A New High or Low for Social Influence Marketing?

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As Argelio Dumenigo pointed out to me, depending on your perspective this Sprint advertisement can be a new high or low for social influence marketing. Sprint has offered to pay consumers for using the Instinct in personal YouTube videos. It's basically a product placement contest.

I like how they're honest about it with the phrase "sell out your family." If you participate, you'll need a Sprint phone obviously. It doesn't have to be your own though (meaning you'll be asking all your friends for an Instinct phone and buzzing about the product that way too).

 It's a pretty entertaining contest and even you don't have a phone you may participate just for the opportunity to win the $10,000. Still, the idea of product placement in a YouTube clip is a little weird.

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Mike Barrett Author Profile Page said:

I think this is an awesome idea, and could actually lead to a lot of hilarious videos.

Viral campaigns often walk a pretty thin line between brand awareness and consumer backlash, I think putting that issue in the forefront side-steps the issue in a straightforward manner.

When marketing firms try to "cleverly" embed a product in a clip (e.g. an action scene featuring an obvious close-up of a cell phone or car logo), it's often eye-roll-inducing or jarring. Hitting just the right mix of brand and cool is tough.

For sprint I'm envisioning lots of tongue-in-cheek clips with way over the top placement. And isn't a good meme self-referential?

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