In case you haven’t noticed, vampires seem to be all the rage these days. I’ve heard of people sporting “bite me” license plates on their cars and there is a whole assortment of bumper stickers, jewelry, clothing and other merchandise that displays an insanely desire to be one of them.
Undoubtedly, the recent string of Stephanie Meyer books (amazon affiliate link), including the Twilight saga, have ratcheted up attention about these evil fiends.
While stories about vampires have been around for centuries in some form or another, Meyer’s gave us a whole new spin. Instead of being evil, she romanticized these characters as cursed beings who had a choice between being good or evil. Talk about having a good PR agent. Meyers has taken one of the most evil of all monsters and cast the vampire as a teenaged hunk with a slight biting problem who is simply looking for the love of his life.
Think about the genius behind what Meyers has done. She is probably one of the best marketers around. It’s like taking Charles Manson and turning him into a teenage heart throb. Now consider the flip side of her vampire characters. Behind the perfectly chiseled looks there is something else going on all together. When you read about vampires almost anywhere else you learn that they are cursed. They are doomed to walk the Earth for an eternity and must prey on other men for their blood. They are constantly in fear of being hunted down and destroyed. There is simply nothing romantic about it.
Let’s face it, millions of teens worldwide seem to love Meyer’s version of the vampire. I, for one, don’t. They scare the crap out of me. But I do admire Meyer’s skills and there it a valuable lesson for all of us marketers and small business people to learn from – great marketing can sell even the most evil of products (but this doesn’t make it right).
Propagandizers, Evil PR Agents and Crooked Marketers
Let’s face it. Those of us in the marketing, advertising and public relations business often get a bad wrap. But often, it is a well deserved one. We live in a country where our trade has been used for all kinds of bad stuff:
- Political campaigns
- Bad agendas
- Spinning bad companies out of messes
- Hiding celebrity and political messes
- Selling teens on warped image of beauty
- Making America fatter
- Diet fads
- Countless bad products
- Rampant consumerism
It isn’t a stretch to say that our industry has a reputation that is very similar to that of the traditional vampire. We’re evil. Our job is to sell stuff, sell ideas. And the most evil among us use their vampire-like abilities to prey on a public that doesn’t always need what we’re selling.
There’s a Choice
I will admit it, I read Meyer first book. I had to see what all the fuss was about and though I respect her abilities, I really hated the book. I’ve always preferred the other image of the vampire – an evil creature of the night that was meant to be hunted down and killed. The nice thing is that we in the communications industry have a choice.
Unlike fictional vampires, we are not cursed or doomed. We can make a decision to help good causes. We can use our skills to help raise awareness about great companies that actually care about the communities they do business in. We have the ability to help great products win when they really deserve to. We can take an active role in making this nation into the greatest it has ever been.
Sure, there will always be those annoying people out there that send me spam via every possible route they can. These folks will continue to ruin great things like email, Twitter and facebook. The nice this is that we as consumers can choose to ignore it. That’s the beauty of America. While we have the right to freedom of speech, we have the right to be educated and to ignore or block out the stuff we don’t want in our lives.