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On Cillit Bang and a new low for marketers…

Right. Okay. Got one for ya. You’ll like this. Earlier today I wrote a post about my father, who I haven’t had any contact with for almost thirty years. It was a difficult post to write – it had taken me almost two weeks to build up the nerve to write it. After I got it out there, however, a number of people commented almost immediately – uniformly pleasant, supportive, decent posts. I’ll confess, it was nice. As usual some of them were a little more emotional about the whole thing than I felt comfortable with, but generally the whole thing was a positive experience. I felt positive that I’d got the message out, was hopeful that talking about the experience might make such a process easier for someone else to go through, and felt that I’d said enough for the moment. Everyone’s got something out of it. Everyone’s happy.

And then I got a comment from a man called Barry Scott. The comment read as follows:

“Hi Tom, Always remember one thing. Life is very, very short and nothing is worth limiting yourself from seeing the ones you love. I hadn’t seen my father in 15 years until 2 years ago. I was apprehensive but I kept telling myself that no matter how estranged we’d become there was no river to wide to cross. Drop me a line if I can be of any more help. Cheers, Barry”

Sounds fine, doesn’t it? Except that ‘Barry Scott’ isn’t a real person – he’s a marketing vehicle for a brand called Cillit Bang and his weblog is a barely disguised viral marketing platform for the product.

Now clearly, it was pretty difficult to believe that even a marketing / advertising organisation would be comfortable actively promoting their product in a space where someone was reporting their first contact with their father for nearly three decades. I mean, sure, there’s some limited mileage to be gained in getting a link on a number of weblogs – although with all the anti-spam tech in place now they can’t possibly have been hoping for Googlejuice. But still, that’s not an enormous benefit for such a grotesque act.

My view was that any right-thinking person would view trying to market your product on such a post as revolting, corrupt, cynical, disgusting, sick and dishonourable. And to do such thing in such an offhand, casual manner? I mean that’s got to be bordering on sociopathic. And for it to be a trick! It could only be viewed as an attempt by these people to exploit a community’s – and an individual’s – good faith to sell a few bottles of highly corrosive cleaning fluid. And it wasn’t even an automated message operating indiscriminately – this was a hand-written note posted by an individual human being.

But as I’ve said, my instincts in this matter were that no one could be that cynical, so I decided to do some exploring. Some possibilities – the guy who wrote the comment wasn’t connected with the weblog or advertising at all, just reusing the name / meme. Or maybe the weblog wasn’t connected to the brand, and was just some jokers attempt to collate and maintain some funny brand-related stuff. Maybe it was even an attempt to subvert or parody Cillit Bang.

So stage one is to find the IP address of the person who left the comment. According to Movable Type that is 213.86.119.210. And according to Sam Spade that correlates to a lon30ex01.yr.com which is owned by an organisation called Young & Rubicam. Going to the website of Young & Rubicam, I see that they handle advertising campaigns. Their site is all Flash, so forgive me for retyping some of it:

“We make connections between our client partners and their customers. We are client-focused, insightful, pragmatic. We believe in ideas. Ideas based on rigorous analytic processes and human insights.”

Hm. Human insights. Okay, so they’re an advertising firm, the comment purporting to be Barry Scott comes from their servers, the weblog looks like a marketing tool of some kind. I think we’re beginning to see a pattern. So I find their London offices and I start to ring around. They have a few offices in London under a variety of names: “Banner Corporation PLC”, “Nylon”, “Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R”, “Y&R Holdings (U.K.) Ltd European HQ”, “Young & Rubicam Brands EMEA”. I ring each in turn, they’re all terribly helpful, but none of them think they’re handling the Cillit Bang brand. So no luck there. Maybe this isn’t as cynical as we’d initially thought?

From here, it’s back to the internet. After a search for Cillit Bang and Young & Rubicam brings back very few decent answers, I try the more general Cillit Bang agency which eventually leads me to a page on kreativ online which lists the Cillit Bang account as being the responsibility of Partners J. Walter Thompson, which then leads me back to JWT.com.

From here it’s back to the phones. We’re still trying to determine, by the way, if the weblog is a marketing platform at all. So off we go to JWT’s uk offices, who are quite comfortable to accept responsibility for the Cillit Bang account but who sound very confused by the idea that the campaign might have an associated weblog, and even more surprised by the idea that people working for another advertising agency could possibly be posting comments in the name of one of their associated brand assets. They say they’ll ring me back shortly, and indeed they do – this time with another set of names including Sabrina Geremia and Marva Carty working at a company called Reckitt Benckiser. So I go and ring them up.

This phone call is a little more involving. Sabrina is unavailable, so I talk to Marva. I ask if they’re running a viral web-based campaign for the product Cillit Bang and she says, slightly reservedly, that they are and that it’s a weblog. Shortly afterwards we’re at a dead end – Marva really wants to know what’s going on before she’ll say any more. I tell her the story of the evil exploitative marketing company virally promoting cleaning products duplicitously all over the story of my reunion with my estranged father, and for some reason she starts to sound a little nervous. She’s unclear as to why any organisation would do that – I point out that people post comments all the time to try and get higher rankings in Google (it doesn’t work) and traffic from people who follow the links. She sounds very uncomfortable. She wants me to send all my evidence to Sabrina who will get back to me on Monday morning. I say that I can’t guarantee that I won’t write about this stuff in public in the meantime.

And it’s just as well that I didn’t guarantee it, because you’re reading it. One way or another – whether these specific people are directly responsible for spamming our conversations with their marketing – this whole enterprise stinks to high heaven. The fake weblogs that pretend to be real are almost bad enough – it’s an attempt to muddy the reality of a community with the fantasy world that they need to flog cleaning products and make it seem glamourous or exciting. But someone out there – associated with one marketing group or another – is also keen to directly stick their dirty little hands in the cookie jars of well-meaning, honourable people. They’re quite happy to pollute or destroy the value of the enterprise for everyone else if they can derive even the tiniest return from it.

I’m going to give them the benfit of the doubt and say that this whole enterprise is based on clumsiness and stupidity rather than evil, but we have to make a stand and make it clear to these people that if you live by the sword you die by the sword. It’s not good enough for just these marketing people to realise that they’ve screwed up and damaged the brands they were associated with – we have to keep making examples of them to stop other clumsy organisations viewing our self-created territories as nothing more than sales opportunities. Do not lie to us because we will expose you. Be honourable, or we will erase you. And all anyone will see when they search on Google for your products is that there is no depth to which you will not stoop to get another few bottles into someone’s shopping basket.

To be decent about the whole thing, I’m going to let Marva have the final word, because maybe other marketers out there will hear them and learn from them, and it will stop them making the same mistakes again. And the evidence I’m going to send to Sabrina? The URL of this post. If she sends a more coherent response back, I’ll post that too…

“Us going into blogging is a new thing – it’s a new thing and we’re not trying to do anything that could cause you distaste. If this is the kind of thing that’s happening, then we need to stop it happening. I honestly don’t believe that the effect it’s had has been at all intentional. If this is happening then it needs to be re-evaluated. This is not what we’re trying to achieve.

Addendum (added 3rd October 2005): The people at Cillit Bang have apologised for the error of judgment and I have accepted their apology. You can read more about it here: An Apology from the Cillit Bang team.

90 replies on “On Cillit Bang and a new low for marketers…”

Comment Spam on an entirely new level… not the first time I’ve seen this linked to certain brands who seem happy to litter blogs and search-engine-bots with useless detritus in order to build their brand awareness.
It’s good to see such a high profile blogger taking a stand.

Wow… I’ve had a few beers, so I’m not going to try and say anything too insightful or profound, but… wow.
Good on you for chasing that lead. This kind of thing is good for absolutely no one. For you, the agencies, and least of all the brand they’re allegedly promoting.
They deserve to get their arses seriously kicked for something like this.

That’s absolutely despicable. I used to like the overacted adverts and found the name very amusing, but there’s really nothing to be gained from spamming blogs like that and a lot of reputation to be lost.
Shame on you Cillit Bang. I won’t be cleaning with your product again, no matter how amusing I find the name.

There are other possible explanations that don’t reflect badly on “Cillit Bang” and Young & Rubicam, BTW.
Could someone at lon30ex01.yr.com be using “Barry Scott” as a pseudonym, to remain anonymous?
Or alternatively, could they be attempting to get a rival ad agency into trouble?
The comment came from 213.86.119.210, lon30ex01.yr.com — that’s for sure. But as to whether the person who made the comment really was connected to the “Barry Scott” marketing campaign, that doesn’t necessarily follow.
BTW, there’s another thing — whois says that 213.86.119.210 is in a RIPE netblock allocated to
inetnum: 213.86.119.208 – 213.86.119.223
netname: SPML
descr: SPML
descr: 125 Kensington High St
country: GB
admin-c: LH165-RIPE
tech-c: LH165-RIPE
status: assigned PA
mnt-by: COLT-UK
source: RIPE # Filtered
person: Leon Herman
address: 125 Kensington High St
address: London
e-mail: postmaster@SPML.com
phone: +44-07970-723-263
mnt-by: COLT-UK
nic-hdl: LH165-RIPE
source: RIPE # Filtered
SPML.com has expired (!), but SPML at 125 Kensington High St appears to be Southern Pacific Mortgage Ltd., http://www.spml.co.uk/ .
So something’s odd in that allocation, in that the reverse DNS doesn’t match up with the RIPE registration info at all, pointing at two totally different end-user companies; I think COLT Telecom are being lax with their maintainance. So the reverse DNS info could be inaccurate, and yr.com may not be involved at all.

Assuming there are indeed people out there so cynical as to do this, I’m having trouble believing such people could convince a client this would be a worthwhile way to spend money. Spam works because the quantity makes the return on investment profitable. Human-created spam can’t produce the same quantity, and by virtue of being spam it can’t produce quality sales either. Why would anyone pay someone to do this when a computer could generate more sales faster?

unbelievable.
good on you for chasing it down terrier-like. This is why I left after the web company I worked for merged with a marketing agency. They’re all liars.

Scott, whatever this was I don’t think it’s a serious attempt at spamming. It was either a mistake or a clumsy attempt to get some limited Googlejuice for a piece of viral marketing. All the companies that I contacted through this process are mainstream respected brands in the heart of their business. None of them would engage in spamming in the way you understand it – even if it were legal for them to do so in this country, which I don’t believe it is. This kind of company are more likely to be looking for ‘clever’ new ways to expose their brand to the right people who will pick it up and promulgate it.

Justin, there’s stuff in what you’ve written that I agree with (which I don’t think is in conflict by my post above). For one, I suspect the actual company that produce Cillit Bang are probably completely unaware of the specifics of the marketing campaign around this stuff. Assuming for a moment that the IP block is owned by who the internet says it’s owned by, though, whoever used to the computer to post the comment on my site is doing something dodgy.

The word you are looking for, Tom, is “Viakal”. Viakal has been around for years and works in the same way as that other product. So every time that you are tempted to type the name of CB, type “Viakal works just as well” next to it. You’ve written a few comments about Google bombing, so why not apply the technique?
Phil

Hello there –
Regarding your comment, “For one, I suspect the actual company that produce Cillit Bang are probably completely unaware of the specifics of the marketing campaign around this stuff.” – to be clear the Reckitt Benckiser company manufactures, owns and markets the Cillit Bang brand. Sabrina Geremia appears to be their Global Internet & Communications Director [source] and I would guess Marva Carty may be a part of the brand team. Whilst they may – or may not – be aware of specific activities carried out by their agencies, these activities are still carried out in their brand’s name.
Of course one further possibility is that a competitor agency is trying to sabotage the viral campaign with such mercenary comments being tied back to the Barry Scott fakelog.
Just some thoughts.
Regards,
A

On one level it’s simply an addition to the constant irratation of comment spam. On another it just adds to the continuing irritation of advertising in general leeching off communities (or in adspeak, target groups) to market products that by their very nature are tired and lacking in imagination and forward thinking – I don’t have the facts but I can imagine that this particular product won’t go on to win any environmental awards. And no, their ads are not ironic, they’re just annoying. And that’s plain and simple annoying, not even discuss it down the pub annoying.

Why not refer to them as ‘a well known cleaning products brand’ and so deny them the publicity they just succeeded in getting from you? ‘No publicity is bad publicity’…

Good job on tracking down what you could.
Marketing really is totally out of control. Just tonite I heard an announcement in the supermarket – or I should say it SOUNDED like an announcement – it started with the words ‘This message is for the gentleman who just purchased [product x] -‘ which got my attention, but then it devolved into an advert.
I swear to God, these slime will petition to put ads on firetrucks and ambulances next.

I’ve done a bit more investigation and thanks to some people at other websites, I’ve started to be able to more solidly connect the poster above with the weblog and hence with the marketeers. The same guy has written to various other weblogs talking at length about the Cillit Bang weblog and his role in producing it, and using the same contact e-mail address. So I’m increasingly clear that it is the same people, rather than someone at a rival agency.

I came across this just the other day, but pulled up short after my own IP lookup (via RIPE) also pointed to SPML (Southern Pacific Mortgage Limited).
I assumed that what we were looking at was a bored office worker looking to plug his ‘clever’ and deeply ironic site. (No, make that a crass and insensitive bored office worker looking to plug his ‘clever’ and deeply ironic site.)
But I guess we’ll all find out more on Monday morning…

I don’t think anyone would begrudge you that, Barry. But if it was a “non-job-related personal post” why did you feel the need to provide a link to what is clearly a blog designed to advertise a product?

Tom
I had ‘Barry’ leave 2 comments on perfect.co.uk on Friday, which really wound me up. After blacklisting his site, I meant to look into it further. However, you’ve beaten me to it – thanks for doing all the hard work for me and others – it is appreciated.

If it’s not job related, then why do it under the name of fictional character from an advert for a company that you’re paid to promote? A viral advertiser is welcome to post here and talk about his father. He is not welcome to advertise here while he doing so. That bit is the really fucking tacky bit.

Tom,
One goal of these shady SEO/viral blog marketing types is to use popular bloggers’ high Google Rank to raise the results of their clients. By linking to them, or allowing their URLs in your blog’s comments, you are enabling them.
I suggest that you strip out the links. Why give them the benefit of the doubt. They need to prove themselves to us, not the other way ’round.
Sincerely,
Gen Kanai, Tokyo, Japan

If you are using MovableType, be sure to enable the “no-follow” plug-in. This will ensure that no matter how many links these marketing people sneak into their comments, it will be tagged “no-follow” and thus lose any influence with google or any other respectable search service whatsoever.
If it is enabled, you should announce it as a deterrent.
This was an interesting piece for the fact that “blogging” is seen among some internet marketers (working for respectable firms) to create targetted campaigns.
However, I do doubt that the marketers are after google juice if it’s a short-term campaign since Google Page Rank (which determines search placement) is only revised every 3 months at the shortest.
Maybe this kind of sweat labor will be the “new frontier” for spammers. I can see some shady companies out-sourcing “human spammers” hired to write such comments and messages from English-speaking third world countries.

JWT and Y&R are part of the same WPP group. I know bog all about IP addresses and all that jazz, but it’s very possible their IT infrastructure and support is shared in some way. And besides, even if they were deadly competitors, frankly that sort of ‘sabotage other people’s work’ stuff just doesn’t go on in an industry as incestuous as advertising.
Interesting to see how this concludes.

um, sure looks like a marketing ploy – every link in his posts is a link to the product – no links out to anything else. So it’s a paid product placement, or the guy seriously needs to get a life.
But if it’s paid product placement, then the only difference between this blog and any other on or offline marketing is that the web tends to make things transparent. It’s not too hard to check up on what’s going on with a webpage. On TV, in films, in magazines, it’s not so easy to check on what’s paid placement and what’s not.
All “Barry” has done is brought the same ethics as work just fine in other marcomms channels, and used them online. Where, imho, they don’t work. At all.
You need to be a whole lot smarter than this to make a commercial blog work for your brand.

During my spat with Hugh MacLeud I included the words “I just wonder where this is all going”.
And I think this is an example of exactly where this is all going. And it’s totally fucked up.
This risks the whole “blogs as fabric for conversations” being ruined in the same way spam has somewhat ruined email.

I had something similar at my blog this weekend, crap advertising for Summer Camp and a Wine-based site made to look like sympathetic comments about my blog entry on commuting. Hating them.

Holy crap. This is just insane. At what point does it seem like anything resembling a good idea to get your brand associated with an apparent willingness to make capital like this? If it isn’t somebody spoofing, somebody has really lost control of their marketing plan.
Congratulations, by the way – this is a remarkable thing to happen, and a remarkable first step. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

Flogging a dead horse here probably (but without those handy “recent links” I missed this as I didn’t scroll down far enough, and got a link back in from elsewhere!! 😉 ). Any updates? Did they get back to you?

This has *got* to be an article for theguardian! (Or similar)
Sorry to be shallow, I know it’s a personal issue in many ways, but this incedent would make a great article. If you can’t write it yourself for some reason, I really hope someone else does. Who has heard of viral marketing going this far? Barry should stick to cleaning his pennies.
(And my link is not profit-making or in need of Google-ranking btw…)

Just kidding…why is everyone being so serious. I thought web blogs were meant to be fun. Seems like everyone is being too serious, how disappointing.
I retract my last comment.

Hmmm, that is pretty low. Good detective work too.
By the way I’ve currently got some great deals on female sanitary products over at my blog if any of your readers are interested… just joking…

I’m inclined to agree with Marius. It’s obviously a mistake of some sort and I doubt harm was intended. Forget about it….

So which is it?
“revolting, corrupt, cynical, disgusting, sick and dishonourable”
or:
“tacky”
It is difficult nigh impossible to impute hubris or opportunism here. That fact, however, didn’t seem to give you pause before you decided to use it as an opportunity to insinuate capitalism, “corporatism”, et al into your screed.
Here’s an idea: perhaps you could employ the Katrina disaster in New Orleans as an opportunity to issue polemics regarding U.S. culture? Oh wait, you work for the BBC, so you do that for a living.

I can’t imagine that a brand owner would not sign off on a viral marketing campaign without knowing a lot about the anticipated deliverables. Someone has to know about the executables in the project. Unless of course, the people running the campaign became desperate and took unauthorised actions. Either way, it’s a really stupid idea.

Of course, the irony is once a few “A-Listers” write about it (“I am shocked! Shocked!!”), the meme spreads, and the guys at Y&R are heralding the campaign “A Success”.
That’s what happened when I pinged the Captain Morgan’s fake blog. In the end the guys at Diageo were well pleased.
[Cough] Anybody want some wine?

Boy, did you give Cillit Bang a TON of free publicity! They couldn’t have planned this better… your site, and, by extension theirs, is all over daypop! I’d never read your blog before, and now I know ALL about Cillit Bang!

Ed. If you think this is the publicity brands want, you surely have never spoken to any.
Yes people say, “no such thing as bad publicity” but that’s a something people say after a difficult news day to make themselves feel ok.
I challenge any marketeer in the world to be able to sell the idea to a paying client “we’ll make your name look like mud on online! it’s great! everyone will be talking about you.”
Yes, it does happen that sometimes things work out for the best, but no client is ever going to buy it as a strategy.

Miss K – “Perhaps it’s time to close the commments on this post before the trolling takes off in earnest.”
Well you can do that, but then blogs like this “won’t prosper either” as they too are and have been reliant on comment links from other blogs as well;-)
I must say I was a little taken aback at how you “hunted him down” in the way that you did, but I also think you went to far and gave him unnecessary publicity.
I also loved the comment from Gen Kanai – “One goal of these shady SEO/viral blog marketing types is to use popular bloggers’ high Google Rank to raise the results of their clients. By linking to them, or allowing their URLs in your blog’s comments, you are enabling them.
I suggest that you strip out the links. Why give them the benefit of the doubt. They need to prove themselves to us, not the other way ’round.”
Hehe hehe, i remember challenging Anil Dash in last years “nigritude ultramarine” SEO competition and he didn’t do too badly from that technique either;-).
I notice there seems to be a few references to Anil on this blog also and others associated with it. Interesting stuff. Of course Anil did it to prove a point and in the interest of science of course 🙂
The references to “Google Bombing” also crack me up.
Ive omitted my web url just in case you think I need the PR.

Well as someone who now works in marketing the ignorance of blogging I find quite astonishing. I’m briefing people on what it’s about but you can see clients just hearing the term “blog” and seeing it as another “channel” to market to. Being ‘savvy’ about how they do that for them means using traditional tried and trusted methods of deception. Trying to get people to tell the truth and be honest is nigh on impossible. I applaud you for tracking these people down but I fear that there’s more to come in the future before the message finally gets through…

Tom an excellent post even if it was borne out of something which clearly had a very personal effect on you. I took the liberty on my blog (www.proximitylab.com) of posting under the heading “Ethical marketing and blog abuse” a caution to my colleagues about how we ‘exploit’ new digital channels and cited your example by linking to your blog and specifically to this post.

get over it. you put your life on the net you are responsible for accepting nothing on the net is the truth and certainly not fair.
Only YOU, no one else opened up your sensitive can of worms. You wrote it on the net you deserve all the nasty and good comments from anyone and anything that can write a reply. If you are semsitive close it to members only.
Look it’s you not anyone elses fault, if you get offended. Blogging is one big farce anyways, i’ve never heard my friends tell the truth when they repeat stories let alone someone with questionable identity on the internet.
Face it. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE.
ads and marketing are only there because you’re here. FULL STOP.

From a sociological standpoint this whole thing is interesting (in a purely technical way, you understand). While I find the Scott character’s behavior insensitive – to say the least – the phenomenon of this sort of virtual personality is fascinating.
And I’ve found a good blog, too. Count me in as one of those who will never buy Cillit Bang, and as one who will return here.

Would whoever decided to start denying access to that blog please leave another comment? I’d like to write them a cheque 🙂

Anger, amusement and frustration-the sequence of my feelings as I read the Tom’s original posting, the Barry Scott blog and everyone else’s comments. Let me introduce myself before I am accused of spamming myself. Unlike most of the people who have particiapted in this heated debate here and empathised with Tom, I work in advertising and quite proud of the profession.
I know my profession has some dubious reputation, not unlike law or real estate, if I may, but it does serve a useful purpose in our society. But I am NOT going to try and defend advertising here. What I do want to point out, however, is the stupid and ineffective way in which the Barry Scot blog marketing was executed. Anyone who goes to that blog can figure out in 3 seconds that it has a very commercial intent. How did the creator of that blog, particularly if it was an ad agency, imagine they can dupe people into raising their respect for the Cillit Bang brand through that blog?
I believe in the power of communication and I use it every day for my marketing clients. That’s how I get paid. I also believe word of mouth will turn out to be one of the biggest marketing disciplines of tomorrow, perhaps even bigger than TV. What the Barry Scott blog is trying to do is word of mouth marketing. And because they did such a shoddy and pathetic job, they are now getting the rough side, through the same word of mouth.
The world and many smart marketers are learning NOT to intrude into an unsuspecting person’s life. And here a very large marketer goes ahead and uses the smartest medium to do exactly opposite.
All of a sudden, it’s not about Tom and his dad any more, it’s about bad marketing. My condolences go more to Reckitt Benckiser than to Tom. I sense they have a bigger wave coming up against them. I wont be surprised if they put the brand up for sale soon and Tom actually buys it for a penny. Long Live Consumer Power and the Free Economy.
BTW, guess where I read about this whole story? On the Word of Mouth Marketing Association site [www.womma.com]. And something tells me this story will feature dozens of times around the world, including in my own talks and speeches in industry fora. That is the power of word of mouth and Barry Scott is what word of mouth marketing is NOT supposed to be.

I am going to leave my soapbox in the other room, no matter how much I want to go grab it.
The first thing when I read this kind of stuff is a Holiday Inn Express commercial that plays in the states. This guy strolls into a surgery bay and begins giving orders prior to cutting into the patient. One of the scrub techs says, “Hey, your not Doctor Rosenblatt!” The guy responds, “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.” The subtle message is that a good night’s sleep at this hotel allows you to do stuff you really aren’t qualified to do.
Each day, I work with researchers measuring loyalty in our organization and our partners. Some are economists; others have Ph.D.’s in statistics and social psychology, even an occasional Masters degree. One of those we work with even has a Ph.D. in chaos theory and is a former classic architect (each of these people eclipse me and humble me with their experience and insight every time I work with them). They are radically smart people with loads of experience in this area (loyalty, word of mouth, social dynamics, marketing research, etc.).
Occasionally, I sit on panels with guys like Pete Blackshaw of Intelliseek (www.intelliseek.com). He and his partners like Karthik Iyer began their careers running brands at P&G and Pete went on to run PlanetFeedback.com. Pete and Karthik are IT, CRM and CGM experts.
I have to say that virtually every time I have run into an ad agency (and we do regularly), they are quite comfortable making it up as you go. Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning (also known as Channel Creation), starting this way is fine. Somebody has to break new ground but you HAVE to back fill with hard-core experience. I spent the early 1990’s-2000 myself running a tech firm. Hey, in 1994 & 95, we were making a lot up as we went along, since there were few coding standards and tools, but we had to quickly move to hard ground as everyone agreed on what worked and what didn’t. One of the horrible outcomes of this time that tech didn’t control and is the bane of all of our inboxes today is…Spam. Spam is something that should have been controlled but the keys were given to marketers that didn’t know or care what was right or wrong. Look what happened.
Breaking new ground is fine. However, even though we are still early in developing (and understanding) the blogosphere, as well as, viral and advocate based word-of-mouth programs, the game didn’t just start yesterday. There are standards, methodologies and rules. Ad agencies who are just now deciding, ‘Hey, let’s try this! We can make money at it!
Good. No problem. Go for it. But understand that you are competing with firms who consider this their core competency and already have lots of experience and relevant talent. So, with that said, stupid mistakes such as this are not acceptable. Faking it means you are too far behind the curve. Either buy talent or stick to traditional media because, CGM and WOM is all about reality and measurement. There is a huge downside to your client’s brand value and your reputation to fake it. CGM and WOM is NOT traditional marketing. Perception is not reality.
And this was sans soapbox.

I can’t believe the hype around this – genuinely. I came across the article in The Guardian so I clicked through here and I’m amazed. Don’t you all have something better to do? I mean, really?
Anyway, like the blog Tom. On your advice, saw Serenity and it’s awesome.

A little late to the party on this one but I bring some inside information.
Y&R and JWT are separate agencies, but both owned by a company called WPP, the second largest advertising group in the world.
Both have offices in London: JWT in Kensington, Y&R in Camden. It’s perfectly feasible that both are sharing servers, although they happen to be registered to Y&R.
Just so you know…

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The gradual release of confidential documents pertaining to a
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is part of a group of six people working together as an
alliance. He is their spokesman.
The information is currently being released in installments on a
private UFO e-mail list moderated by Victor Martinez. The list
contains about a hundred people, including many extremely
well-known names in UFO research and other related or leading
edge scientific fields. Until permissions are granted, their
names will be withheld for the time being out of courtesy and to
respect confidentiality.
Those on the list have differing views regarding the veracity of
Anonymous’ claims. However, the pedigree of the list as a whole
is important to emphasize. There has been a substantial amount
of intelligent discussion about the revelations, and it is
important to state that there are many senior people in the US
Intelligence Community who are taking this information very
seriously. It may now be time to release this information to the
wider community, in close approximation to the format in which
it was originally made available.
Home page:
http://www.serpo.org/index.html
Click on the “Information released by Anonymous” tab to read his
various postings.

A little late to the party on this one but I bring some inside information.
Y&R and JWT are separate agencies, but both owned by a company called WPP, the second largest advertising group in the world.
Both have offices in London: JWT in Kensington, Y&R in Camden. It’s perfectly feasible that both are sharing servers, although they happen to be registered to Y&R.

Now I will never buy cb. I gave feedback at the cb web site to let them know that this is why. I suggest that if you do the same, you make up your details and give them a bogus email address which ends with their domain or that of their ‘advertising’ agency so that they can spam themselves. I think that method of communication is called ‘push’ by advertisers.
I also recommend that next time a telesalesman calls you, you ask if they can hold for a minute in order to speak to the person in charge of procurement of their product because that issue is currently under review and the outfit where you work may be interested in acquiring 70 or so of their product. Then press the mute button and continue with your day.
Together we can fight this scum.

The serpo.org entry above is another example of viral advertising, for either a yet-to-be-released video game or novel. The guys at AboveTopSecret.com pretty much went through the same steps as Tom Coates did to expose the website for what it truly is. I don’t have the exact links, but do a search in abovetopsecret.com for the full details.

Well, heres a point – There are millions of people in the world. There could be a chance that there is a person whose actual name IS Barry Scott, who has a computer WITH acsess to the internet. So actually, you may have exposed Cillit BANG or have wasted money on several phone calls.
Still, none of this stops me from purchasing Cillit BANG. Look how it cleans up all my old pennies!

serpo.org… Is Cillit Bang (stupid name!) used to clean UFO’s? This would explain why they are all nice and shiny.
Telstar5… you spend your time cleaning old pennies with Cillit (silly name) Bang??? Why??
I’m trying to find a link here, between old pennies, CB, and UFO’s, but the nurse has just given me a jab of something (oh god, I hope it’s not CB!)and I’m feeling drowsy.
What kind of name is Cillit Bang anyway? It sounds like the kind of noise an extremely large, fat frog would make if it accidentally hopped into a minefield… “Cillit! Cillit! Cillit – BANG!!!”
I don’t buy the stuff by the way, and never intend to… not just because of the smell and the products environmental impact, but because the ‘soap’ I use (made of natural, biodegradable substances) is better for my skin and the environment, smells really nice, and cleans my bathroom etc quite well. Also because I’m a lazy sod who doesn’t like housework.

A long read, but well worth it! This whole affair is still relevant in 2007, particularly to someone interested in marketing communications. I started by reading up on Cillit Bang on Wikipedia to supplement my knowledge of “source credibility”… look what I found – PR, ethical marketing, new media, corporate & social responsibility… I’m just off to read the official apology!

I had something similar at my blog this weekend, crap advertising for Summer Camp and a Wine-based site made to look like sympathetic comments about my blog entry on commuting. Hating them.

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