Tag Archives | Marketing

Upstate New York’s NXIVM: Marketing Business Or Extreme Cult?

raniereIn the 21st century, combining a brainwashing sex cult with a Ponzi-scheme-esque multilevel marketing company makes perfect sense. The Times Union reports:

In a Saratoga County townhouse complex, a man who wears a Jesus beard and seeks to patent his philosophies keeps a cluster of adoring women at his side. He has drawn more than 10,000 people to his mission of ethical living. But some disciples say he has delivered a much darker reality.

Keith Raniere, a multilevel-marketing businessman turned self-improvement guru, has peddled himself as a spiritual being to followers, most of them women. A close-knit group of these women has tended to him, paid his bills and shuttled him around. Several have satisfied his sexual needs. And a few have left their families behind to wrap him in their affections.

Claiming one of the world’s highest IQs and holding three degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Raniere has evolved over the past two decades from the fresh-faced founder of Consumers’ Buyline Inc., a buying club business investigated for being a pyramid scheme, into the 51-year-old intellectual commander of NXIVM, a Colonie-based company promising followers from Canada to Mexico it can “help transform and, ultimately, be an expression of the noble civilization of humans.”

Raniere has convinced some followers he doesn’t drive because his intellectual energy sets off radar detectors.

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Can’t Pay Your Mortgage? Turn Your House Into An Ad

The latest manifestation of the broken housing market and the thousands of homeowners who can’t afford their mortgage payments is an eye-grabbing advertising scheme from marketing company Brainiacs From Mars. If you let them paint your house like this…

brainiacsfrommarshome

… they’ll pay you up to $2,000 a month. Here’s the deal:

We’re looking for houses to paint. In fact, paint is an understatement. We’re looking for homes to
turn into billboards. In exchange, we’ll pay your mortgage every month for as long as your house remains painted.

Here are a few things we’re looking for. You must own your home. It cannot be rented or leased. We’ll paint the entire outside of the house, minus the roof, the windows and any awnings. Painting will take approximately 3 – 5 days. Your house must remain painted for at least one month and may be extended up to a year. If, for any reason, you decide to cancel after one month or if we cancel the agreement with you, we’ll repaint your house back to the original colors.

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Naming Products Like Babies, And Babies Like Products

siriSlate on how branding names and baby names converged. Are our consumer products becoming our babies, and our babies becoming branded items?

We’ve started naming our kids like products—and our products like kids. Parents approach baby naming a lot like product branding. Whereas in the past, names were typically chosen with an eye toward personal significance (a baby was named after a grandparent, say), today’s parents increasingly focus on the public image projected by the name.

Now, as companies introduce technologies that function like people—Siri being the most extreme example to date—they suddenly find themselves with the same kinds of naming challenges as today’s parents-to-be. They have to consider the complex web of cultural meanings that each name carries. They have to ask, as parents do, “What kind of person are we creating, and what name represents that?”

It’s no coincidence, then, that brand names and baby names have begun to converge, as in the case of the Sienna minivan and baby Siennas.

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Occupy-Themed Best Buy Marketing Campaign

Have you been curious how the Occupy movement would be co-opted? Occupy Best Buy combines the red-hot protest movement with Black Power fist iconography in an effort to get people pumped up about buying plasma screen TVs or whatever it is they sell at Best Buy. Definitely the worst of the occupations to spring up so far. Best Buy claims that no affiliation with the web site, though one would suspect that it’s a viral marketing effort:

occupy

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Plus-Sized Model Calls BS On American Apparel: Creates Portfolio To Mock Them

American Apparel

Photo courtesy of American Apparel

It’s taken over twenty years, but American Apparel has finally finally begun offering clothes in size XL. Up until just recently, anything over a “Large” was just plain “not our demographic,” according to American Apparel reps.  It may seem strange that the popular clothing outlet has never provided anything over a size 11, but who here is truly surprised to hear that Don “I’m A Sleazeball And I’m Okay With That” Charney’s company caters exclusively to slender women?

New sizes apparently mean new models to display them, so American Apparel has started a plus-sized model search/contest looking for “booty-ful” women to fill out the new XLs. Women submit photos to American Apparel’s website, where they are then numerically ranked by readers based on their perceived attractiveness.

Anyone who has ever been to a model search can tell you that, despite the abundance of beautiful people, it’s a horribly ugly affair.… Read the rest

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Television Networks Rewrite History Through Product Placement

There sure is a lot of time traveling on television these days. The Consumerist provides an example of the subtly unsettling practice of messing with cinematic/cultural/TV continuity by digitally inserting advertisements from the present into old shows and movies. Just wait until they start slipping “Zookeeper” billboards into footage of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech or Nazi stadium rallies:

For the past few years, networks have been digitally inserting ads and product placements for new products into old reruns. Shannon just noticed one in a rerun of a 2007 episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” In the background on the shelf is a magazine with an ad on the back for the new “Zookeeper” starring Kevin James.

zookeeperbackintime

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Iceland Considers Making Cigarettes Prescription-Only

Photo: Hendrike (CC)

Photo: Hendrike (CC)

Cigarettes seem like the last thing a doctor would prescribe, but Iceland may be moving to outlaw the sale of cigarettes in stores and only allowing pharmacists to dispense them. The proposal was written in hopes of reducing the amount of smokers and emphasizing the health concerns rather than the marketing tactics. Those with a prescription for cigarettes will be considered addicts getting the chemicals their bodies have become accustomed to. The Guardian reports:

Iceland is considering banning the sale of cigarettes and making them a prescription-only product.

The parliament in Reykjavik is to debate a proposal that would outlaw the sale of cigarettes in normal shops. Only pharmacies would be allowed to dispense them – initially to those aged 20 and up, and eventually only to those with a valid medical certificate.

The radical initiative is part of a 10-year plan that also aims to ban smoking in all public places, including pavements and parks, and in cars where children are present.

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