Bloggers Speak with Panasonic NA Chairman Yoshi Yamada

Brian Morrissey in Adweek covers the latest influencer campaign from Panasonic:

Among the hundreds of journalists at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week there are five people producing reams of copy, photos and video about the show, new product demos and press conferences. Unlike the reporters, though, they are popular bloggers in Las Vegas courtesy of Panasonic.

The Panasonic program is one of several undertaken by brands carving out a new take on the old notion of advertorial. Rather than relying on magazines, they are contracting with influential bloggers who bring with them their own powerful distribution networks. Rather than a long-form narrative, content is fit for the Web via blog posts, Twitter updates and YouTube videos. And the key differentiator: instead of dictating the content to lead to a sale, brands typically keep their distance to maintain credibility.

Panasonic wanted to build cachet among Internet influencers for its array of tech products. As part of its “Living in High Definition” push, Crayon [a social media agency] recruited five bloggers to travel to CES on Panasonic’s dime. Panasonic footed the bill for their travel and passes to the event while also loaning them digital video and still cameras. The bloggers, which include popular Internet figures Chris Brogan and Steve Garfield, will also meet with Panasonic executives and preview products.

It’s good to see the sort of work we’re doing getting mainstream coverage in Adweek and that savvy brands like Panasonic understand the competitive advantage campaigns like this can bring.

However, Brian is wrong to view these sort of campaigns as ‘advertorial’ (and in the same article bracket them with ‘pay per post’ type campaigns) – what Panasonic have done (and we do with our influencer campaigns and advocacy programmes) is generate genuine, emotive and far-reaching Word of Mouth, which is substantively different to crude advertorial (or even dispassionate editorial) copy.