Commercial Alert Doesn’t Like All The Buzz It Hears

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.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • http://blogsurvey.backbonemedia.com John Cass

    Danny,
    I think Gary Ruskin is completely correct when agents of a company do not disclose their payment when they endorse a product. However, I have some concerns about Gary’s comments about P & G. Here’s my blog post on the issue.
    http://blogsurvey.backbonemedia.com/archives/2005/10/endorsement_without_disclosure.html
    Regards
    John

  • Danny G

    Hi John, Thanks for the pointer. I’ll admit I’d never heard of Tremor before I saw Ruskin’s letter. I guess I’m getting too old to be a P&G influencer *sniff*