Sleazy Promotions

Matt Gemmell, who sorta had me up until this point (regarding those “Tweet this to win a free bag of feces” promotions):

To argue that the promotion itself is alright, and that if the customer chooses to participate then it’s their own fault, is akin to denouncing cancer warning labels on cigarettes, or disagreeing with bans on cut-price alcohol promotions.

I certainly won’t argue that a portion of Internet marketing (and those perpetrating it) is off-putting and that it’s annoying to see people tooting about the new gadget they just entered to win, but absolving the participants and placing the blame squarely with those running the promotion tacitly makes two statements:

  1. The marketers driving the promotion are malevolent puppeteers who ring the iPad-shaped bell as their Pavlovian supporters blindly do their bidding.
  2. Their supporters are the dumbest kind of idiots who can’t be expected to think for themselves nor take responsibility for their own actions.

A marketer’s job is to sell things to people — so, it’s incumbent upon them to figure out the most effective way to do it. Nobody’s arguing that maybe these folks could be a little more scrupulous, but these marketing departments simply wouldn’t employ these tactics if they didn’t consistently produce results. It’s not illegal and it works, so they do it.

Yeah, it’s annoying when people toot about the free iPad 2 they just entered to win. But, if we really want to choke this problem off, then we should start with the (mostly) grown men and women who are perpetuating the problem with each and every “like” instead of admonishing the sleazy marketers of the world to somehow grow a conscience.

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