Shifting The Line in Social Media Advertising

Over the weekend, I learned that Anna lost her phone. Jade and Luca did too.  You can find out more on their Facebook pages (linked).  And let me know if you notice anything odd about them…

We've been discussing social media marketing on this blog for the past couple of months. While updating the list of social media marketing examples – now 270 – I found out about Anna, Jade, and Luca. Without getting too deep into definitions, I think that marketing and advertising vis-a-vis social media require separate consideration. Max Kalehoff recently published some thoughts about the current state of social media ad campaigns:

"To be sure, there are a lot of promising attempts on both the media and agency sides. But most are short-sided. In fact, most seem disingenuous or uninformed…"

So back to our friends with the lost phones. It turns out that it's all made up, part of a campaign from W+K London for Nokia. As a story concept, I think it sounds cool. As an advertising campaign, it's different than most of the standard executions around today.  I like it.

But…it wasn't too long ago that advertising characters were off-limits in social media. Like GourmetStation's T. Alexander, L'Oreal's Vichy's Claire, or Wal-Mart's happy RVers.

More recently, you can make friends with VW's Helga or follow tweets from HBO's Sookie Stackhouse.  Bloggers don't seem to be up in arms about these developments.

It seems to me that "The Line" has shifted in social media advertising, separating what is and isn't commercially acceptable content.  Bloggers used to revolt against commercial profiles.  Now we lament the demise of them, witness AMC's Mad Men on Twitter.

Are you now more accepting of fake people posing as real ones?  What's the deal?  I have a few theories and would love to hear what you think…