Astroturf Marketing Kent
What is Astroturfing?
Astroturfing a subset of public relations, where companies create the impression of a spontaneous movement of people towards the support of a certain cause, when in fact it is being coordinated by one company.
Astroturfing campaigns are usually organised by companies to persuade prominent figures, often politicians, that there is strong support behind their cause.
Why use Astroturfing?
Astroturfing can be used to influence the government into passing certain legislation, to provide the initial push to drum up public support, or as part of a more traditional public relations strategy.
Astroturfing has been used frequently by businesses to pay people to express favourable comments about them online, and it’s also beginning to be used by those in political circles.
As Tom Rosenstiel, the director of Project for Excellence in Journalism, notes - the growing influence of political blogs and the anonymous nature of posting comments makes them "irresistible for dirty tricks and attack politics."
Similarly, in the business world astroturfing is often seen as a viable marketing tactic:
What are the Risks?
Whilst astroturfing can be very effective, particularly in this age of the internet, companies risk alienating people if they are exposed as being behind the campaign. In this way astroturfing is similar to stealth marketing.
The problem is that astroturfing brings up ethical issues regarding whether companies should be misleading the general public.
To illustrate the ill-feeling against this form of marketing an Anti-Astroturfing campaign has even been set up, stating: