Marketing job ads – make love not war

I was reading a blog the other day – I’ve forgotten which one now, sorry, if I find it again, I’ll post it here. The guy happened to mention that marketing was a war. Someone commented back in a pissy fashion (i.e. flame) that marketing is not a war, competition is. Everyone had lots of…

I was reading a blog the other day – I’ve forgotten which one now, sorry, if I find it again, I’ll post it here. The guy happened to mention that marketing was a war. Someone commented back in a pissy fashion (i.e. flame) that marketing is not a war, competition is. Everyone had lots of fun spitting out their fave stories about marketing and online communities and viral peer2peer stuff.

I remembered that debate when I saw this ad (corrected link) from Seek. I have a job bot that informs me of whenever a job in online communities comes up in Australia – always interesting to suss out who is planning on doing what and when. Anyway have a look at this description:

As their Multimedia Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for devising and implementing the integrated B2C marketing strategy for their latest, most exciting and cutting-edge product portfolio. While you will need to be completely conversant with traditional methodologies including above and below the line advertising, trade marketing, sponsorships, events and corporate partnering, it will be your technically innovative prowess that will win you this coveted position.

Previous experience in e-marketing initiatives, infiltrating online communities with viral communications, deploying guerilla tactics, product seeding and cult/celebrity endorsements would be more than advantageous.

My italics. Do you see what I see? Traditional marketing is all about partnering – guerilla tactics are not (usually) well regarded in the real world. But online? Pfft. Anything goes. This is not the sort of position that anyone with a real understanding of marketing into online communities would be interested in. Why? Because we are all bleeding hearts who believe in ethical use of virtual worlds? That community means, well, community not fodder for the war/marketing machine? Yes. But also because it makes good business sense to be respectful.

Mass media is no longer one to many where the one is the marketing guru and the many are the trapped and silent victims. We media means that if you try a guerilla campaign on an online community, they WILL fight back. Fast. Viciously. And it will make the BBC, the New York Times and ABC News in a heartbeat. Bad move. So how about I rewrite that job ad?

Previous experience in e-marketing initiatives, the ability to work respectfully with online communities to co-create content and product seeding, establishment of peer2peer product reviews, and identifying and elevating hyper users and other commited fans would be more than advantageous. The successful applicant will preferably be able to demonstrate a commitment to at least one online community that they are a member of, and passionate about. Except porn, cos we already got plenty of them here at the company.

Well, something like that anyway. No disrespect to Robert Walter’s recruitment consultant, Matt Lowe. After all, that ad is just one of thousands like it worldwide. And probably it was a HR person at the “Global Iconic Brand “that told them to write this. But it will change. Soon.

What do you think? Am I wrong? You create war with an online community and use subterfuge and guerilla tactics to force your product on them, and they will create war back. And there’s a helluva lot more of them than you, and they have exactly the same access to tools you have (ability to create ads, campaigns, websites). In fact more tools, because your consumer can create swarms/tribes easier than you. I’ve put enough examples up lately – the mentos/coke saga is one that is still so prevalent its turned into a meme. Just remember: The dialogue is the content. Only, make sure it’s a dialogue you want to have.

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  1. Insane Laurel,

    There is a company in so much trouble it is almost funny. Maybe the job is to replce the person who wrote the copy for the ad?


  2. Bleeding hearts not bleeding brains. This quote from Anton newcombe seems somehow appropraite:

    “… I was very much interested in opening a clear channel of communication – with everything, at once, on different levels. Can’t be defeated, can’t be stopped. Function aside, let’s destroy the design. Malus maleficarum – do you study Latin? Well f**king eat my shit, my ass will not wipe itself. That’s what everybody can have for supper.” He takes another drink and politely offers the bottle. “They’ve been very bad children.” – Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) 2005.

  3. John, I doubt they even realise. An interesting aspect of franchising is getting the franchisees to write job descriptions for the franchisor company – it ensures buy-in and agreement on what can and can’t be done to help. Wonder how long before we see the consumer writing the job descriptions?

    BurnyourPC – another Anton Newcombe quote ” “Look at the box. It says ‘written by Ondi’. How do you write a documentary? You don’t. I’m not taking issue with any particular pixel or frame or sequence, but taken out of context, I can cut your words with this tape and make you say anything I want to say. It’s just lies – lies that were written into the narration. Courtney read a script. They were not his words. It’s fascinating. “

    That was his comment about Dig! and it’s appropriate. Marketing managers don’t write the script anymore. It’s now a documentary. WE create the content, the reviews the brand, the ads, the ..whatever. The marketing company just puts their logo on it. He’s implying the whole thing was a mashup too.

  4. Laurel, I couldn’t agree more that objectivity is a theoretical concept and that the best anyone can ever hope to achieve is a degree of verisimilitude. I happen to love the sad clown archetype that Ondi paints of Anton. I also believe that anyone who’s likely to connect with his art probably has the mental capacity to realise that 2hrs of footage from over 1,500hrs worth of tape is going to be almost exclusively representative of the directors p.o.v (subjective narrative).

    The thing I love about the real documentary fascists, like say Bashir, is that these people are actually deluded enough to think they’re getting away with something.

    They’re wrong.

    Everyone’s accountable.

    It all comes back to the fact that brand = trust like you were saying. I mean, I wish Bashir all the luck in the world finding his next tell-all, behind the scenes, celebrity doco. He’s shafted himself because everyone’s aware of the hatchet job he did and his brand now = untrustworthy which = shit. Beautiful isn’t it?

    On the whole seek marketing job Ad thing, I think business’ should be more concerned with the brand experience they’re imparting to potential customers and less concerned with the volume of exposure they’re getting. The walls have ears is a great article on brand impact. It’s dealing specifically in an aural medium but the principles are analogous I think. All an Ad like this tells me is that business’ are prepared to spend a great deal of money imparting a negative brand experience to consumers.

  5. Hi there

    I actually came across the same ad and posted a blog entry on it as well. I wasn’t really sure where I stood on the issue but after reading your entry I think it’s helped clarify it for me.

    The brands that will win are the ones that embrace the online community and look at ways they can enhance the online experience. Guerilla tactics are short term, risky and often transparent.

    If brands bring people along for the ride rather than shoot bullets from behind a grassy knowl, then the outcomes are obvious.

  6. Howdy Vando thanks for posting. I’ve been building a bit of a case study around Coke and its forays into ‘sublyminal’ advertising – deliberate mispelling, it has something to do with Sprite (put Sprite into wikipedia to see more). The link on your blog to the is amazing… I’m teaching this week a course on anti-brand, anti-advertising and anti-marketing all coming from the consumer and Coke really heads the top of the list, the poor loves.

    Hey lets set up our own media agency, focussing purely on managing co-creation of marketing into social networks and online communities! What do you think? No clue what the name would be but looking at “They’re a bunch of advertising wankers pretending to be a grassroots movement,” from anticoke, we could have the tag line, “not just another bunch of advertising wankers”. heh. works 4meh. And just Gonzo enough to appeal to “st00pid clients” (re yr other bloglet)

  7. Thanks for those links!

    I blogged a while ago about the difference in response by Mentos and Coke to the DietCoke/Mentos explosion videos. Mentos gave out thousands of packs of mentos and “tickled pink” statements, Coke said “we don’t think this is part of the ‘brand personality’ of coke” So now, when I talk to companies I try to ascertain if they are “mentos” or “coke” in their response to consumer created content.

    Really though, have a look at Sprite in Wikipedia. The Sublime/Subliminal ad thing is the heart of their ‘guerilla’ marketing strategy. Placement in online games such as the Lost one. And the World of Warcraft China ads. Only problem is, subliminal implies the consumer is stupid and unobservant. We have sooo not yet felt the full force of consumer indignation on the ‘net. These little anti-brand campaigns re: Coca Cola and Macdonalds (SuperSize Me) are only the tip of the iceberg. We Media have the infrastructure, services (YouTube) and the will to really crush a brand if they/we choose to flex their/our muscles. How irksome to pay a fortune for print media advertising inside a newspaper when an anti-brand article takes pride of place on the front page denoting that thousands of videos were created in response to a campaign gone wrong, with the top videos reaching 2 million viewers plus each.

    Honesty, ethics and transparency will be the only way to feed media to consumers who have sharp teeth. Gonzo marketng by the Clue Train guy is a starter model for what I’m talking about.

    BTW If I had any idea how to set up such an agency, I’d absolutely do it. Do you know what would be involved? No? NVM, a little thing like having zero clue won’t stop us. Wow! We can be the ZeroClue Agency. 😛 In the interests of transparency, ethics and honesty, of course. heh.

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