If I Tell You To Buy This Car -- Or That One -- Would You?

The other day a guy wrote that "maybe it is time to shift some budget out of push advertising and into an influencer program....The idea is getting trusted and influential people to talk about your brand, both offline and online. It is about turning people into media channels.... Reaching out and finding thought leaders and experts is a start. Also [finding] people with strong social or blog followings on the appropriate subjects."

While the author might want to update himself on Google's latest efforts to punish brands that hire "influencers" to pitch their stuff without the appropriate disclosures, his column got me to thinking: "Hey, I'M an influencer!"

I have written about 600 columns for MediaPost in the past dozen years or so. Sure, lots of them have been ignored by folks who lack a sense of humor — or who take life in the ad business a wee bit too seriously — but every once in a while, I strike a nerve and get lots of comments, shares and hate mail. So who is to say that I cannot influence?



I have exceptionally fine taste in movies, TV shows — and other ways to kill time staring mindlessly at oversized screens. If I tell you to watch “The Americans,” “Billions,” “Black Sails” or “Shameless,” you should. If I tell you not to watch any reality TV, you shouldn't.

But since I generally don't write about movies and TV shows (only the advertising that ruins them), I guess I'm not on the lists of "influencers" agencies keep for their entertainment-production clients.

Given my content track record, I should be on the list of every entity that advises tech stacks or creative agencies, since I am constantly yammering about how unnecessarily complex the digital ad process has become — and how I think most Super Bowl commercials suck.

But I suppose you could argue that it's hard to imagine an email from one agency exec to another saying “Hey, you should read what this Simpson guy has to say about our strategy — he makes some good points."

Probably because I, like Bob Garfield, tend not to render much useful, actionable opinion but instead: ”Come down out of the hills after the battle and shoot the wounded."

While Bob likes to crucify PR people (and who blames him?), I tend to write about people who raise their hands and say "Look at me." This might be in the form of an interview, a news story, a piece of content (like my boy who thinks you should spend more on influencers) or some other public POV.  This is pretty low-hanging fruit, since a lot of people in the ad business say some pretty deliciously stupid things nearly every day.

If I had any influence to peddle, it would be around the idea of clarity. I can't stand those who obfuscate with jargon, bullshit and convoluted prose trying to make something sound more important than it really is.

The objective of communications is to be heard and understood, not to leave the audience wondering what in the hell you are really talking about. I don't care what you are selling, stop trying to make an impression and get that elevator pitch down to about 25 cogent words.

Lastly, I don't want to rule out anyone from sending me free products to comment on.  Like most everyone else in this business, I have my price.

2 comments about "If I Tell You To Buy This Car -- Or That One -- Would You?".
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  1. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, March 18, 2016 at 11:38 a.m.

    Even though The Auto Channel offers tons (millions of pages) of unbiased automotive info and data and has done so for over 20 years...the animals at Google just don't justly value truthful and plentiful in context data anymore. There are more  huzzahs placed by the bots on content for mobile readability than on th econtent itself and how helpful it is for the reader...  

  2. George Simpson from George H. Simpson Communications, March 18, 2016 at 12:53 p.m.

    The settlement with Machinima;sets an important legal precedent for influencer campaigns, and could potentially impact all future influencer campaigns that involve the posting of online product endorsements.Under this new ruling, parties that could be affected in the future include advertisers and brands that hire influencers for these types of campaigns, without clearly delineating the true nature of the advertisements. Likewise, content creators who engage in unscrupulous product endorsements are also liable to future regulatory oversight from the FTC.

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