I don’t think I like this.  Not sure I even want to write about it, to play into it.  It’s one thing to create a campy faux sitcom like this one to promote a brand, but Garnier has begun to patronize.

The premise goes something like this:### Like many other brands, Garnier created an online show to promote a new line of hair gel.  The show’s apparently idealistic creator became angered by the product plugs and tries to expose the excessive commercialism of the advertisement with a blog, citing his gripes, and featuring videos of his extended altercation with aloof, greedy executives. 

“I will take you on a journey where a family man and humble artist is slowly and painfully corrupted by promises of fame and fortune – a simple trip where good intentions, nice people, and a great idea are ruined by Hollywood attorneys, advertising leeches, and New York shampoo shills. You will see a man, who formerly advocated concepts such as creative integrity and artistic vision, reduced to parroting advertising industry idiotisms like “branded content” and “product placement”. YES!”

Entertaining commercials and deep brand integration can be meaningful media, but when marketers create a fake controversy around the integrity of content, it strikes a nerve.  They’re reinforcing their tactics under the guise of crazed denouncement, and it works because this product and tactic appeal to the same privileged urbanites that create marketing campaigns…or approve their financing.  

“It’s a little bit of a wink to the industry,” Cheryl Vitali, senior vice president for marketing for the Garnier and Maybelline New York brands at the L’Oréal division told the New York Times.

The videos themselves are a playful homage to the famous sitcom, Three’s Company, with a slightly less-subtle innuendo worn with a wink.  Actually, I think the videos are really well done.

But the framing of this media within a fake controversy, dismissive of a conversation about the integrity of branded media that we probably should have, makes me want to bury my head from this onslaught of increasingly inventive (intrusive) and ironic (cynical) branding.

Then again, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? These tactics have created enough interest to make me and many others write about Garnier’s new styling gel, so it must be a success. 

Don’t forget: This is all brought to by Garnier Fructis Style Bold It! Endurance Gel and Power Putty. 😉

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