Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 26, 2009 05:37 PM
Corporations, news outlets and bloggers continue to struggle to navigate the new environment caused by the overlap between social media and traditional media. The latest casualty is freelance writer Mike Albo, who lost his New York Times "Critical Shopper" column today after questions were raised about a Jamaica weekend trip for bloggers he joined that was sponsored by the men's shopping website Thrillist.
But despite new Federal Trade Commission rules that require bloggers to fully disclose any rewards they receive for promoting products, "flogging" (like Coke's Expedition 206 world blogging tour) is likely to grow as social media spirals upward. Consumer giants are more avid than ever about using ordinary consumers to promote their brands through blogs, videos, and social networking.
Coke's bloggers will visit Coca-Cola sponsored events, such the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and the World Expo in Shanghai. "The global adoption of social media has given us a way to deliver a year-long reality TV series without the TV," says Adam Brown Coca-Cola's director of digital communications and social media.
For Proctor & Gamble, long known for consumer involvement, sponsored blogging is a natural. Their Charmin toilet paper brand, as we reported last week, is going to select five "brand ambassadors" to blog from restrooms in New York's Times Square. (For brands seeking a close connection with consumers, it doens't get much more personal than that.)
Albo, the fired New York Times freelancer, was philosophical about losing his gig. He told New York magazine, "I look forward to trying on cashmere sweaters I can’t afford for other publications."