June 10, 2012

Keeping up with The Joneses...

With the advent of the internet, iPads, smartphones, and 950 TV channels, the world of marketing has changed phenomenally and exploded exponentially over the past few years. And yet I had never even thought of the kind of marketing we see in The Joneses.

I discovered this little-seen 2009 movie last week. In it Demi Moore and David Duchovny play parents of teenage kids who move to a swanky new neighbourhood and become instantly popular with their outgoing personalities, flowing money, endless free time, and amazing toys from the newest Audi to the newest golf clubs to the newest safari vacation. They are who the rich neighbours aspire to be.

But Kate and Steve Jones aren't really married, aren't really parents, and aren't really Kate and Steve Jones ---- they are marketers embedded in an upscale community to influence taste and trends. And to sell lots of expensive stuff.

The movie is entertaining, the idea is better. Because it is probably happening out there -- I have heard of influencers going into bars and ordering drinks they are paid to order, TV talk show hosts hawk their sponsored "favourite things" all the time, and people get "perks" products based on their Klout scores, so how far from reality is this really?

The Joneses does play it a bit safe, with a Hollywood-y romance and a hidden disclaimer in the guise of shady advertising boss Lauren Hutton saying the client companies don't know how their products are being marketed (don't wanna piss off Audi!), but the story is interesting and the performances are solid.

This is secret smart effective marketing, if yes a bit creepy, and is probably happening out there. The next time someone I sort of know is out there saying how wonderful a certain running shoe or golf club is, I am gonna wonder if they really like it or if they are playing me.

While I don't want a new life or to be an impostor in my own life, I am all for promoting cool stuff.... so hey Hey Apple and Audi, if you like this idea.... send your stuff this way!

On the other hand, hey Blackberry people --- you guys are pretty desperate these days, maybe you should think about building some buzz this extreme stealth marketing way....