Note: I check my analytics daily - this post has soared to the top of the most viewed content. And because I am a firm believer in user experience - Enjoy!
If any of you are like me and spend at least part of every week defending the much-maligned profession of marketing then you can likely understand why I feel a need to apologize on behalf of BrandPower™. Every time I see one those misleading BrandPower™ commercials on television I want to run from the room professing “That’s not what I do, I promise!” Further, as an Internet Marketing devotee, I would argue that BrandPower™ could only exist in the traditional marketing world of one-way push-message communication and would never be able to have a viable on-line presence.
The bottom line is that BrandPower™ is built on what is best described as a “con”. They create the veneer of being an objective third party focused on “providing rational information about grocery products” (a quote from the BrandPower™ website). In essence they position themselves as a customer advocate. They are “helping you buy better” (their commercial tagline). The reality is, of course, that BrandPower™ is neither objective nor focused on consumer advocacy. BrandPower™ is a made up product name from a multi-national marketing company called Buchannan Group. At their website, (which of course is not the BrandPower™ website) they describe the product for what it really is: “Our products … are based on the delivery of information from a third party perspective.”
The key in that description is the “third party perspective”. This advertising medium is set up essentially to trick jaded media consumers into thinking that this “information” BrandPower™ is providing comes with some sort of expertise or established consumer advocacy role. That’s what third parties generally are. The reality is that they are not in the business of having the consumer’s best interests in mind. They are in the business of getting paid to convince the general public to buy their customers’ “market-superior” products like Cocoa and Crème Tums Smoothies. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Cocoa and Crème Tums Smoothies. In fact, they could quite possibly be the best tasting Tums ever. My issue with this type of marketing tactic is that it’s fundamentally dishonest. Good marketing doesn’t have to deceive the general public to convince them of the merits of a product.
Further, I would argue that this is the type of con job that could only exist in the traditional media and could not be successful online. The moment this ploy existed in a world of two-way communication and user-generated brand interaction, BrandPower™ would get so much criticism and haranguing from the general community that their paying advertisers would leave them quickly.
I would like to be proven wrong on this, of course and therefore I would like to encourage you fine folks at Buchannan Group to create a two-way communication BrandPower™ site for us members of the general public who you believe you are helping to make better product choices. Oh, and please do tell me when it is up so I can be one of the first in line to comment.
**UPDATED to include BrandPower™ website**