If it's Monday, it's time for a Wall Street Journal trend piece on a trend several weeks past its expiration date. We're talking about those MySpace pages that are very very thinly veiled advertisements, but which still allow one to become "friends" with the product in question (such as the movie World Trade Center). Dead trend piece aside, the WSJ article nevertheless contains a raft of quotable gems, unflinchingly shared after the jump.
For example, what's the motivation for advertisers to tart up a MySpace page?
But the real appeal to advertisers is the opportunity to create personal relationships with millions of actual young people. "What we really struck upon is the power of friendship," says Michael Barrett, chief revenue officer for News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media and overseer of these deals.
The power of fictional friendship with Will Ferrell's fictional Ricky Bobby character was enough to motivate 32-year-old (sigh) MySpace user Michael Poirer:
Not only did he add Ricky Bobby to his friend list, he changed his own profile picture to be that of Mr. Ferrell as Ricky Bobby. Mr. Poirier had an ulterior motive: he hoped a picture of Ricky Bobby would spark interest in his disc jockeying business.
"It's almost like a signal to your brain, 'Hey let's check that guy out,' " says Mr. Poirier.
"Disc jockeying business?" Are we writing for a Victorian audience now? And a signal to whose brain? Not all MySpace users are so easily tooled or fooled:
Some fans are drawing the line. Renzo Serrada, a 21-year-old college student from Freemont, Calif., has Ricky Bobby listed as his "friend," but turned down the Burger King king.
"That's a little bit too far when they start adding fast-food mascots," says Mr. Serrada.
You tell 'em, Renzo. Your friendship and brain-signals are reserved only for advertising icons that appear directly in the product advertised.