About a year ago, I squeezed out the following brainfart
…is it only a matter of time until Hollywood starts regularly hiring hundreds of blogtemps to fire up new weblogs, post furiously and praise to the skies the latest piece of crap opus by Jerry Bruckheimer or some other purveyor of soul-destroying cinematic garbage, interlink to themselves and a few ‘a-listers’, start offering large cash incentives to Kottke and Rageboy and other high-traffic blognodes to link back to the rent-a-bloggers, and watch the Google rank for their new Product soar? Or record companies to promote their wares? Or governments? Are recent, highly-successful experiments in spiking the GooglePunch like the recent one by Matt Haughey the tip of the iceberg? How soon before big business catches on, before the Office of Strategic Mind Control realizes the subtle power (if they haven’t already) of the interconnectedness of blogs and begins working blogspace like the infopimps they strive to be? Before this ‘place’, too, becomes branded and corporatized? (Forget the stone-knives-and-bearskins, bandwidth-wasting crudity of banner ads – savvy marketers will work the medium, pimp the actual hyperlinks, and tickle Google till it quivers, moans, and page-ranks, gratefully. Linkwhoring could become a serious business. Perhaps we could form a mafia, a Blogga Nostra, and skim a little of that corporate cream off the top, broker linkage deals, extort flame-protection money.)
And today, as weblogorrhea reaches epidemic proportions, Dr Pepper’s soulless, clue-deficient marketing shills are actually giving it a go, boys and girls.
Next comes a blog-related twist on viral marketing — recruiting ‘key influence bloggers’ to promote Raging Cow by sharing their enthusiasm, linking to the site and distributing special screensavers, banners and skins. Beginning with an initial group of six people in their late teens and early 20s — flown to Dallas with their parents for an induction session — Dr Pepper hopes to develop a ‘blogging network’ to hype Raging Cow and “be part of the ‘in the know’ crowd,” says its brand-marketing honcho Andrew Springate. Those spreading the news via their blogs won’t disclose their flackitude, says Springate, because officially they’re not paid Dr Pepper employees; they only get promo items like hats and T shirts.
*Takes off tinfoil helmet*
Doc Searls is quoted as saying in response to this : “In my view blogs are the antidote to viral marketing.”
In my view, this clumsy teentastic attempt at manipulation – more likely to attract attention to itself (which, let’s face it, has got to be the real goal here, rather any genuine attempt at marketing juice thanks to the efforts of some cadre of hiphop dipsh-t teend00d bloggers pimping their avatars for some gear – it’s a metacampaign, kids!) and spawn subtle and inventive imitations as a result of the MSNBC article and other media attention – is the first salvo in a coming war of web words. Blogs aren’t the antidote to viral marketing, they’re the petri dish where the virulent brain-colonizing memetic equivalent of Ebola will be grown. Call it wEbola, and reach for the mental prophylactic of your choice. At stake are our very souls!
That’s complete bullsh-t, of course. I’m just flinging hyperbole around to make this all seem a little more interesting, you know, ’cause I can. The truth is, even if I do disagree with Doc’s quotable quote there, if I should happen across a weblog pimping some craptacular, pointless and inevitably unnecessary new product (“Buy this crap! Buy it you f–kers, or we’ll lose our jobs and have to whore out our children!” – now that’s a marketing campaign I could respect), well, *click*
Heck, I even refuse to read weblogs that perfunctorily link to Amazon, for christ’s sakes, never mind ones that are busy flogging some sh-tty sugar drink. But this sort of thing is going to get more sophisticated, mark my words, brothers and sisters, and more insidious. The marketrons will continue to colonize the new frontier. I have seen the enemy and he is us.