Friday, August 15, 2014

Viral marketing trolling the public

If you use social networks, you're constantly exposed to buzz and viral videos. Here's a recent video that went viral. If you haven't been exposed to it yet, have a look before reading further!

Done watching? OK, so let's recap what we saw in this video! This lady is presented as a professional of marketing who worked for the food industry. In her presentation, she explains 3 "tools" used by marketers to deceive the public :
  • putting nice-looking stickers on egg boxes rather than photos of factory farms
  • diverting the attention of the public towards discussions other than the living conditions of farm animals
  • last but not least: the public's willingness to turn a blind eye and be taken in

And the video concludes on how we should treat animals better and recommends a charity that focuses on this subject.

So... did you see the trick?

...before I discuss the trick, honesty requires to acknowledge that the content of the presentation is accurate. Of course it is the job of marketers to deceive the public in order to make the public buy stuff.  That's the very definition of their job. And of course, animals living conditions are a concern for which we should make sure that animals are treated well. By the way, on this subject the USA seems to have a problem, as some states are passing laws that criminalize the documentation of animal abuse in farms, following a handful of scandals. It would have been preferable that they criminalize abusive treatment of animals.

Now back to the trick of the video: The lady giving a presentation is not who she is portrayed to be. She's not a marketer from the food industry. She's an actress, named Kate Miles. And while the video is a criticism of marketing, this video itself is marketing. It is an advertising campaign for the aforementioned charity. And it uses 2 other tools of marketing: emotion and stealth. Emotion because it is a very efficient way to pull people to your side and short-circuit rational arguments. And stealth because the video format looks like a lecture when in reality it is advertisement.


When you see something surprising or shocking on the internet, you should be skeptical and question the reality of what's presented to you.

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