Strange campaign from Netezza

April 11, 2009
60 Views

Netezza is an impressive company, no argument there. I’ve met some folks from there that I’ve really enjoyed talking to, and they deliver an impressive product (though it’s cost has continued to rise since the early days).

However, this “Data Liberators” campaign is somewhat odd, another case of misguided use of social marketing and “from the trenches” fakery.

The name is cute: The Data Liberators. They have a somewhat stilted and odd blog at http://www.dataliberators.com/. They do have t-shirts and such with the logo, which is kind of violent, but some will like it. They have a twitter account, yadda yadda.

But, as usual, you have to read into it with some effort to discover that the whole thing is just an ad for Netezza. It’s not a movement for data independence ala Health Records or Facebook export, or even for providing more real consumer benefits of any kind. Netezza is mentioned here and there, but there is no copyright, no “sponsored by”, nothing to make it clear that this is an ad. Yes, they drop a few tiny hints: the writer is “ntza1” and their “Policy Truth” news

Netezza is an impressive company, no argument there. I’ve met some folks from there that I’ve really enjoyed talking to, and they deliver an impressive product (though it’s cost has continued to rise since the early days).

However, this “Data Liberators” campaign is somewhat odd, another case of misguided use of social marketing and “from the trenches” fakery.

The name is cute: The Data Liberators. They have a somewhat stilted and odd blog at http://www.dataliberators.com/. They do have t-shirts and such with the logo, which is kind of violent, but some will like it. They have a twitter account, yadda yadda.

But, as usual, you have to read into it with some effort to discover that the whole thing is just an ad for Netezza. It’s not a movement for data independence ala Health Records or Facebook export, or even for providing more real consumer benefits of any kind. Netezza is mentioned here and there, but there is no copyright, no “sponsored by”, nothing to make it clear that this is an ad. Yes, they drop a few tiny hints: the writer is “ntza1” and their “Policy Truth” newsletter is hosted at netezza.com.

But only on this sign-up page do you see “©2008-2009 Netezza Corporation All Rights Reserved”. I suspect the realized that if they are collecting identifiers, it’s probably smart to leave some clue who they are, even if they feel no need to mention a privacy policy. And if you read the source code of the page, they reveal more of the truth (but not all of it) in the meta tags (clearly to them, it is more important to cater to the search engines than to your potential customers.)

Look, I love a clever campaign as much as the next guy. But I hate, hate, hate misleading ads. Virals that are staged to look “amateur”, fake “movements”, all of these cries for attention are saying “we have to lie to you to get you to listen to us”. Is the the kind of brand perception you really want?

Yes, by going over the top with a bombastic style and a few hints, Netezza hopes that savvy readers will get that this is an ad. And I’m sure someone mentioned that the best ads are ones that drive use of the product without mentioning it. Sometimes, that’s true. This is not one of those times.

My suggestion: Put an “about us”. Explain that the “movement” is a funny take on some real concerns, and that it’s sponsored by Netezza. It’s OK to raise FUD if there really is an issue to consider.

Netezza, you might be right about how Oracle is approaching big data. But after reading this ad, my trust of using your stuff to host my data dropped a few pegs,and that’s too bad. You guys changed how big data is stored and paved the way for the rise of data-driven corps by making the cost a fraction of Teradata; continue to keep our attention with more technical wizardry instead of misleading marketing.


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