"This is just another example of ways people are thinking outside the box to seek media exposure," said Crystal Griffith, media assistant for Abacus Media. Melissa Bedolla, a student at Ohio Dominican University, said: "I do not believe that this is any more deceptive than marketers posing as teens in blogs and chats to hype products and brands." Emily Purdie, account coordinator, Ed Kemp Associates, said teens shouldn't believe everything they see online, just as they've learned not to believe everything they see on TV.
Many said the deception will prove ineffective. "I doubt this will help their promotional goals once teens realize they've been had," said Lawrence Walters, group creative director for GSD&M. Olu Sonaiva, sales manager for Game Trust, said the attempt failed because "the continuing hype is over the spot, not the product." Mark Onusko, a project manager at Tri-Dim Filter, called the effort irresponsible. "With the line blurring between entertainment and news, it is up to the advertising and media industries to reinforce ethical viral marketing."
Either way,said Kevin Sweeney, national sales director for Next Step magazine, don't expect this to happen very often. "As more and more advertisers work to create campaigns with 'virality,' the clutter will greatly decrease effectiveness."
What you say: 59% of respondents in an Ad Age poll believe the LonelyGirl online stunt was savvy and represented a fresh way of thinking for marketers looking to build buzz via the web. But the other 41% thought the effort should have been more transparent.