Rule 14 of Marketing:
When human A tells another B of his positive experience, it motivates B to replicate the experience. People respond to product endorsements when they recognise themselves or their needs in the product. It is the task of the marketeer to marry the product with the needs of a certain sector of the public. Never underestimate the power of endorsement even from invisible third parties to prompt others into action!
It may or may not be necessary for person B to actually see person A, or even to see the product itself. If promoter A (or indeed the product itself) has physical characteristics which are considered to be in-step with the brand image, then showing A or the product may positively reinforce the brands ethos in the consumer's mind. If promoter A (or the product) has physical characteristics which are at odds with the brand image, then it or promoter A should be hidden from the consumer and the brand appeal should be through the voice of an invisible third-party using corporate speak.
- In Europe, it is prohibited to market tobacco products showing images of people actually using the product so the promotion has to be by more subtle influence. Marketing is adept at inverting serious product disadvantages - surely the best example is tobacco: it cripples you yet is promoted for a healthy, relaxed, glowing lifestyle. Remember the Marlboro cowboy?
- The actual designer of a Sony CD player is unknown, so marketing cannot engage with the designer, who remains invisible, ethereal, anonymous. As we have no access to him, we are unable to begin to estimate his value system, what commercial/costing/technical pressures he was under. We are buying blind.