Psychology of Consumer Behaviour |

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Transformers- Let's pretend it's not advertising

While General Motors is taking bailout money, they are also unveiling 5 concept cars at the auto show that will star in the latest Transformers sequel. An attempt to improve it's now not so good image- a little Robotic shape-shift?

Christie Nordhielm, associate professor of marketing at the University of Michigan believes when you want to change your image, the best way ... is with what appears to be non-paid promotion. She says, "You want to stay clear of advertising."

The retro cartoon of the 80s evokes nostalgic feelings and resonates with men in their late 20s to mid-30s, and is popular with kids. It's a story of good vs evil. There's even a kind of cult of Transformers. This past weekend, thousands of fans congregated at Botcon in Providence, an annual convention for Transformers fans. That's involvement!

The Transformers sequel is not just product placement, it's product immersion. They're selling GM as ROBOT hero.

Wikepedia gives us a brief list of typical robot characteristics:
  • It is artificially created.
  • It can sense its environment, and manipulate or interact with things in it.
  • It has some ability to make choices based on the environment, often using automatic control or a preprogrammed sequence.
  • It is programmable.
  • It moves with one or more axes of or translation.
  • It makes coordinated movements.
  • It moves without direct human intervention.
  • It appears to have intent or agency.
Now, I love a good robot. If you notice I have my favourite Robot to the left, but my Robot hero isn't GM and I'm not so sure that a gas guzzling machine is the answer... but I get the distinct impression they have an intent to artificially manipulate me.

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