all my friends are advertising to me | the future of marketing

I hate my friends. And I am convinced they are all being paid to advertise products to me.

Exhibit A:

iPhone Text

an all too common conversation

I consider myself relatively immune to television and web advertisements. Very rarely does any form of marketing do it for me. Short of the occasional viral campaign, I pay very little mind to promotions. However, I started noticing something funny happening the past several years. Casually, the names of companies that have plenty of money budgeted for marketing started slipping into daily conversation among those closest to me.

But I’m not talking about the subtle advertising that occurs with people inadvertently wearing big name brands smack-dab on the middle of their shirts, all while paying the company for the privilege. No this is different. I’m talking a full scale interjection of keywords into daily conversation, similar to Google’s advertising system. A few cents for naturally bringing a brand name into conversation, a few more cents if the discussion then focuses on the keywords, and then the big bucks if that conversation converts into me putting money on the table.

Here’s my guess at the breakdown.

  1. Brings the “keyword” into the conversation ($.05)
  2. Keeps the conversation flowing around the keyword ($.13)
  3. Direct result of this conversation results in me spending money somewhere ($1.70)

Keep tabs on your friends the next couple days and monitor how much money you spend because of their recommendations. I think you’ll start to feel as nutty as I do about this whole system in place. Quickly you’ll notice certain coworkers having biases towards specific lunch stops, or a friend who wants to really see a movie that might not otherwise fit their normal tastes, perhaps a significant other who pledges allegiance to brand names on a regular rotation. There’s no randomness here sheeple, this is all too real.

For me, it first started slow: the occasional suggestion of a specific restaurant, a retelling of a great experience with a customer service rep, expressing interest in seeing a movie that seemed out of character…

But it quickly escalated. Before I completely caught on, I found myself dating a woman who eats nowhere but S-u-b-w-a-y for lunch, a roommate who always prefers the O-l-i-v-e G-a-r-d-e-n for dinner despite how terrible their food is, and a best friend who drinks nothing but C-o-o-r-s L-i-g-h-t, the water of beers.

Now I can’t go a day without hearing countless brand names amongst my friends, family and coworkers. And my curiosity and greed have quickly gotten the best of me. I want in on this.

So here goes nothing — A few examples of how I could incorporate brand names into these common every day conversations for a small fee:

“Ahh man, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been trapped in a mine for over three months. I’ve got the best Old Spice body wash to both clean and revitalize your skin and scent!”

“Wait, you’ve just been convicted to life in prison and will be shipped to a deserted island with all the other inmates where only the last standing survivor will be given freedom? I recommend picking up a few lifetime guaranteed Martha Stewart Collection knives to ensure you come out on top.”

“You mean to tell me you’re now limited to three dollars a day for food and are looking to put on a few pounds before the winter to save money on your electric bill? I think McDonald’s Double Cheeseburgers are perfect for the task.”

“You’ve been asked by NASA to be sent as deep into space as possible over the next fifty years? Why not download everybody’s favorite phone app, Angry Birds, to really get you through those boring times, it will never get old!”

See — I’m a natural. At least more natural than this guy:

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