Today, Commercial Alert, an organization that keeps an eye on excessive commercialization, today sent a 6-page letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting an official investigation into the various forms of “buzz marketing” that have appeared in the last several years.
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.”
The letter is interesting to read, as Commercial Alert suggests that buzz marketing is a deceptive practice, and uses many quotes from marketers and marketing agencies to, essentially, hang them with their own words. Let’s see if this gets the FTC’s attention.