The Rise of Friendvertising

What is friendvertising?

Well, have you noticed how corporations have changed the way they sell to us?

Sure, you still get the TV commercials and magazine or newspaper adverts, but there’s a more subversive form of advertising that’s taking over.

Before I go on, let me ask you something. When was the last time you saw an image or video that you loved so much you shared it with your friends on social media?

Was it produced by a corporation?

If it was, you’ve been friendvertising without even knowing it.

Friendvertising is how you become an unwitting advocate for a brand. You see companies have finally gotten wise to the fact that you trust your friends far more than you trust them. If the company tells you their product is perfect for you, you’ll probably shrug it off, but if your friends tell you about a great product they’ve found, you’re more likely to go out and buy it.

I must admit that the first time I came across the term friendvertising was after reading this article in the Guardian.

One of the examples they cite is the most shared ad of 2013, Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches.

I’d not seen it before, but I have to say it made me tear up. It’s an incredibly emotional narrative that made me feel compelled to share it with others. Why? Because it looks at a subject that affects everyone (not just women); everyone can relate to it and everyone knows someone they’d want to share it with.

Clever or exploitative?

Are large corporations using you?


How do you feel about that?

Only you can answer that.

Social media and especially Facebook have opened up your ‘friendship channels’ to marketers. I guess you can call is the 21st century version of ‘word of mouth’; it’s just that the actual advert is far more subversive than the good old days.

What are your thoughts on friendvertising? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.

Author: Sally Ormond

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