It is quite amazing how marketeers are now so enamored by "the social".
But as early as the 1990s, I have seen studies that showed that "recommendations from friends, family, and other people" are as effective or more effective than any form of advertising. A former colleague was not convinced by it - to the point that she junked the research and called it "irrelevant and potentially, not valid".
I guess the problem was, when you say "recommendations are far better than any form of bought advertising", you're essentially saying that "you don't have so much control over your brand messages as you have earlier thought". that "your brand is essentially at the mercy of consumers".
the truth is, "it" - The Social - has always existed.
we're the ones waking up to its power.
the conversations are louder, the demand to be heard is more pressing, and the clamor to "own" (or "disown") the brands that we thought we had control over is not about to end.