Welcome!  If you’re just joining our beginner’s guide to spotting sleaze in re: online marketing I hope you’ll join in for a moment and share your experiences and theories about this fascinating industry.  Since I tend to be a purist, I’d say that Online Marketing has invaded Social media, my mecca of purity and delight where people just have meeting of the minds and come together over completely arcane subjects and commonly pressing issues alike.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

And yet, online marketing is just as valid an activity as anything else, as long as it is done with integrity.  You have to have something TRUE to say that is important and wonderful.  And telling it in a convincing, attention getting way is an Art!

Today’s Mark of the Sleaze: Irrelevant Appeals

One delicious thrill about about exposing online marketing sleaze is that there is always an abundance of proof on hand to illustrate a point.  While taking a handy shot for Signs of the South, it occurred to me that this illustrates a perfectly irrelevant appeal:

Dumpster, Porto Potty, and American Flag
Seen along a hwy in Georgia

What could be sillier than associating an American flag with a Porto Potty and a dumpster, unless you’re making a radically negative political statement?  And yet, in Georgia it’s easy to see where this irrelevant appeal is the kind that makes an appeal to authority.  If the American flag symbolizes God, Mother, Home, and Apple Pie, then renting your dumpster from a company that appears to hold the same values begins to make sense.  Why else would car dealerships wave gigantic flags over their lots?  It hits a powerful emotional trigger for some, but tells nothing about:

√  Their Product

√  Their Price

√  Their Service

What’s actually covered?!

It Happens The Same Way With Online Marketing

Now it’s your turn:

Where have you seen irrelevant appeals like this out or online?  Do you have any funny or outrageous stories about totally irrelevant online marketing? Please scroll down to the comments box below and share your feedback.  Thanks!!

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