Monday, April 21, 2008

Subtle Marketing vs. Overt Marketing

Perhaps it is because I come from a small island where there really wasn't much television choice, or perhaps because it was just a really great show, I took to liking Knight Rider. In after thought I think it was just because I liked the idea of a talking car. When I heard there was going to be a Knight Rider movie these many years later I was excited and I made sure I would be able to watch it. Something ruined the movie for me though, it wasn't the plot, or the acting, it was the cars.

The new Kitt is a Ford Mustang, no problem, I thought the car was quite attractive. As I watched the movie however a familiar theme became clear. Every single car in the movie was a Ford. There were hybrid SUV's, mustangs, Ford Focus', all Ford's everywhere. If that wasn't bad enough the only commercials that aired were Ford commercials. In short it was a two hour long Ford advertisement, or in my case, nightmare.

This brought up an interesting question in my mind about whether it is possible to over market. Based on my reaction to the movie, I believe it is. The movie (advertisement) was so far from being subtle it was sickening. Because of that it was offensive that the history of a show I enjoyed was being so overtly used to market a car. I am certainly not suggesting that no marketing should be done, but I question the effectiveness of something that is so overt and clearly took away from the quality of the movie it was attempting to use to drive sales.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find any data about the success of that venture. Perhaps for every person it turned away (like myself), the constant repetition made four others go out and buy Ford's. By the same token perhaps the result was just the opposite. So here's my question, under what conditions would this type of marketing be effective and are there any known instances of this type of marketing being successful.