How often do you see someone post information promoting their product or themselves closing with #shamelessplug? I’m sure we have seen it plenty of times by now. Type “#shamelessplug” in your search engine on Instagram, and 28,216 posts come up using that hashtag. Here is one from today that we found with a user’s business card: “Boom #official. Go ahead and hit me up for all your printer/printing needs. #shamelessplug.” A shameless plug is a term popularly known on the Internet for when someone includes extra information that is off-topic to advance their own selfish interests. The icing on the cake is that this person willingly admits that their act was selfish and that they have no shame. So, calling something a “shameless plug” practically allows you to spam anyone that you want without any guilt whatsoever. Has this only been a recent trend? We don’t think so.
Trending Since 1925
The shameless plug has been trending ever since TV shows and films started using product placements in their storylines. Billions of dollars have been invested in this “shameless plug” marketing strategy. The first product placement in cinema can be awarded to the film “The Lost World” in 1925. The Corona Typewriter appeared in the film per the agreement between the company and First National Pictures, a movie studio. Product placements can be found prior to filmmaking, but their overwhelming presence didn’t become apparent until then. Cracked.com gives its top 10 shameless plugs for product placements here.
With the growth of social media, companies have begun using celebrities as their platform for marketing. TheFreeLibrary.com says that “this new type of celebrity endorsement–and its lack of clarity–is drawing the attention of federal officials, who have been trying to regulate product placement in TV shows, movies, and in other media for decades.” The issue now is public trust. Are celebrities giving their opinions or is this paid advertising? Do these celebrities actually use these products, or are they just saying that they do? Justin Bieber tweeted that he was buying flowers for his mom on Mother’s Day from a specific flower company. Did he actually buy flowers? Was it because he wanted to? Or was he paid for it? Read more on this topic here.
How Far is Too Far with the Shameless Plug?
What is considered appropriate advertising? How can we adjust accordingly and do what’s best for the interests of companies and customers? This is definitely an issue that should be discussed. At what point do our opinions and suggestions become void and invalid? If there is an overload of shameless plugs, people disengage and stop listening. If people feel like you are spamming them, they will no longer trust your opinion. This could lead to everyone shouting what they think is best and to people never getting what they really need. Does this sound familiar to you? Are we already heading in that direction? Can we turn back? Should we? Or is it too late?