Stealth Marketing is getting some people talking on ILE. I have never been able to work out how a stealth marketing business model can work – the ‘audience reach’ for these walking adverts must be amazingly low, microscopically low even if you are able to hit ‘tastemakers’. And if you can identify tastemakers then just sending them free stuff is cheaper and to be honest just as effective. Like a lot of marketing and market research this stealth nonsense smacks of faddishness and in-company politics – it may make zero difference to your products’ sales but it makes people say “ooh how clever” in an internal pitch.

The guy who started the thread does have a point about trust though. A lot of marketing is about tapping into areas of consumer trust, and these areas are seen as shrinking rapidly by the marketing industry (which I suspect overestimates consumer consciousness as a matter of course). Hence gimmicks like stealth marketing. Actually a lot of distrust is caused by marketers being (naturally) very good at selling their methods – so proposals like stealth teams, consumer brainscans etc. filter through to the public who get the idea we’re living in some freemarket superfuture where free will is being abolished. In fact marketing is mostly about lashing bits of vague data together with sellotape and then prettying up the conclusions and the people who do it are no more competent or committed than your workmates. i.e. our minds are safe. For now.

(What has all this to do with pop music? LOADS! Though as lots of people have pointed out on ILM, the singles chart is now so low-selling that the good old buy-in is probably the most effective form of marketing at the moment.)