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The Almighty Buck

Sony-Ericsson Starts US$5M Astroturf Campaign 452

lairdb writes "The WSJ reports today (31Jul02) that Sony Ericsson will be marketing their new T68i cellphone/camera combo unit via "shills" to create a grassroots buzz. Specific tactics will include fake tourist couples at popular attractions asking bystanders to take their picture, and "leaners": pairs of women ("actresses and female models") at bars playing interactive Battleship with each other from opposite ends of the bar. "[T]he company has gone to considerable lengths to train it's actors to avoid detection [as Ericsson spokespeople.]""
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Sony-Ericsson Starts US$5M Astroturf Campaign

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  • Say what ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by tiwason ( 187819 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:24PM (#3989651)
    "[T]he company has gone to considerable lengths to train it's actors to avoid detection [as Ericsson spokespeople.]"

    Never mind telling the world via WSJ
    • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:56PM (#3990015) Homepage Journal
      It's a scandal, worthy of the widest reporting right? Your going to look so clever when your recognize the BRAND-NAME pushers at a tourist attraction near you. You might even go out of your way but you will remember those two names togetether won't you? Oh my, they just built brand name recognition. I wonder if the WSJ charged them that blatant piece of product placeent.

      The net result of this kind of marketing will be to make people suspicious of each other. It is evil. As someone else pointed out, normal demos would do better, except they might be run off by park officials for soliciting.

    • "Never mind telling the world via WSJ"

      Doesn't matter - the kind of guy that could pick up a model or actress at a bar doesn't read WSJ or /.

      ~N
    • Re:Say what ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mosch ( 204 )
      And then never mind overreacting for no apparent reason on slashdot.

      This advertising technique only works if the phones are cool. If the phones don't have new features to show off, or they don't work well, all you've done is convince somebody that they don't want to upgrade from their current phone.

      Perhaps I'm missing something, but what's the problem with spending $5 million on the roll-out of a new luxury product? What's next, outrage that TiVo often gives free units to stars, in the hopes that they'll like it enough that they'll end up saying TiVo during interviews?

  • How long... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Raven ( 30575 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:25PM (#3989656) Homepage
    ... before the pick-pocket crowd notice these shills... With their neverending supply of cameras provided by the company... Being paid to hand them over to other people they don't know... cameras that are new and thus expensive and in high demand...

    This should be amusing.
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:38PM (#3989709)
      > .. before the pick-pocket crowd notice these shills... With their neverending supply of cameras provided by the company... Being paid to hand them over to other people they don't know... cameras that are new and thus expensive and in high demand...

      Screw pickpockets. Enterprising Slashdotters.

      "Hi, glad you made it out here tonight. Ya look great. OK, here's the deal. The guy at headquarters says I'm supposed to pretend to steal the camera from you - you run after me for about half a block. Then when you're convincingly out of breath, you can tell everyone who's followed you or gathered around you what a wonderful brand-new camera you just had stolen from you..."

  • great...so not only can the hot chick whos being affectionate be a hooker, she can now also be a sony ericsson spokesperson?
    damn these foul charades.

    eat people not animals

  • Damn ... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Greedo ( 304385 )
    "[T]he company has gone to considerable lengths to train it's actors to avoid detection [as Ericsson spokespeople.]"

    And I just stole one of those babies from these old tourists today so I could go play Battleship with these hot chicks I met at the bar last night.
  • Secret Advertising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smiff ( 578693 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:27PM (#3989667)
    Don't we have laws requiring advertisments to be obvious? If an ad is not obvious, isn't it required to specifically state "paid advertisement"? This certainly takes the role of a paid advertisement.
    • People think that advertising has to be labelled, but that's only in certain places. Like most respectable newspapers require it, and the FCC sort of requires it for TV content. But those TV news shows they hit you with on airplanes are full of paid plugs that aren't disclosed. Perfectly legal but sorry. There's also something that looks like a scientific medical journal that gets sent to a million or three people in America that's full of articles plugging worthless products from an operator whose record is so bad that the Bush Brothers gave back his contributions when they found out about him.
  • by NeMon'ess ( 160583 ) <flinxmid.yahoo@com> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:27PM (#3989669) Homepage Journal
    Supposedly the actors/models hired for this won't lie when asked if they work for Sony/Ericson, but I wonder how specific the line of questioning has to be? These people are going to waste other peoples' time asking for photos to be taken of them. Ordinarily I'd gladly take a photo of a couple, but these photos are meaningless.
    • by platypus ( 18156 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @04:34AM (#3990787) Homepage
      Ordinarily I'd gladly take a photo of a couple, but these photos are meaningless.

      Muahaha, I see something coming.
      "Hello Mister Miller, you bought the Sony Ericsson's T68i last week, how are your first impressions?"
      "Bad, really bad. I just returned it to the shop. Everywhere I went to with the phone, people were mad at me for being a "Sony con".
      One man even threatened to knock me up, just because I wanted him to take a picture from my wife and me."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:29PM (#3989673)
    I've got one, and it's great. You can even take pictures with it! Or play wireless games with other T68i owners. I wouldn't want to be the last person to get one of these...
    • OK great.. one of the actors have joined slashdot!
    • All jokes aside, the T68I is basically the same phone I have (T68M)... I just don't have the camera module. (and mine's sort of metalic looking, not baby blue)

      So here's the basic breakdown on what I've found it capable of, and what it costs...

      Bare Handset: $600 (well 599.xx)
      phone with (new _grumble_) number and 1yr contract: $250 (hey I'm a cheap bastard)

      what it can do...
      TriBand GSM, IR, blue tooth, WAP, SMS, POP mail, basic web browsing, and some other stuff that I can't remember off the top of my head (and, a butt load of games and all the other glitzy crap, that's the scientific term.), I'm not going to crack open the spec sheet or the manual... sorry it's bed time

      though this "marketing" technique is somewhat slimey, it's still an absolutely awesome phone, my lightest and smallest yet, with great battery life... I don't know why they're bothering with such questionable techniques, just put it in a few cell shops under a sign that says "Look!!!! it's shiny! with a color screen!!!"... It should sell like crack-rock

      and those of that actually look at specs before hand, could read about it on a few websites and already have one ;-)

      -cafination
  • by Komodo ( 7029 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:29PM (#3989674) Homepage
    Astroturf isn't nearly so offensive when they're admitting to it up front. In fact, it's more like the Turing Test - can you tell the real technophile barfly from the fake one? Of course, I think the odds of running into two women playing wireless Battleship in a bar are pretty low, so the test would be biased in favor of 'shill' - but for other tests it would be kinda fun.
    • > Astroturf isn't nearly so offensive when they're admitting to it up front. In fact, it's more like the Turing Test - can you tell the real technophile barfly from the fake one? Of course, I think the odds of running into two women playing wireless Battleship in a bar are pretty low, so the test would be biased in favor of 'shill' - but for other tests it would be kinda fun.

      Great. Now when we go to DEFCON we're gonna be surrounded by lamers with T-shirts saying "I spotted the Sony/Ericsson Shill!".

      (Or worse, if you're female and attend DEFCON with another female and just wanna play one lousy game of Corewars on your cellphones, your table will be covered in dozens of T-shirts saying "I am the Sony/Ericsson Shill!" :)

  • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <slashdot AT stango DOT org> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:30PM (#3989679) Homepage Journal
    ...specific tactics will include fake tourist couples at popular attractions asking bystanders to take their picture...

    Me: "Sure, folks, I'll take your picture. Move back towards the fountain."
    Tourists (moving back): "How's this?"
    Me: "No, no, a little farther back."
    Tourists (moving back again): "Better?"
    Me: "Hey, I know! Why don't you take off your shoes and stand *in* the fountain?"
    Tourists: "Umm.... okay."
    (Tourists take off shoes and socks and wade into fountain.)
    Tourists: "Okay, how's this?"
    /me runs off with the phone.

    ~Philly
    • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:04PM (#3989835) Journal
      RING RING... RING RING
      You: Uh, hello?
      Caller: We forgot to tell you about...
      BEEP (you hit END to hang up)

      Later, as you're sitting at home telling Slashdot about the two idiots you stole a camera from
      Ding Dong!
      Barefoot Tourists: Hi there! We forgot to tell you about the great built-in GPS module that allows the phone to determine its location and send that data back to a central server in case it's ever stolen. We'd still like you to take our picture so you can see how easy to use it is.


      • Faraday cage [everything2.com].
        • Unless you just happened to be carrying one on the street, they could have tracked you (via one of the other dozen phones they're probably carrying -- if they're handing expensive new consumer devices to complete strangers, they've got to expect that some are going to break/get stolen) back to your house while you are en route. In that case, hiding the phone in a Faraday cage once you get home won't do much good because they already know where you live.
  • nothing new .. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jest3r ( 458429 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:33PM (#3989690)
    Back in the day when the shopping cart was invented (were talking 1937 - not amazon.com) the first stores to offer these contraptions noticed that they were not catching on at all .. so what did they do?

    They resorted to hiring models to shop with grocery carts as to "model" the behavior desired for customers.

    Needless to say it worked like a charm ...

    • Re:nothing new .. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Saeger ( 456549 )
      "When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other."--Eric Hoffer

      Conformity [despair.com] is a powerful magnet, even if you're aware of it and actively trying to be different (which itself can be a kind of conformity).

      --

  • by tealover ( 187148 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:33PM (#3989692)
    Most of you people will dismiss this because it's coming from Sony, but were it Microsoft doing something similar you'd be raising all kind of hell.

    I'm more worried about Sony that I've been about Microsoft. Sony has its hands on too many things and has shown a willingness to use any means to abuse its position.

  • I start working a couple blocks away in two weeks..

    on another note, who's going to be the first in the US to do 3G with a bluetooth phone? how about stapling together a 3G palm phone with bluetooth connection sharing? can you do it today?
  • HI!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by seanw ( 45548 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:36PM (#3989701)
    HAHA! Ignore all the claims to the contrary...I have this phone and it's GREAT! it has totally fulfilled all my cellular phone expectations...not to mention that I am now a funnier and more popular person. also I am better looking.

    you should TOTALLY try out this phone. I mean, yeah, you could listen to the "marketroids" (haha!!! lingo!) or you could just take the word of regular /. "joes" like myself...and believe me, you might even just want to send some extra free money to ericsson after you see how good it is.

    your average slashdotter,
    sean

    ps I CERTAINLY don't work for ericsson...haha!

    pps did you notice I wrote "/." instead of "slashdot"? I am SO clearly one of you guys
    • Re:HI!!! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:53PM (#3989782)
      Brilliant. In order to make us believe that their corporate shill is a real slashdotter, Sony has used the gambit of having their shill pose as a slashdotter ironically posing (as a joke) as a shill for Ericcson. Everyone will assume that becuase the shill is being way too obvious about being a shill, that he is just trying to make a joke, and "must" be a real slashdot reader!

      And it's so well done, too-- Forumulaic, obvious humor, implemented in such an over the top way ("I CERTAINLY don't work for ericson.. haha") as to lack any subtletly whatsoever. "Only" a real slashdotter would make a post like that! They sure do know the community they're targeting well.
  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug.geekazon@com> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:37PM (#3989704) Homepage
    I can see it now... www.LeanerSpotting.com
  • I was just sitting at the bar, surfing when I stumbled across this thread. I'm doing all this on my new Sony/Ericsson T68i, it's really cool and I love it, I'd post a picture that I took with it, yup, I said that I took a picture with my cell phone, but /. won't let me. If you all have a minute, I'd love to tell you about it and let you check it out .....
  • "[T]he company has gone to considerable lengths to train it's actors to avoid detection [as Ericsson spokespeople.]"

    Just look for the totally lame assholes at the bar. On second thought, think of the potential for false positives. Damn...back to the drawing board.

    While this is kind of underhanded, it's an interesting idea -- I guess the suits are beginning to realize that glittery (but really lame) advertising campaigns don't penetrate our bullshit detectors.

    Steve
    • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by man_ls ( 248470 )
      This type of advertising campaign, for me, is more of a 'turn on' to the product than a commercial. It's a real life demonstration of the product's capabilities in a setting you'd use them...think infomercial cept live.

      Plus, because you don't know you're being targetedly-advertised to, you're more receptive to the idea. Adds have the problem of overcoming the psycological barrier of "being sold", whereas a tourist who needs his picture taken, and also happens to have an elite new digital camera/cell phone that you want to know more about, is more effective. It leaves more of an impression.

      Impression is what advertisers are after, at the bottom line.
  • by jonr ( 1130 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:44PM (#3989740) Homepage Journal
    2 women (supposedly gorgeous) playing battleships in a bar... Riiight. EricSony marketoids needs to get out more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:45PM (#3989746)
    [T]he company has gone to considerable lengths to train it's actors to avoid detection [as Ericsson spokespeople.]""

    For example, they explained their marketing campaign to the Wall Street Journal, an internationally distributed newspaper with a daily circulation of 1,943,601, and gave said paper specific examples of the kinds of things that their actors will be doing. Then, once this paper prints an article on it, it gets posted to slashdot.org, a heavily accessed website frequented by virtually everyone in the target group of wierdass technology toys like a digital camera/cellphone allinone.

    Sony, you are brilliant. No one will ever suspect the details of your devious plan. They will think all those shills are real people. Sony: international troll of mystery! If only Microsoft were this good at keeping its secrets from the public, Security though Obscurity might actually work.

    ---
    Now that i have the blatant, boring cynical sarcasm over with, i have to say this for them: well, their campaign sure worked! In that, it was successful in one thing: i heard about it. So did you. So did everyone in this forum. Everyone here may know Sony was using dubious marketing practices, but they also know that Sony is selling a cell phone that doubles as a digital camera. Which, now that i think about it, is fucking cool. I want one. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:47PM (#3989753)
    Before a certain incident which messed up the airline industry pretty bad, my brother held a similar job for one of the major commercial airlines. He was an internet shill for this company. His job was to visit travel websites, message boards, newsgroups, and even AOL travel forums and basically promote his employer as subtlely as possible. The idea was to create a good image of the airline without making it obvious that he worked for them.

    He'd make posts under fake names telling stories of how he just used the airline and had a great experience. If he found someone railing on the airline for a particular issue ("my inflight meal was dry") he'd counter it with a positive example ("I flew from LA to Miami last week and the food was great"). Same thing if people were complaining about fares, being bumped, or whatever. He was like an anonymous and multi-faceted PR guy, doing his best to influence peoples opinions of his airline.

    I wouldn't doubt that other industries are doing the exact same thing.

    • Right! I'm a shill for porn companies! I don't actually like downloading the .jpgs, I'm just demonstrating how much fun it can be!

      Just as long as my wife doesn't catch me demonstrating...

      On a related tangent, who did this first? I'm an Apple guy, so I'd like to think that Guy Kawasaki innovated the form, but maybe Apple just stole the concept from someplace?
    • by Jeffv323 ( 317436 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @03:17AM (#3990648)
      Yeah, I heard most airlines do that, but not United. I know for a fact that most airlines try to mislead their customers by putting a forged "good word" out about how good their food is or how comfortable their seats are but definately not United. United Airlines has a rich history of community support that goes back nearly 70 years. Would you really expect a company with a 70 year history of rich community support to try to mislead their customers? Absolutely not.
  • I have a T68 and I get people asking me "Hey, that's COOL! Where'd you get that phone? What else can it do?" all the time.

    I wish Ericsson would pay *ME* for such encounters. :P

    I don't think this would really create a "fake buzz" because the T68 really is a pretty cool phone. The accessories (like the camera or the mp3 player) are a bit pricey, though.
  • by InnovATIONS ( 588225 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:53PM (#3989783)
    I mean how may people can these folks contact in an hour? If they are trying to make it look like a chance encounter then they can't be doing it to every person that passes by. And what does a pair of actresses cost per hour? Unless it generates a lot of follow on word of mouth my guess that what is going on here is a bunch of ad execs trying to show off how 'outside the box' they can think.
    • The idea is that you can trust people you actually meet and talk to, in normal society, to not secretly be actors or actresses behaving like regular people while secretly trying to sell you consumer products.

      It's called 'society'. At one time it was considered rather important.

  • The FTC has been warning search engines that try to pass off sponsored results as real, so you would think they would warn Sony about trying to pass off sponsored consumers as real.
  • "pairs of women ("actresses and female models") at bars"

    Hells yeah, actresses and models come round to the lower man's arena! To hell with the cell phones, I want the chicks! Go Sony/Erickson
  • Old Tactic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Triv ( 181010 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @09:57PM (#3989803) Journal
    Tommy Hillfiger did this to promote their clothes in poor black areas of NYC.

    Triv
  • by phillymjs ( 234426 ) <slashdot AT stango DOT org> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:01PM (#3989814) Homepage Journal
    I mean, come on. How about a straightforward demo of the damn things?

    At MacWorld 2 weeks ago, these things were all over the place so people could demo Apple's new iSync [apple.com] software. There was no subterfuge, it was, "Here's the phone, try it out for yourself." And it worked. I want one.

    Why do they deem it necessary to stoop to all this sneaky shit? If the product is good, people will want it without some fucking Jedi Mind Trick-style advertising campaign.

    Ah, and the obligatory Simpsons quote:

    Moe: "Hi, uh, could I buy you a drink?"
    Cute Girl in Bar: "Sure! How about a Bacardi Cooler?"
    M: "Uh.. ok."
    CGiB: "Or even a Bacardi Rita? Because Bacardi makes the night come alive... with freshness!"
    M: "What, do you work for Bacardi?"
    CGiB: "No, I'm in love with you."
    CGiB slaps a "Drink Rum" sticker on Moe's forehead
    • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:56PM (#3990014) Journal
      At MacWorld 2 weeks ago, these things were all over the place so people could demo Apple's new iSync [apple.com] software. There was no subterfuge, it was, "Here's the phone, try it out for yourself." And it worked. I want one.

      Why do they deem it necessary to stoop to all this sneaky shit? If the product is good, people will want it without some fucking Jedi Mind Trick-style advertising campaign.

      That wasn't a Sony Ericsson rep; that was me.

      I've been posing as a Sony Ericsson rep for weeks to prove my salesmanship, but they won't give me a chance. They say I don't have enough sales experience. If you're serious about wanting to buy one, please call them at 555-1212 and let them know what a great salesman I am.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Stuff like this doesn't work on everyone.

      For example, I believe Bacardi tastes of vomit, and I have drank with the Cap'n long before they ever insisted I know how to treat a lady, her cousin, her neighbor, and someone she sorta knows from the gym.
  • I mean -- for 5 million dollars. christ man... *GIVE AWAY SOME PHONES*. you don't have to hire actor/actresses, you sure as f*k don't have to train them, and you get the same publicity ANYWAY, and it's not limited to the 60 day period. they way every dollar you spend will be twice as effective because the money you would be otherwise spending on hot women would be actually converted into a dozen or so phones floating around in some chatty salesperson's hand, who would go and talk to strangers in a bar about nothing *anyway*.

    moreover, even if you get this advertised like so, and whatnot, and people want it -- how much are you willing to bet people will get a "free" motorola with reasonable features vs. paying 200 bux extra for one of these, when they set up a plan? here again, the 5 million should better go toward discounts and stuff.

    lastly, it's very annoying if you found out that you got dressed up on friday, invested a good hour on this chick and all she really wanted to talk to you for is to sell you a f*king phone. it's kinda cheap and i think morally it's wrong because you are talking to people under a false pretence, for blatent alterior motives. not to say that this sort of things don't happen -- but to encourage this breach of morality and mutual trust is quite low.
  • ...it's pretty much like the average user-submitted Slashdot product/book review, huh?
  • No soliciting. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:06PM (#3989842) Homepage Journal
    If a restaurant, bar, or other private firm posts a "no soliciting" notice, the people engaged in this deceptive ploy might be hauled off for trespassing. Alternatively, the owner could take Sony/Ericsson to court and demand a fee for using his/her establishment to advertise their products.

  • by binaryDigit ( 557647 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:09PM (#3989854)
    For your average /.'er, the girls at the bar should be easy to spot. General rule, if a good looking girl at a bar shows even the slightest bit of interest in you, then they MUST be getting paid (one way or another), and you'd be best to avoid them and go back to playing with your Palm in the back corner.
    • General rule, if a good looking girl at a bar shows even the slightest bit of interest in you, then they MUST be getting paid
      Spoken like a true geek.

      you'd be best to avoid them and go back to playing with your Palm in the back corner.
      No pun intended, I assume?

    • Hey babay, I'll give ya $50 more than Erickson if you come back to my place and we can take a few pictures with that phone!
  • by carambola5 ( 456983 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:24PM (#3989925) Homepage

    BEFORE everyone goes to the Ericsson job site [ericsson.com] and slashdots it, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that there are currently three jobs available: two in the Netherlands and one in Nigeria. Alas, I don't believe any of them involve walking around pretending to be tourists while getting paid.

    Sorry to burst your bubble.
  • [From the article]
    People will be fooled into thinking this is honest buzz

    Huh?

    if people see strangers using stuff, and think its cool, they'll use it; but if they see strangers using stuff, and those strangers are getting PAID for it... then people suddenly wont want to use it, even if they think it's cool?

    What was that guy smoking, anyway?

  • Street teams (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @10:34PM (#3989953) Homepage
    Bands do this all the time. So do clubs. Fashion designers and hairdressers sometimes do this, although usually only in LA or NY. And the art scene is awash in a sea of free booze.

    Sony-Ericsson is going much further with this, to actually train and pay the people. That's unusual. Those people who hand you invites in clubs seldom get more than free admission. Models who go out in designer outfits often get the outfit as a freebie, but no pay. Many of the wilder haircuts are freebies, too; stylists have to try out their exotic styles on somebody. Ask women with wild haircuts where they got them done; often it's a promotional deal. And almost everybody in the sales end of the rag trade gets promotional deals on clothing.

  • by Geccoman ( 18319 )
    I'd prefer to see the new sexier than sexy models out in the bars demonstrating the latest in condoms...

    "Hey, sir... can you help me out with this whiz-bang new product? I really think you'd like it."

    Maybe it's just me.
  • Great... first it was radiation to my brain... now with this camera thing it'll be radiation straight into *my eye*.

    As if I don't get enough of that from staring at this monitor all day waiting for a new Slashdot story...
  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @11:06PM (#3990042) Homepage Journal
    It's an innovative way to market a product. Why on earth is this article so negative about it, almost like it's a morally reprehensible thing to do?

    - A.P.
    • Because lying sales weasels infiltrating all of life can only lead to a catastrophic erosion of trust itself, and will cause all humanity to be cloistered in broadband-connected bunkers by 2100, refusing to interact at all with untrustable human beings, and instead sucking down gigabytes of virtual news and information while being able to believe none of it? :D


      Everything you know is wrong...

      :)

    • OK, it's hardly the most evil thing anyone's ever done in the name of capitalism, but it's still a little disquieting.

      For a start, it's a new realm for marketers to explore that's previously been mostly advertising-free. Marketing has been getting more and more pervasive lately, and the intellectual effort filtering it out becomes tiresome.

      It's dishonest, in that it's not disclosed that these people are advertising a product. Undisclosed advertising has gotten lots of people in trouble lately (merchant banks providing "investment advice", pseudo-payola on US commercial radio, and a case a couple of years ago in Australia where a talkback broadcaster basically shook down the major banks for several hundred thousand dollars to stop making negative comments about them and start shilling for them).

      If the product is really that good, why don't these people put Sony Ericsson T-shirts on and do the demos? If the product is actually some or all of cool, useful and good value, it will sell. If it's not, it won't, regardless of how much marketing effort is applied.

  • by Radical Rad ( 138892 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @11:09PM (#3990052) Homepage
    When XP and Redhat 7.(2 or 3) came out at about the same time, I went right over to CompUsa to get my copy and as I approached the checkout counter some guy who had been standing near the register with a box of XP excitedly asked the clerk if there was any software for XP, who pointed at the Office XP, etc. in the first rack behind the registers. He ran over and merrily grabbed one of everything that said XP on it and headed back to get in line behind me. The clerk virtually busted out laughing when he saw I was buying Redhat though I didn't get the feeling that he was laughing at me, and he said they had been selling a lot of it. The whole thing with the XP guy just seemed staged, especially after I looked back on my way out and they weren't even ringing up his "purchases". So I don't think using shills to generate fake excitement is anything new.
  • and hand you a phone. You can either buy it and sign up fort hree years serevice or she gets to take a "dirt nap" for eternity.

    I'm LMAO but I'm sure that any phone company shill would get a boner at that kind of sales tactic.

    Advertising is about dishonesty, lying, cheating prevaricating or even using statistics to extract money from you.

    If you see a product advertised, don't buy it, or the product. Send Madison Avenue to the poor house.
  • by shri ( 17709 ) <shriramc@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @11:36PM (#3990128) Homepage
    "The company decided to make available hundreds of sets of the new portable cassette player, free of charge, to key persons prior the public launch. These key persons were carefully chosen and selected. Sets were given to magazine editors, and specially, touring musicians, they use to carry records and tapes of the music they are going to play and the directors comments and instructions of different aspects of the piece in order to be prepared for the concert."

    "A further promotional tactic involved the company paying couples to stroll through Tokyoís biggest and important shopping district whilst listening to their Walkmans. Several Vox Populi interviews. were conducted in collaboration with broadcasters, in the airports and train stations, to ask visitors to Japan about their opinion and their responses to the new portable cassette
    player. Their reactions were video - taped and featured in news broadcasts."

    Wait a second .. who owns the Ericsson phone business??? Sony!

    More on http://www.eafit.edu.co/revista/117/acosta.pdf

  • Oct 31, 12:56 ET

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
    Sony Ericsson announces the end of their shortlived advertising campaign. The new T68i, a mobile phone that can double as a digital camera had been advertised in a truely unconventional manner. Paid Actors pretended to be tourists who would ask unsuspecting passersby if they would take photos of the couple to expose them to their new product. Unfortunatly for Sony Ericsson, a higher than expected number of the passersby were camera thieves.

    In a related story,
    How did Sony rack up $2,000,000 in phone sex charges?
  • by hagarę ( 115031 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2002 @11:47PM (#3990168)
    Erricson Chick: Hi will you take a photo of me and my girlfriend with my new phone?
    Coors Guy: Sure! Here hold my refreshing coors lite while I do it!
    Miller guy: Hey watch the elbows buddy! I nearly dropped my Miller! Its full of beer goodness godamnit!
    GM Chick: Hey who's new Sierra is that out front?
    Coke Chick: Who cares, does this bikini make me look fat, I've been drinking diet coke all week!
    GM Chick: Shutup!
    Toshiba Guy: Girls dont fight! Here lets play some games on this NEW Toshiba laptop!
    Colt Guy: Everyone FREEZE! This is a stickup! Notice i'm holding the new Colt .45 pistol with tungsten slide........

  • If they're going to all this trouble, why not just hire some sluts^H^H^H^H^H^H^H "actresses" to wear low cut blouses with the phone strategically stuffed into their cleavage? Displaying a photo of herself in the all-together?

    Pairs of "leaners" in bars! "If you were cool enough to buy this phone, you could get my number on the pretex of playing battleship while buyiing me drinks from across the bar!" Giggle, giggle. "And then you could use the phone to take pictures of me flashing my tits in forfeit for losing at battleship!" Giggle, giggle.

    I wonder how much Mr. Brillaint PR Man got paid for this stunning idea?
  • by bons ( 119581 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @12:07AM (#3990217) Homepage Journal
    "Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice."

    "Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived. "

    "Corporations do not speak in the same voice as these new networked conversations. To their intended online audiences, companies sound hollow, flat, literally inhuman."

    http://www.cluetrain.org/
  • by plcurechax ( 247883 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @12:27AM (#3990265) Homepage
    pairs of women ("actresses and female models") at bars playing interactive Battleship with each other from opposite ends of the bar. "
    Hold it, you mean I didn't have to sleep with her just to play with the phone?
  • by forkboy ( 8644 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @01:41AM (#3990447) Homepage
    Would you rather see a couple hot chicks in the bar playing battleship (and actually even be able to engage in a conversation with them, the fact they're selling you a phone aside) or would you rather see yet another fucking pop-up, banner ad, spam, billboard, or tv commercial?

    How is it any different from seeing a new toy that a friend, co-worker, or even complete stranger has and deciding you might want to buy one? Who was the first person you ever saw with a Palm Pilot? Did they tell you how much it costs and where you can get one? How's that any different?

    An old business partner and I used a similar tactic when we were running a small gunsmithing business....we put together a couple of really pimped out custom rifles (a couple AR-15s and an SKS) and hit the local firing ranges. When people would ask "wow, where the hell did you get that?" we'd hand them a business card and let 'em take a few shots. I don't see this phone tactic as much different....it's a non-intrusive way to get your product out there.
    • How is it any different....we'd hand them a business card....

      That's precisely how it's different: you let them know it was your business (presumably; you didn't say you handed the onlookers a business card while claiming you'd gotten it as a customer), and that let them know that you were naturally biased in favor of your own product.

      It's pretending they're customers rather than shills that offends: if my friend buys product X, and tells me it's excellent, I assume my friend isn't being remunerated to do so, so I trust that's his real opinion. That's why we don't call acquaintances who sell Amway or Tupperware "friends".
  • by gnovos ( 447128 ) <gnovos@chippe d . n et> on Thursday August 01, 2002 @03:14AM (#3990643) Homepage Journal
    She: "Hi, I'm a cute girl who doesn't work for any major multinational corperation and I'm just playing around with my super cool camera phone!"

    Me: "Wow, that IS cool... Of course my year-old j-phone I got in osaka also takes digital pictures, sends email, plays games, and even can access the internet. Here want to look up the spec's on google? Use my phone. Oh, and it cost me about $50 when I got it new, and it's smaller and lighter than your phone by orders of magnitude and generally can run two or three weeks before it needs to be recharged (which takes about an hour)... Oh, wait, what were you saying again?"
  • Paranoia... (Score:3, Funny)

    by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @10:30AM (#3991927) Journal
    Why am I now picturing a scene from 'John Carpenter's The Thing' but instead of grizzly scientists in arctic parkas I see a circle of cellphone wielding models suspiciously eyeing each other...
    "I don't know which of you to trust..."
    "I know *I* am not a leaner..."
    "I don't care what you say... any of you moves I shoot..."
    "I saw Tiffany go outside with Barbi alone. If Barbi is a leaner, then Tiffany might be one too now..."

  • by jaydho ( 98032 ) on Thursday August 01, 2002 @01:24PM (#3993320) Homepage
    "Other components of the promotional campaign are more commonly used buzz initiatives. One involves "Phone Finds," in which the company will place dummy phones around cities so that consumers can accidentally stumble on them. The screen on the phone will direct the finders to a special Web site, where they will be able to enter a contest to win a free phone. The new phone with camera attachment, priced between $300 and $400, will hit stores next week." I can see these phone ending up a pawn shops or wherever, it seems like Sony could just scatter real phones instead of spending the moolah to build fakes ones. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, I'd rather have folks "find" a free phone and sign up for a service plan (and don't you think everyone would tell their friends about the new phone they found) rather than putting out dummy phones that only advertise.

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