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Note from Pat: Just what the business world needs – another word to add to our jargon dictionary.? But this article which hypes an interesting book by Rob Walker, raises an interesting question.? Does anyone remember when marketing meant identifying a need and providing a valuable solution?? Well this article and book focuses on those that see a need and pretend to offer a valuable solution – and how the consumer is too caught up in their own self to notice that they have just fallen for a pitch for something that is not the solution they thought it was.? Buyer beware has never been so true!

It?s not just downscale beer companies that have taken to murketing. To popularize its youth-focused Scion brand, Toyota held parties for editors of indie magazines with names like Art Prostitute. Red Bull is thought to have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ?stealth? events, financing competitions for, among other things, kiteboarding, video gaming and break-dancing. And then there?s the word-of-mouth industry ? advertising firms that recruit an army of ?agents? to sing the gospel of products to their unsuspecting friends.

Walker doesn?t always pin down how much these marketing efforts contribute to the coffers of the companies that employ them. What he makes clear, however, is how thoroughly such campaigns invade the culture, especially youth culture. Members of a hyper-aware generation often hailed for their imperviousness to marketing are actually turning to brands to define themselves. Want to protest a ?corporate? beer? Well, get a Pabst tattoo!

In reality, Pabst Blue Ribbon?s anticapitalist ethos is, as Walker puts it, ?a sham.? The company long ago closed its Milwaukee brewery and now outsources its operations to Miller. Its entire corporate staff is devoted to marketing and sales, not brewing. ?You really couldn?t do much worse in picking a symbol of resistance to phony branding,? Walker writes. But P.B.R.?s fans don?t care. In the new era of murketing, image is everything.

Source: New York Times

Recommended Reading: ?Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are? by Rob Walker

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