Snakes on a Plane, the death of citizen marketing

3 Sep

[by Todd] I’m kicking butts and taking names of everyone associated with the hype of Snakes on a Plane. You know who you are, and with a little effort I’ll find you.

Enjoy your crappy movie while you can. But don’t dilude yourself into thinking this represents some crowing achievement in the new world of marketing. Indeed, you and your ilk may well be responsible for setting back the cause of citizen marketing more than five years.

The most critical job any citizen marketer can provide is to call
bullshit when companies try to blow sunshine up the collective
skirts of consumers. It’s fear of that clout that gives consumers a seat at the table when messages are being crafted.

Sadly in this case, rather than exercise their power, all those sites that contributed to the SoaP phenomenon chose to find new and improved ways to pass crap on a plate as fine cuisine. The result was a ringside seat for mainstream media to a grinding head-on collision of Internet hype and marketplace reality. So is anyone really surprised when the movie’s floundering at the box office received so much coverage?

Look, I am an ardent proponent of companies turning to consumers to help market their products. Why spend millions of dollars to bludgeon the public with ads when bringing your brand evangelists into the cause will increase efficiency and success? But time again the clients I work with are given the same admonishment, if your product isn’t up to the scrutiny of the public then this isn’t an approach for you.

Don’t tell me that this is just a matter of taste. I have yet to read a single fan site that doesn’t concede the movie is bad. Indeed, the real problem with this whole nightmare is that people went head over heels for a completely unknown commodity.

How am I supposed to give any credibility to a citizen marketer who hasn’t even sampled the product? Even worse, all those people who engaged in the hype had an opportunity to use their clout for good once they saw the movie. I kept waiting to hear about the backlash, SoaP fan sites that were lambasting the studio for failing to meet their expectations. Instead all these bold voices quietly slipped back into the shadows.

So let’s review a couple key rules for exercising control in this new marketing place.

  1. Snake2
    Don’t be afriad to speak up
    . If you’re upset/happy/confused, rest assure others are too. Your voice will prompt a chorus of "That’s exactly what I was going to say."
  2. Honesty is the ultimate defense. The further you venture from what you know to be the truth, the less credible you are.
  3. Real marketplace leaders lead. Marketers, that means you don’t wait for the loudest of the consumers to speak before putting your message out there. By all means, adapt to feedback, but it’s your product. If you aren’t willing to speak first in its defense, then it really shouldn’t be in the marketplace.

OK, I feel better now.