I know, William Shakespeare would be so happy that I am taking one of the last lines from Romeo & Juliet (we are all punishéd), bastardizing it so that it relates to the Truman show, then remarking that we may kind of all be punishéd anyway. It’s why he wrote Romeo & Juliet, I’m fairly certain.
Anyway, on with the show.
So, The Truman Show came out in 1998. Neither Facebook nor Twitter existed yet. How did we live?!? But anyway, some of the most memorable parts of the film, at least to this budding marketer, were when the people around Truman would randomly pop in product endorsements as they were talking to him. Like this, for example:
Sure seemed crazy and over-the-top back then, didn’t it?
Funnily enough, we have all become product placement billboards. We may or may not be conscious of it. You’re gonna want some proof, aren’t ya?
Have you ever mentioned in a Facebook post that you made pancakes with that new heart healthy Bisquick and didn’t notice a difference in taste?
Have you ever tweeted that you went to Wal-Mart and really found their customer service outstanding and much improved?
Have you ever really really liked a movie and blogged about it after seeing it?
Guess what, friend! You’re a marketer!
Of course, sometimes it’s even easier to work product placement into your friends’ lives. Have you ever “liked” or “fanned” (or whatever Facebook will call it next) a product page on Facebook? Like, for example, that time I signed into Facebook and saw that some of my friends had become fans of Pepsi…”Why sure, I like Pepsi too. I will fan them,” said I. Didn’t really think about it until it was too late. Same thing happened to me with Lion Brand yarn. Sure, I love Lion Brand yarn! I’ll become a “fan”! Now I get updates about the latest kits and yarn sales going on. What the heck is going on here?
This isn’t to say that our own individual contributions to marketing are all that is left. But it is kind of overwhelming to think about how much we market without realizing it. Don’t think it has escaped my mind that in mentioning those brands above, I was giving them pings and bings and dings on Google alerts and other social media tracking sites. Yes, even talking about how products are marketed can result in product marketing.
I don’t know who the “Truman” is in this new reality. I think maybe we are all switching off. I was a Truman when I clicked on that “fan” button, but then I became a marketer because my fandom was announced to other friends. Kind of insidious. Kind of instinctive. Maybe even kind of unfair.
Welcome to The Truman Show.