LONDON/WASHINGTON: Credible advertising must admit to being a "paid-for sales pitch" rather than relying on more covert strategies such as product placement and unbranded social media, according to WARC's regular columnist, Tummler.

Many brands are looking to exploit the growing number of tools now available beyond "traditional" forms of advertising, and Tummler focuses on one recent, and striking, example: Procter & Gamble's Zack16 campaign for its feminine hygiene product, Tampax.

An unbranded blog – purportedly written by a teenage boy who “awakes one morning to find his ‘guy parts' gone and replaced with ‘girl parts'” – and a viral video were at the centre of communications, effectively tapping into teens' anxieties and obsessions. (The video can be viewed by clicking here.)

However, while agreeing Zack16 constitutes "a brilliant psychological mishmash", Tummler suggests it is a "hidden sales pitch" that could be seen as mixing entertainment and education, but can equally be regarded as straying uncomfortably close to "brainwashing".

Subscribers to WARC can read Tummler's latest fortnightly column by clicking here.

Data sourced from WARC