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« Setting expectations | Main | Understanding the Super Bowl »

Cynical

Lots of mail about the Aqua Teen guerrilla marketing Boston thing.

More than ten years ago, I co-wrote four of the Guerrilla Marketing books. At the time, Jay Levinson and I were focused at helping small businesses break out of the helpless rut of leaving advertising to the big guys. There were plenty of niches where smaller organizations could really thrive without becoming pariahs in their community.

It hasn't taken long for the game to be totally rebuilt.

Peterjpg In the face of high ad rates and stunningly low effectiveness, many advertisers are getting selfish and angry. Rather than investing the money they would have spent on ads into products and services, they're just running more invasive ads. Even in this picture of one of the Aqua Teen guerrillas we see a logo and an ad... in fact, it's almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything without seeing an ad.

Try to imagine a TV executive in 1972 or 1985 explaining that the nationwide rollout of a new TV show would involve battery-operated LiteBrite boxes with an offensive little sprite icon on them... inconceivable. Today, it's not only not surprising, it's predictable.

So, what am I cynical about? I'm cynical that anyone is going to be able to do anything to stop it. That any government organization or any group of consumers is going to be effective in stopping the tsunami (and I don't use the word lightly) of unanticipated, impersonal and irrelevant spam that fills our lives. I have no idea if Boston should have spent half a million dollars on this problem, or if the population should have freaked out in fear. I do know that whatever they do isn't going to change the way marketers do (what they erroneously think is) their jobs. There's just too much money on the table.

My hopeful side says that marketers should start taking responsibility for what we do, and start marketing to people the way we'd like to be marketed to. The cynical side of me realizes that this isn't bloody likely.

The only thing that will make it go away is when it ceases to work.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Cynical:

» Hey, Boston... Up Yours! from ChaosScenario
Perhaps it's a good thing the tactics employed by Interference on behalf of Cartoon Networks' Aqua Teen Hunger Force made their billboards look ambiguously like bombboards and caused such a ruckus, because it has made nearly everyone fail to notice [Read More]

» Bombed in Boston from bizsolutionsplus Featuring Solutions to Grow Your Business
Aqua Teen Hunger Force bombed in Boston yesterday, shutting down a city and bringing out emergency responders to the tune of an estimated $500,000. Marketing genius or marketing stupidity. A little of both actually. [Read More]

» Mercadeo terrorista (que no Mercadeo de Guerrilla) from ventasEnInternet.com
La mañana del 1 de febrero Boston se despertó con la más grande amenaza de bomba desde el 11-09. CNN, ABC News y otras cadenas hicieron un “breaking News” para informar sobre bombas en puentes, estaciones de metro y otros lugares públicos de l... [Read More]

» Bainbridge on the Boston Scare: 'Triumph of Capitalism' from Acton Institute PowerBlog
Prof. Bainbridge on the hijinks of the Boston duo responsible for the now infamous ad campaign for Adult Swim: These guys validate my lifes work: They confirm that corporations rule the world and are therefore a worthy subject of study.̶ [Read More]

» TBS and the terror threat from Beneath the Peak
A senior person at Turner Broadcasting System approved this campaign, so at the very least Turner should pick up the $500,000 - $1 million that was spent cleaning up the aftermath. That said, you have to wonder about the person who posted this. It does... [Read More]

» If your advertising agency isn’t getting arrested, maybe they're not trying hard enough. from Scatterbox by Steven Silvers
Call it Public Nuisance Marketing. By now the world knows how some advertising guys created a terrorist scare in Boston after placing 38 blinking electronic signs beneath underpasses and along streets to promote a Cartoon Network show called Aqua Teen [Read More]

» CrunchBack: Seth's Blog: Cynical from CrunchBack
Link: Seth's Blog: Cynical. I'm going to start adding a few of my other favorites to this blog. I'll be commenting on Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, and some others. From Seth's post on the incredibly irresponsible Cartoon Network campaign that [Read More]

» Space debris and marketing clutter from Beyond Giving
There's a story in the New York Times about the rising danger of space debris. Who knew? Apparently, outer space is cluttered with junk. All of that junk orbits the earth at a pretty high speed. Inevitably, a speeding bit [Read More]

» Boston Revisited from IF!
Since the Boston urban spam incident last week, there has been much discussion in the blogosphere about the campaign. A couple of blog posts really stood out. [Read More]

» Guerrilla marketing in a national security state from The New Marketing
In my last post about the Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Boston bomb scare, I declared the campaign a "win for... [Read More]

« Setting expectations | Main | Understanding the Super Bowl »