This week on the social networks of the Integrated Marketing Communications program I direct at St. Bonaventure University, we shared a link about Monday’s Grammy Awards ceremony.
The link was to a Rolling Stone story about the best and worst moments of the ceremony. A little more than halfway through the article, the authors wrote that one of the evening’s worst moments was when Gwen Stefani won a Grammy for integrated marketing.
Obviously, there is no Grammy for integrated marketing, but what Rolling Stone took issue with was the product of a campaign that involved a popular entertainer, a staged roller-skating accident and a live music video that ended with the logo of the store where consumers can purchase Stefani’s new album with four bonus tracks. All of this may have rubbed some folks the wrong way, but it did create a buzz and excitement about Stefani and her latest work.
The whole episode reminds me of the term pseudo-event, which was coined in 1961 by historian Daniel J. Boorstin. “It is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted, or incited it,” Boorstin explained in his book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America.
More than 50 years later, pseudo-events are more prevalent than ever. IMC professionals are likely to find it tempting to incorporate them into plans and strategies. Used properly, pseudo-events can be effective, but they also can lead down a treacherous path. To be successful in this field, one must be creative and innovative, but most important of all, one must be ethical.
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