Is it just my perception or is the fake news phenomenon not slowing down at all? When Facebook announced that it would weed out false reporting I was hopeful it would come to an end. Instead, the frequency of misleading sponsored posts on my timeline has increased and the phenomenon is getting deeper ingrained into our journalistic and even scientific culture. Let me tell you how.
Fascinated by retail in Thailand, I started paying attention to the differences compared to its Western counterpart. One distinction is related to branding in casual wear and denim. Where Western advertising highlights when a brand was conceived, the Thai counterpart emphasizes where it originates from. This historical infatuation with foreign products has led to an ingenious new approach to branding. Counterfeit products and licencing are out. Inventing foreign brands is in.
While researching another blog post today, I made a remarkable observation. German online retailer Zalando seems to practice considerable direct price discrimination. In Belgium, the exact same Nike shoe is priced at double the priced it is listed at in the UK. Normally it wouldn’t have caught my attention: the British pound has been subject to significant devaluation lately and a different market may imply a different supplier or fulfillment cost. A 100% markup can’t be explained by those arguments, though. Further snooping around revealed that the UK and Belgian sites must be selling the exact same physical shoes, as both list a single pair in size 12.5 available. Not exactly the consumer benefit you were expecting after eliminating boundaries and physical stores, now did ya?
Maybe it’s just the remarkable advertising profile Facebook has given me, but adverts on my Facebook wall have been strange for a while. Endless Kickstarter wristwatch suggestions have just given way to middle-aged women with the intention to show their knickers. Written in fluent Gibberish, this particular one reads something like On the feelings of a woman alone, you will have experienced differently. Passion impulse, tremendous delight from here. Recipes, tips and all things kitchen for any level of chef. The links leads to either this blank website or this Facebook page with a picture of a smiling girl. Strange, isn’t it? Who pays for such useless publicity?
Last year, I started noticing the increasing amount of empty roadside billboards in Thailand. One year later, this phenomenon has only gained ground. The trend seems to be a general one: in Bangkok, around Suvarabhumi airport, in Pattaya, alongside Mittraphap Road (Route 2) into Isaan … more and more real-world ad space remains unused. Are marketing budgets directed elsewhere? Indicative of a recession? I’m genuinely curious.
In this age of anything, anytime and anywhere it still astounds me how so many people are prepared to pay multiple times for resources that are available freely and are just a click away. Without giving it a second thought, people happily pay on separate occasions for commodities that were available for free to begin with. Music, for example, has basically become a commodity: wherever you buy a song, it always sounds the same. Yet paying for it in the record store, on iTunes and in Spotify is common … while you can listen to virtually any song at any time for free. Contemporary marketing has really mastered psychological framing.
This promoted tweet (i.e. paid advertisement on Twitter) is by Lamplight Plamlight, Asia’s Premier Social Data Analysis Company. Misspelled the company name and lost a key word out of the message to be conveyed. Wonder what the results of this analysis will be. There’s faking till you make it and than there is overreaching, guys.