Self- Indulgent Marketing

Do marketers avoid being persuaded by their own art?

Or do marketers love the hypnosis that comes from their own craft?

Over the past 3 years I’ve worked with a lot of marketing and PR professionals. As a result of the work I see happening around me I have become much more aware of my surroundings and the messages that are being sent to be from products and logos. Simultaneously, I have found myself analyzing and critiquing advertising campaigns.

I feel comfortable saying that most folks find a little enjoyment in making sure Apple doesn’t do something politically incorrect, or that Coca Cola doesn’t run into a communication crisis over water pollution or something, right?

We all want brands to do well- but not too well. I also think that fans of good branding campaigns enjoy that the message being received by them also says something about them.

But I wonder if marketers are a little too keen on the meanings of messages and ads they see in their everyday lives? Take McDonalds Olympic ads: I know that Olympians don’t eat McDonalds and drink soda. Or what about Gas and oil companies? We have all noticed an increasing amount of commercials and positive green campaigns. But- because I recognize the message being sent, what does that say about me? I still eat McDonalds. I still buy gas.

I think the interview with Exxon’s CEO, Rex Tillerman was one of the best examples of a company explaining themselves. He said his job is to provide, fast and reliable energy.”- That’s it- Not to save the world. Remember, he wants to get paid just like you and I – and I think he was correct in saying this isn’t up to just Exxon.

Consumers have the power. If we continue to buy cars that run on gas -we fuel the flames- so to speak. He explains that there is not just one simple solution; this will take a hybrid (some jokes?) approach. We will need to combine other energy sources; sun, water, light & wind, to create a balanced energy solution. Now I sound like a politician…

I believe that Exxon and others like them can sit back and wait for their consumers to tip the multi-faceted energy scales from oil to something else. But Green Ad’s do nothing for me.

We have to walk the walk first to bring about change- literally, walk.

When is bike to work day? Did I miss it?


Mike Toner

Based in Alexandria, Virginia Michael is the Manager of Social Media at Navy Federal Credit Union. By evening, he's a husband, dog owner and runner. Toner writes about social media strategy, tools, training and best practices for social and digital marketing programs.


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