Snowden vs. Data


Edward Snowden was the keynote speaker at SXSW in 2014, delivering his speech via video conference. An audience member asked what the difference between the government tracking people and corporations was, why is okay for one and not the other?  Snowden basically said when the government monitors citizens it is without consent, however when a consumer is being monitored by a corporation it is because they chose to use that corporation’s services. Choosing to be monitored and being monitored without consent are two very different things. However, if these corporations aren’t keeping your information safe, isn’t that just as bad?

Despite this answer consumers do not want to be monitored in any sense, even if it will make their shopping experience better. Industry research showed that 77% of consumers felt in-store tracking unacceptable. Security is currently the biggest issue, with 81% of consumers said that they didn’t trust retailers to keep their data private and secure. However is this only issue facing consumers and their feelings towards mobile monitoring? Industry research also showed that 67% of consumers said that tracking feels like spying, and 60% said that retailers will use the data exclusively for their own benefit.

With such high numbers of consumers against monitoring why do so many marketers do it?

Trust Issues

Suzanne Fanning, President of Word of Mouth Marketing Association, was quoted in Forbes stating, “millennials are the most connected generation of buyers the world has ever seen, but they don’t trust companies or CEOs – they trust their friends and connections, and they want to hear about real experiences from real people. Make sure they are happy, satisfied customers, and provide easy ways for them to share.”

Bud Light took over a small town in Colorado with a population of 1,500 and created one of the most desirable locations in the US for millennials. The entire campaign aligned with Bud Light’s marketing strategy that is designed to generate stronger brand passion among the millennial demographic.

Social media activity sky rocked and #upforwhatever became the catalyst for consumers to tell their Bud Light story. Thousands of consumers sent in videos to the Up for Whatever Youtube page, applying for an invitation to the next Whatever USA.

Do you think brands need to be #UpforWhatever to reach millennials?

A Spoonful of Ethics


From 2008 to 2011 the total media spending to promote child-targeted cereals increased by 34% from $197 million to $264 million. Despite these increases in advertising spending, the extent to which children understand that they are being advertised to is unknown.

Children see cereal commercials more than any other category of packaged food or beverage. While children are able to differentiate between advertisers and other forms of communication from a young age, they are vulnerable advertising messages that are outside of traditional media.

The 2014 study Tween’s Knowledge of Marketing Tactics, Skeptical Beyond Their Years set out to determine how children between the ages of 8 and 12 respond to marketing tactics. The study focused on how well this age group, categorized as tweens, understood and evaluated new and increasingly utilized marking tactics. The study found that covert marketing tactics are difficult for this age group to recognize as attempts by marketers to influence young audiences, particularly among those age 12 and younger. The findings of the study clearly show that using implicit marketing beyond the audience’s grasp is unethical. The authors’ concluding statement read, “there is a general lack of fairness associated with using such tactics when targeting tweens.”

Are new and emerging marketing tactics targeting children unethical? Does the impact that these tactics are having on children need to be explored and regulated?