-called reality shows and talk shows to build plot lines or discussions around their brands. The activity is called product integration, and

 

CRITICAL CONSUMER: PRODUCT PLACEMENT AND MOMMY BLOGGERS

Enn Chase makes some quick notes for her blog before starting to make dinner with her two sons, Ryan, 3, and Charlie, 2, in their Dayton, Ohio, home on Monday June

2009. Among the influential mother bloggers cited by Nielsen, Chase has parlayed her talents of cooking $5 nutritious dinners into http://www.5dollardinners.com.

Imagine having a job where companies send you free samples of their products, and the only thing you had to do to get them is review them for your blog. This is essentially what a lot of womendeemed mommy bloggers by marketershave been doing. It should be noted that the term mommy blogger is one that many of these online writers dont like; they typically see themselves as helpful givers of advice about families and child-rearinga task that frequently involves providing reviews of certain products.

Yet a few years ago, many marketers saw sending household goods and toys to women who blogged about home and kids as an inventive way for firms to promote their products. The reviewers certainly enjoyed the perks of getting more free stuff as reinforcement for favorable comments. Recently, however, the samples have amounted to lavish gifts from companies, such as cars, trips, or appliances. Some bloggers have even declared that they will only work for such extravagant compensation.

Public disclosure of these relationships has left some consumers concerned over whether the advice they receive from what seems like an average consumer has actually been paid for by an advertiser. I think there is a certain level of trust that bloggers have with readers, and readers deserve to know the whole truth, said Christine Young, author of the family-related blog FromDatestoDiapers.com. Though Young has often reviewed products marketers sent her for free, she insists she always discloses this connection. Bloggers definitely need to be held accountable.

In response to growing concerns, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled in late 2009 that bloggers who review products must disclose any connection with advertisers. This includes the receipt of payment or free products by advertisers, which would make the blogger officially an endorser in the eyes of the FTC. As an endorser, bloggers are also prohibited from making false claims about a product. Penalties for bloggers can reach as high as $11,000 per violation.

The move is part of the FTCs wider efforts toward transparency in marketing, and will also apply to celebrity endorsements that may take place on talk shows or Twitter. Social media such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter have become attractive to advertisers as a potential new avenue of marketing, as recommendations appearing to originate from an individual consumer instead of a multimillion dollar corporation exude an aura of authenticity. Given that social media has become such a significant player in the advertising arena, we thought it was necessary to address social media as well, said Richard Cleland of the FTCs division of advertising practices. The development illustrates both the new and often surreptitious ways advertisers are finding to reach customers and the value of transparency for consumers.

Source: Stephanie Azzarone, Mommy Blogger Backlash, MediaPost Blogs, July 22, 2009. http://www.mediapost.com/ publications/?fa=Articles .showArticle&art_aid= 11011 O&p assFuseAction=PublicationsSearch.showSearchReslts&art_ searched=Mommy%20Bloggers&page_number=0 (accessed August 11, 2010); Tim Arango, Soon, Bloggers Must Give Full Disclosure, The NewYork Times, October 5,2009, p. B3; Cecilia Kang, FTC Sets Endorsement Rules for Blogs, The Washington Post, October 6, 2009, p. A18.


 

it is increasing, particularly online. In 2009, for example, ConAgra bought a year-long sponsorship of the Yahoo program Whats So Funny? The deal was that multiple ConAgra brands, including Healthy Choice, Marie Callenders, and Orville Redenbacher, would be integrated into the programs content. For example, the initial episodes featured an "Ingredients for Good Comedy segment that combined elements of what goes into making a show funny along with visuals conveying fresh ingredients that go into Marie Callender s Home-Style Creations.

 


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