Undercover Marketing Uncovered
July 25, 2004
has a report on some covert
operations being conducted right here in the United
States - not by the CIA or FBI - but by Madison Avenue.
Advertising has become advertising ad nauseam, and we
are forever being pitched to, marketed to, and appealed
to by someone trying to sell us something.
Correspondent Morley Safer
reported last October,
advertisers are trying ever more inventive (and some
would say devious) ways of getting our attention. This is
called "undercover marketing" -- marketing by
masquerade, or stealth marketing.
If you find that troubling, the companies trying to sell you
stuff aren't too thrilled, either. They're finding it harder and
harder in this assault of advertising to get your attention,
and are coming up with inventive - even devious - ways
of grabbing you. This is called "undercover marketing" --
marketing by masquerade, or stealth marketing.
Somewhere in downtown New York, a secret plan is
A handpicked team of attractive, approachable guns-for-
hire has been tapped to go undercover.
They've been assembled by a company called Essential Reality, which has launched a new product called
the "P-5 Glove," a cutting-edge device that video-gamers can use to fly planes and fire weapons on their
computers, with the twitch of a finger.
“We're gonna go into coffee bars and crowded places,” says one marketer. “Your job is to go out there and
have fun with it. And say, ‘Yeah, sure, c'mon you wanna try it? Great, try it,’ and then all of the sudden you
just involve them with the brand. And then feed them a few sound bites along the way: ‘Hey, you're in there.
It's, like, look at this, it's like you're in the game. It's like you're in the game’ -- that's a good sound bite.”
Inside a nearby Starbucks, Theo and Kumani could be any of a million 20-somethings hanging out,
obsessed with their new toy, not pitching anything, just waiting for someone to approach them. And so were
we, with an undercover camera.
"How long have you had this?" asks a curious bystander.
"I've had it a few days; I've had it a few days. They had a whole lot, I got a lot of product information," says
Theo. "It works really well. Try it on for a minute. You'll see this thing moves fluidly."
"Okay, I'll try it," the man says, playing right into Theo’s hands. After the temptation, Theo offers to email him
information about the product, making sure he never lets on that he’s on the job.
No one is overtly trying to sell you anything, only trying to get you to want it, and then, of course, buy it and