Commercial Alert Asks FTC to Investigate Buzz Marketing

Today, Commercial Alert sent a letter to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) asking for an investigation to determine if buzz marketers are violating federal law by prohibiting deceptive advertising.

The letter asks the FTC to review evidence that "companies are perpetrating large-scale deception upon consumers by deploying buzz marketers who fail to disclose that they have been enlisted to promote products. This failure to disclose is fundamentally fraudulent and misleading."

Commercial Alert's letter urges the FTC to thoroughly investigate Proctor & Gamble's Tremor, which has enlisted about 250,000 teenagers in its buzz marketing sales force. "The Commission should carefully examine the targeting of minors by buzz marketing, because children and teenagers tend to be more impressionable and easy to deceive. The Commission should do this, at a minimum, by issuing subpoenas to executives at Proctor & Gamble's Tremor and other buzz marketers that target children and teenagers, to determine whether their endorsers are disclosing that they are paid marketers."

A PDF of the letter can be viewed here (Link goes to a PDF which will open acrobat).

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beadprincessk's picture

Ok, as a member of Tremor, I say "DUH!! Do they think we are stupid enough not to think that somebody is paying these people?" The fact is that these companies want our feedback so they can turn around and sell the product to us better. I personally like giving my feedback, and I like getting free samples of stuff in the mail, although so far I haven't actually bought anything from one of the Tremor programs (mostly because they seem to be stuck on Vanilla Coke and deodorant promotions).
Anyway, it also is clearly marked as a Proctor & Gamble program, copyright by Proctor & Gamble, etc., apppears on the bottom of the emails, stationary, webpage, etc.

AnonymousCoward's picture

IMHO...the effect on conversion of paid and "outed" buzz agents works as well and possibly
better than stealth ones. I have interviewed a few companies myself in an effort to augment a multi channel marketing campaign. The take on this is in the use of the product and the benefits of talking about
it in human speak not ad speak.