Undercover Marketing Uncovered In The NYT

The New York Times, in an article titled "The Secret Agents of Capitalism Are All Around Us," profiled "undercover marketing" techniques used recently to promote an undisclosed brand of water in fashionable Lower East Side Manhatten bars. "Facially attractive" twentysomething shills were hired by Big Fat Promotions, a marketing firm that "uses guerilla, grassroots, and nightlife marketing to motivate consumers to take action." The shills were paid to go to trendy bars and "talk to as many people as possible and, when appropriate, subtly impart the sponsor's message...." Undercover marketing has drawn criticism because its practioners do not disclose to their target audience that they are being paid to promote a product.