Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Channeling a Lifestyle through Sneaky Marketing (& More on Celebrity Freebies)

Yesterday, I watched a very interesting movie titled "Joneses". For those not familiar, the phrase "keeping up with the joneses" is defined by wikipedia as the "referring to the comparison to one's neighbor as a benchmark for social caste or the accumulation of material goods. To fail to "keep up with the Joneses" is perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority." (source:

The movie can be critiqued in a variety of ways, but regardless of all other aspects, the plot was based off an interesting idea: sneaky advertising. Basically, four salespeople are put together in a house to appear as the ideal family. There are two parents and two children. In essence, the Joneses are self-marketers. They create the image of the “American Dream” which they know more materialized western society would be drawn to. Through psychology, the companies have figured out that if the neighbors fall in love with the Joneses, they will try to get as close to this lifestyle as possible, causing them to want to buy the things the Joneses have. Each member of the family are covered head to toe in labels, and others around them feel that if they can have a piece of them, or buy the things they have, they could perhaps channel this lifestyle as well.

This concept had me realize that this was a more dramatic interpretation of what celebrities do now a-days. Many celebrities or famous people we look up to realize they have the power to direct their fan’s affection. People very successful at what they do endorse products of big-name companies to help sales. This, arguably, is one of the most effective types of advertisement, because not only is somebody you admire (and want to be like) telling you about a product, but they are adapting it into their own lives. A consumer may that if they too have this product, they have more of a connection to this celebrity.

If you look back, this plays off of one of my old posts- the business of free stuff. Not only do companies give away free things, but many times they pay to do so! By giving product to the famous, they hope their item will become a trend.

There are several examples of this, and companies have a reason for it.

I'll list a few interesting ones below:

  • Buick gave tiger woods free vehicles
  • Companies rush to give the First Lady designer brands
  • Celebrities scoring gift bags at the oscars
  • American Idol winner receiving the Ford vehicles
Maybe next time you see your favorite celebrity endorsing a product, you'll think about all the thought, work, and money that goes behind it.

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1 comment:

  1. This is so true - Companies are getting more and more "sneaky" and trying to be more and more viral with their advertising. Sometimes its fun to watch what they do.

    I didnt see the movie but it sounds interesting. I know I myself might have bought something because someone cool might have bought something. Tom Cruise in the Movie Risky Business - he made Ray Bans and Porsche cars very cool.

    Any idea how companies would put a value on things like an Oscar Winner wearing their clothing ?