I attended the Boston Social Media Club event last night. John Blossom of Shore Communications, Judith Perrolle of Northeastern University, and Douglas Quintal of Emerson College discussed ethics and the social media generation gap focusing on the case study of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force campaign. I'd earlier asked why the SMC was discussing the topic. I thought Todd Van Hoosear, the moderator from Topaz Partners and the panel did a good job of tying the issue the lack of an ethics discussion in the blogosphere. I took a lot of notes on this session and hope to write them up. However, here was the intro from each of the panelists.
John Bloom compared guerilla marketing to social media, more and more of his customers are looking at social media, and understanding that there are boundary issues within social media. John equated guerilla marketing with sometimes stepping over the boundaries in the public space. John described the example of Photobucket on MySpace, this photo social media company started embedding ads in widgets on MySpace. The FOX Corporation pulled the widgets because it was ruining the public space.
John thought that the folks who ran the Boston cartoon network program did not consider that they were part of the community and so did not talk with the community. There is not always the freedom to place ads in public spaces. In guerilla marketing and social media people should remain connected to common values.
Judith Perrolle had conducted a study of spam, and thought the cartoon network guerilla marketing campaign was solid-state spam, and that parts of the advertising industry were out of control. Political speech is protected but commercial speech is not protected in the same way.
Douglas Quintal thought that the old rules of marketing do apply to guerilla marketing and social media. You have to know your target, where the customers are located; otherwise a lot of advertising is wasted and not pinpointed. Douglas asked if Boston overreacted? He thought no, especially as 35 of the devices were found, who knew if 5 could have been bombs. Douglas thought that Boston did not deserve the ridicule from the country. The creative overshadowed the message and targeting. You have to be mindful of demographics. It shows the company did not do its homework, as there was no reaction in the other nine cities where the program ran. Just because a technology is new does not mean the rules of marketing are rewritten. You have to have some sort of accountability. Guerilla marketing has to be opt in