Friday, October 31, 2008

Green Machine, MSNBC, The Incredile Hulk: Stealth Cross Marketing

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The Green Machine: MSNBC News “pimps” their ride
by London Shearer Allen

When MSNBC posted an Incredible Hulk, "Green Machine" quiz--it was part of a publicity campaign for Universal Studio's new movie. However, there was no disclosure by MSNBC that they were helping promote their parent company's product. At the same time they were helping promote the Hulk,"Green Machine," MSNBC was also marketing yet another "Green Machine"-- their own, so-called, news gathering vehicle. Note: Even the slogan emblazoned on the MSNBC "green machine" car states, "green is universal." Is this coincidence or another nod to Universal Studios?

MSNBC and Fox News election coverage has gone green – did anyone notice? News reports have been coming in from the two networks’ “ecologically friendly newsgathering vehicles.” Fox News’ dubbed theirs the ‘ Election Link’ vehicle. One assumes MSNBC’s more whimsical name, “Green Machine,” refers to the green movement – right?

Maybe not. MSNBC’s Green Machine, a Ford Escape, was launched on the Nightly News, April 22, 2008. NBC parent company of MSNBC, had already “debuted” the “mean green streaming machine" aka the new Ford Escape, with cross-marketing on its Today show, the day before, April 21st. Three weeks later, Universal Studios (a.k.a NBC) released its feature film “The Incredible Hulk,” also marketed as “the Green Machine,” on June 13th, 2008.

By June 15, MSNBC News website published a “quiz” titled, “Hulk out! Take our green machine quiz. How much do you know about the Incredible Hulk?” The problem? There was no disclosure that MSNBC and Universal, the maker of the Green Machine, are both properties of NBC Universal Inc. Note: Even the news vehicle slogan is "green is universal." Another coincidence or just shrewd marketing? You choose.

So that fun quiz you took on the MSNBC News site, depending on how you look at it, is either an advertisement in disguise or a promotion of the movie masked as editorial content. Such options leave little room for optimism.

Fake product placement? What other chicanery can be found at the GE-owned network?

Continue reading: The “Green Machine”: MSNBC News “pimps” their ride

by London Shearer Allen
image/source: The “Green Machine”: MSNBC News “pimps” their ride

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