Stealth Marketing

I frequently go on to Apple Trailers to look out for interesting movies that are upcoming or that I’ve been missing out. They offer a good mix of films from Hollywood as well as some independent film makers. Recently, The Joneses caught my attention. Their own movie site is not exactly ready yet but here’s the synopsis from IMDb:

“The Joneses”, a social commentary on our consumerist society. Perfect couple Steve and Kate Jones, and their gorgeous teen-aged children Jenn and Mick, are the envy of their posh, suburban neighborhood filled with McMansions and all the trappings of the upper middle class. Kate is the ultimate trend setter – beautiful, sexy, dressed head-to-toe in designer labels. Steve is the admired successful businessman who has it all: a gorgeous wife, big house and an endless supply of high-tech toys. Jenn and Mick rule their new school as they embody all that is hip and trendy – cool clothes, fast cars and the latest gadgets. But as the neighbors try to keep up with the Joneses, none are prepared for the truth about this all- too perfect family.

The Joneses
The Joneses

Obviously, the title comes from the English catchphrase, Keeping up with the Joneses but the idea is interesting. The Joneses is a perfect family made up to market goods to the upscale gated community by a stealth marketing organization. I do suspect that big companies does this sort of things at times but probably more through viral marketing than to consciously employ people to befriend potential customers and introduce goods to them. Whether this is considered ethical, is perhaps what the movie is exploring.

In a sense, the movie calls for a reflection on how social forces are increasingly shaping our economic lives, and at the same time questioning the value of relationships.