ADVERTISING OR PR, TELLING OR SELLING? A QUALITATIVE STUDY ON HOW PRACTITIONERS CONSIDER STEALTH MARKETING AND USER-GENERATED CONTENT IN AN ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
Navarro, Jessica 1984-
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As technology advances and makes online communication available to mass audiences, consumers are increasingly making their opinions on brands, products and services available by generating reviews, posts and conversations online. Unlike traditional forms of advertising and public relations, this form of user-generated content significantly relies on consumer participation and feedback. Previous scholarly literature has noted the value of a third-party endorsement lending credibility to a brand message, and companies seem to agree, devoting significant financial resources and personnel to manage user-generated content online. Additionally, organizations are using “stealth marketing” techniques to imbed producer messages into user content, raising issues of potential ethical considerations for practitioners. Through 12 interviews with practitioners from various backgrounds, this study explores how marketing, advertising and public relations professionals view the value and functional responsibility of user-generated content, along with the ethical implications of working with consumers to create and deliver brand messages.