Monday, March 21, 2005

Blogging, Product Placement and the Truman Show

(note: this post is NOT about these various products linked - more of a philosophical comment on it)
 
After watching the Truman Show again, it immediately makes one think (or at least it makes me think - Trish looks at me like I'm nuts when I talk about this - and yes, while there are many things that are NOT the same, there are just as many that ARE the same)
 
Do we have a camera following us everywhere we go? No. Although sometimes, we may think about how handy that would be. Now with digital cameras and videos, we certainly can. (just wish we could find a way for that wide angle helicopter shot - maybe Keyhole can help with that)
 
Do we have an inner monologue? Certainly and with blogs, etc, that is now being broadcast to the world. Who listens? Who cares? Well, that's a choice you and your readers/listeners/viewers have to make.
 
But on the more commercial end, do YOU have product placement in your life? Of course you do. As soon as you say one word that mentions a product, you have essentially provided some level of Product Placement.
 
This is similar to those who say "everyone is in development, everyone is in Sales and everyone is in Marketing." - those who don't realize it just don't get it. How is a salesperson in development? Their reactions may be responsible for the next feature/bug add/removed into a product.
 
I live in Canada. I drive a Ford Mustang. When I buy jewelry as gifts, I always buy them from Jubillee Jewelers in Bayshore. My development tool of choice is Visual FoxPro, although I certainly use other Microsoft products and even though I work with Windows, my favorite computer is still my Apple Macintosh. I use Blogger.
 
When you think about a post or a conversation with anyone, how much product placement is going on?
"I had to stop by Starbucks when I was picking up my Sony TV." Any comment that starts with "I like " is essentially going to be an ad for something.
 
There are business blogs all around this concept with everyone being evangelists but it's good to realize that you are doing product placement even without consciously doing it. Everytime you sit at a restaurant and have a meal and say "ooh, that was good" - you may have affected the choices of someone who was just coming into the restaurant who may say "I'll have what that person is having."
 
Look around your home or office. With the exception of those who purchase in bulk and store their wares in non-descript plastic bags, product placement is everywhere. (yes, it's true - the granola crunching non-Birkenstock nudists are likely the only ones who aren't advertising in some way shape or form)
 
Of course, now can you make money off it? YES! With Amazon's partner program, Adam Curry is selling iRivers, Senseo coffee machines and mixing boards - all products he mentions on his blog. It's the ultimate "Truman" show - with the exception that we only peek into his life for 40 minutes a day during the work week.
 
EXCEPT of course, that he is AWARE of it (whereas Truman was not). 
 
Is this wrong? Is this evil? Absolutely not. In fact, blogging probably makes everyone more aware of how subconscious this "placement" can be (as does the entire AutoLink debate).
 
Try it: can you go through an entire day without mentioning a single product or company?
 
If so, then forget about product or company. When you even mention a person,place or thing you are effectively either referring positively or negatively to that person. How others react to it depends on their placement of you.
 
Ayn Rand once said "Judge and be prepared to be judged."  (link - April 1962) - And realize that as soon as you state your judgement, you are effectively advertising, either positively or negatively.
 
Be aware - we are all in our own show, your ______ show. Blogging, podcasting, vlogcasting is simply the transmitter to a wider audience.

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