National Institute on Media and the Family

National Institute on Media and the Family is an independent, nonpartisan, non-sectarian, non-profit organization that provides reliable information so families can make prudent media choices. .

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Buzzploitation

It’s not just a new word, it’s a new phenomenon. The word buzzploitation refers to the increasingly—and unfortunately—prevalent practice of exploiting of kids’ natural inclination to tell their friends what they think is cool. Recently, it’s come to light that some marketers are using some extremely questionable methods to push their products on eager kids.

Here’s how it works: they give free samples to kid, hoping the youngsters will promote the products to their friends. Sometimes the kids don’t realize they’re shilling for a company—they think they’re simply getting cool new stuff.

What’s really wrong with this picture? Well, some of these marketers are telling the kids to keep all of this secret from their parents. It shouldn’t take long before you begin to think of the long list of problems that can stem from this sort of thing.

Today, we at the National Institute on Media and the Family are launching this Buzzploitation Blog, to keep you up to date on the latest developments in word of mouth marketing, especially the unethical moves of the worst offenders. We’ll track the industry, maintaining a keen focus on the exploitation of children in word of mouth campaigns.

The National Institute on Media and the Family is dedicated to maximizing the benefits and minimizing the harm of media on children and families through research, education, and advocacy. We’re focusing on the word of mouth marketing industry to help promote and maintain children’s safety. We recently launched an investigation to determine if particular Internet marketers are exploiting young people and possibly exposing them to adult-oriented themes and concepts. We’ll keep you updated on our findings.

Word of mouth marketing has become a popular and effective method of promoting products. Parents should take notice. Their children are not only targeted, they are recruited, trained, and engaged, often without their parent’s knowledge. Using this blog, we’ll help parents protect their children by raising awareness of word of mouth marketers, their campaigns, and their tactics.

Not all online marketers are out to exploit our kids. As we keep a close eye on the industry, we will make an effort to recognize and commend responsible online marketers. But we will never hesitate to expose the marketers who take an irresponsible and dangerous approach to contacting our kids.

This blog is an exciting new project for us. We look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

Posted by NIMF Staff @ 1:35 PM