Stealth marketing is a way of marketing a product to the people without giving any information about the product or brand. The most commonly used type of stealth marketing is product placement and undercover marketing. The product placement is about placing the product in movies and TV, placing an endorsement deals with celebrities. The other form is undercover marketing, where advertisers pose as regular people and show products to others who are unaware of the marketing push.
The second form of stealth marketing eventually became one of the most talked advertising campaign during 2002, when Sony Ericsson, launched its stealth marketing campaign for its new mobile phone model T68i. The company wanted to generate buzz on a large scale for the T68i, but the device was such a novel combination of technologies that its marketing department struggled to find a way to both educate and excite consumers with traditional advertising like magazine ads and TV commercials. Two phases of this campaign consist of fake tourists and learners for product demonstration. Sony Ericsson used actors as fake tourists and they ask the passerby to take photos for them. Fake tourist use the opportunity to give more information about the product to the passerby. In the latter circumstance, the actors/actresses were called “leaners”. In various situations, the leaners would be using their latest features on their phones, in the mean time exposing those features to strangers nearby, as well as tried to have them engaged in a conversation and the activities.
Sony Ericsson spent US$5 million on this campaign in an effort to get people talking about their new phones. The campaign ran for 60 days with 60 actors/actresses for the first campaign and 60 actresses for the second campaign working in 10 cities on the mission. The company was satisfied with the result.
Now a days stealth marketing has shifted to digital platform, where companies hire marketers to post positive review for their products on their E-Commerce portal. It will be the most important decision making factor to the customer to buy the product.
Due to these kind of false marketing questions arise about the ethical issue in stealth marketing. But stealth marketing has not lost its position among the advertisers to market their product. It depends on the customer to identify the false marketing and the risk involved in it.
“No one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves”