Marketing In Disguise – Literally

by | Jan 3, 2016


More and more, audiences are saying no to traditional marketing messages.  As Craig Davis, a marketing pundit put it, “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” Well, how do you do that when you have a product story to tell? One way is to disguise your sales messages as interesting content – content that viewers will willingly choose to view. This idea isn’t new. Delivering a marketing message through a song and dance routine, or an in-booth game show is the same idea. What is new is just how clever the disguising has become, sometimes to the point where you don’t even know you are being sold.

Consider this on-line feature from Cosmo on MSN. It offered viewers a slide show of models and non-models, side by side, wearing the same “sexy” Halloween costumes. Is this just another one of those time-wasting features people like to click on? Or is it a cleverly disguised way to promote “sexy” costumes by making ordinary people feel comfortable wearing them? We think the latter. First, every “regular” person looked good, and second, most were quoted saying something like, “You can tell I’m having fun wearing it.”

Well, whatever the intent, the feature seamlessly mixed entertaining content with encouragement to go for it. In other words, it combined what a marketer wants to communicate with what a specific audience wants to view. Think about that next time you are creating a bullet point list of product benefits for your exhibit graphics or event presentation.