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January 28, 2009


Paull Young

Hi John,

Great post, I've been enjoying your recent WOMMA sparked content focusing on ethics.

Just spotted on an Aussie marketing blog that the agency behind the fake Witchery videos, Naked, is now claiming it to be a huge success: http://mumbrella.com.au/2009/01/29/naked-the-numbers-prove-we-were-right-to-do-the-witchery-jacket-hoax/

The following quotes from their CEO:

Naked’s chief executive Mat Baxter told Mumbrella the results were “bloody good”. He added: “At the end of the day, we’re opening a store and want people to go there.”

Baxter said: “Social media is about starting conversations. So it was as good for us that there were sceptics as there were people who were positive. That’s what starts conversations and gets people talking. We knew that what we were doing was probably going to polarise people but we wanted to make sure we got more positive than negative, which is what we achieved.”

And he insisted that the fact that many people were suspicious of the video from the start was part of the plan. He said: “We expected a large number of people to know this was a marketing campaign. People know that a large percentage of what goes on YouTube is delivered with a level of intrigue.It’s an open and free market that allows visitors to decide what’s real and not real.”.

As far as I'm concerned he's wrong and trust from the consumer is to important a value to undermine for reach... but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

John Bell

It's the difference - I think - between short-term buzz and maningful, sustained ocnversation. He may have generated some buzz (mostly within our social media echo chamber I think). But even that wsn't connected enough to the brand to be meaningful. It's one thing if a big brand sports drink hides itself in a video ("Ball girl"). It's another if an obscure retail brand from one market.

Sustained WOMM is different. I think they missed a neat opportunity. Duping people just feels so arrogant to me.

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