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12/11/2006
01:44 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
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Market Locally, Advertise Globally

Global marketers are getting help from private individuals, who photograph and videotape publicity stunts in New York's busy Times Square, then share the results with the world on sites like blogs, Flickr and YouTube., the New York Times reports.

Global marketers are getting help from private individuals, who photograph and videotape publicity stunts in New York's busy Times Square, then share the results with the world on sites like blogs, Flickr and YouTube., the New York Times reports.

As a result of the growing popularity of consumer-generated pictures, videos and e-mail messages on Internet sites like YouTube and Myspace, advertisers are getting consumers to essentially do their jobs for them.

When Target, the discount store operator, suspended the magician David Blaine above Times Square for two days during the week of Thanksgiving, videos shot by viewers were posted on YouTube and viewed more than 19,300 times.

"Times Square is becoming, in a way, a publishing platform," said Peter Stabler, director of communication strategy for Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, an advertising agency that is part of the Omnicom Group. "What happens in Times Square is no longer strictly the province of location. You can experience things that are happening there, even if you're not there."

You and I call the events "publicity stunts," but marketers, who have a college edumacashun, call them "experiential marketing."

Naked Conversations says the Times is missing the point::

People would be inadvertent tools if they would do what marketers would have them do and as [the Times] implies they do: just spread the word as it is given in a robotlike manner, keeping the intended messages intact.

That's just not what happens. People take their pictures, record their video and audio clips and write about their experiences. They do it mostly in first person present. They may take a stunt or billboard in Times Square and ridicule it as the lamest thing they've seen west of Long Island.

Naked Conversations raises a good point here -- what happens when Internet authors condemn or ridicule your publicity stunt? That's what happened to Chevrolet -- and Chevrolet was fine with it, they expected it, and they rolled with it.

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