Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Fri, Feb 02 2007

Is guerilla marketing defeating its own core concept?

There seems to be enough blame to go around concerning the recent ad campaign that had Boston law enforcement responding to the possibility of a terrorist attack. The Chimes at Midnight refers back to an eerie, similar-sounding scenario from William S. Burroughs.

Doug McCaughan notes that maybe the overreactive old people in charge of safety and security should hand over leadership positions to the younger, more tech-savvy people. Actually, that particular scenario was already covered in a movie from 1968, entitled Wild in the Streets. But that was another time, when many young people were high on illegal substances, went to college courtesy of the bank of Dad, brought their dirty laundry home, ate free in Mom's kitchen and worked just enough hours so they could make payments on that hot car. Wait a minute...

Back to the present...I find it interesting that Interference Inc. has removed its regular content (for the present time) and replaced it with a simple apology. Some would say that they got the attention they were hired to get and that an apology is no skin off their corporate nose. I'm not sure I agree. I don't know if the company's apology was put on the site under legal counsel or perhaps under social pressure. They could certainly be genuinely sorry for what happened. The problem for me is that an apology, heartfelt or not, is an admission on their part that they've messed in the nest of their own image as a leader in guerilla marketing. If they meant to do it all, they should have the courage to keep their site up and running with their regular content, adding an apology to that if they wish. If they're not going to be proud enough of what they've done to tout their work and show a list their satisfied clients, it weakens their position. It's a subtle thing in the midst of all the finger-pointing, but it's there as an issue—at least for me.

And speaking of finger pointing, I'm a little surprised that I haven't heard more parents fussing about an advertising campaign that used a cartoon character to flip a bird where children are present. If a campaign is adult-oriented material, wouldn't it be most responsible to place it in adults-only locations? Will there be repercussions from the decency-watchers, particulary since this whole thing appears to be about cute-looking little cartoon characters in the first place?

And then there was all that talk about hair from folks hired to place the devices (in Boston). Hair? What does that have to do with mooninites and Aqua Teen...of course, how could we expect acuity or clarity from an ad campaign burdened with the promotion of animated beings named Meatwad and Ignignokt? None of this makes any sense. And maybe that's more of a sad reflection on our times than we'd all like to admit.

posted at: 10:35 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!