Stealth Advertising

Have you heard the concept of stealth advertising? It’s proof that we’ve officially gone insane.

I heard the term recently when discussing with co-workers the possible validity of the viral video showing people popping popcorn with cell phones. I’m sure that most of you have heard about the video by now, but for those who haven’t, the video shows several groups of people who put three or four cell phones on a table, surrounding unpopped kernels of popcorn. They then call all of the phones, and within seconds of the phones ringing in unison, the kernels of popcorn all pop to the unbridled amazement of those gathered around the phones.

While we had briefly considered buying popcorn to try it (although I wanted to try to pop the corn on my MacBook Pro instead since I knew that would work!), we realized that it was most likely a hoax. A quick search on the Web proved that to be the case–the video was fake. (See YouTube for the fake video and the video talking about it being a hoax).

The video was prepared as a form of stealth advertising, meaning that the purpose of creating the fake video about popping popcorn with cell phones was to sell a product in a way that wasn’t obvious. The idea of selling products in an indirect way has been around for a very long time, but the concept of stealth advertising seems to take that idea a step further in order to try to sell a product with absolutely no indication that it’s an ad. It’s not indirect selling; it’s stealthy, or secretive, selling. That makes as much sense as trying to sell Coca-Cola by showing someone drinking a Pepsi.

Regardless of the lack of logic of this type of advertising, I’m confident that the term stealth advertising will become very popular.


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