Brand advocacy is great, right? Sure it is—unless you happen to be an advocate’s best friend.
Peter Ormerod of The Guardian seems a bit confused, though: what he calls “friendvertising” is really just successful content marketing, or brand-produced videos shared by those in his social (media) circle.
Ormerod takes particular umbrage at the WestJet Christmas campaign and Dove‘s “Real Beauty”, claiming that the offending companies are using feel-good, socially positive messaging to hide their true intentions: sales. These were, of course, two of 2013’s most successful campaigns—so we can’t imagine what he’d say about lesser entries in the content marketing field.
He calls such campaigns “the latest trick by marketers who want you to sell their brand” and writes that they’re “born of the darkest cynicism” before using that premise to launch a broadside against all things promotional. Seems he’s very annoyed that those who call him “friend” would dare to post sponsored content in his feed.
This is yet another chapter in the debate over what constitutes transparency in both advertising and whatever you want to call the stuff Ormerod hates so much, but the primary lesson we take from the screed is that you’ll always infuriate someone.
We feel his pain—we pretty much always skip commercials when we can—but the very fact that someone would share these videos with him demonstrates why they’ve been successful, no? And one may call them “disingenuous”, but they never aimed to cover up their true purpose: selling the products behind the logos.
We’re just glad no one asked him about Batkid. :-/