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The Rise of Armchair Marketing

cats wearing hats gif imgur Rise of Armchair Marketing The Awl

Most notable is the amount of scorekeeping going on: many of the highest-voted comments are criticizing not only McDonald’s as a brand but the company’s brandstrategy—these actions are being received earnestly but with a full and demonstrated awareness of their execution as marketing. It’s armchair brand management, expressing interest and concern not just in the company or its products or its marketing, but in the optics of its marketing.

Denny’s joined over the weekend:

The Rise of Armchair Marketing The Awl


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This is a brand dream—a vision of a future in which they are dramatically empowered, at least in comparison to the publications they used to depend on for coverage—and a transitional demonstration. 

Burger King’s placement of an ad in the New York Times led to countless articles in publications, which reached—largely through social media—a great but difficult-to-quantify number of fans, whose reactions would be influenced in part the source of the story; its simultaneous posts on Facebook, which used the Times ad as a mere prop, garnered huge and direct interaction, and ultimately set the venue for the response from McDonald’s. Which prong of this campaign do you think is going to come up in more meetings this year? 

That the comments they produced are jarringly straightforward is a triumph of context, and a testament to the power of simplified, streamlined consumption that a front-to-back, top-to-bottom managed system like Facebook can provide. The irritated or confused or cynical comments we might be accustomed to seeing under a typical #brandwar story, even on Facebook, might just be attributable to messiness and noise—people reacting to coverage and aggregation and links rather than to the matter at hand, because they’re seeing something that, really, they don’t much want to see, or they’re seeing something they wanted to see delivered indirectly by an inexplicable middleman with a chip on its shoulder.

Here were have a much simpler hierarchy, and one within which publications—the ones that would have previously noted and recorded brand interactions with, at best, a slight gesture of antagonism—would just be getting in the way, and so are marginalized: Brands, which are verified, are performing on a special stage alongside celebrities and politicians, who are also verified, to an increasingly well-sorted unverified audience that is ready to cheer them on or tear them down within boundaries established by the platform on which they’re engaging. It’s Facebook’s intentional design and structure of authority expressed through human behavior, and it’s translating startlingly well.

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