2 Hours ago the user Geoff Konig at Vimeo uploaded this clip showing helicopter view of the Statue of Liberty's face covered in Saran Wrap, adding: "This footage is amazing! This should keep the skeptics busy! So thrilled to hear people talking about Alpha-1 for once!"
update Thursday Feb 24 - the videos on Vimeo are removed now. Replacing with youtube.
Thing is, people aren't speaking about Alpha-1, they're talking about this stunt and whether it's a real stunt or a CGI-job instead. Was that really the goal? I suppose a little controversy can be used for more traffic/ eyeballs, perhaps that was the plan B?
The stunt/ CGI-job is only saying "the statue of liberty has her face covered in plastic", and it seems to rely on the website and hamfisted "social media" work to spread the rest of the story, which seems to be only this: "Alpha-1 exists here's our website URL".
Once at alpha1-incident.com you can donate online to the Alpha1foundation and make cheering facebook and twitter comments directly on the website (which also display in your SM channel of choice). The stunt on it's own, if you were one of the people at the statue of liberty seeing this, says nothing. This is all an exercise in digital dreams and digital media. If it really had happened, and you could see this with your own eyes, what would you have learned? There's no banner with a website URL, there are no people handing out flyers at the statue of liberty, there's no press reporting on the stunt. You might have thought Lady Liberty was being renovated, again, sighed, and taken the ferry back to the city.
We soon had digital people like John Konig telling us that it was real. @AgentAlpha1 joined in on twitter, telling everyone who had retweeted the post that it was real, "check the new pics". There was a polite doubting Thomas saying "looks pretty real to me" asking for more empirical points of view in why it is not real.
Then there's this guy: who posted a rather angry screed that makes me believe they created the campaign, because clearly they're taking it personally.
Here's the kicker: all of those accounts shared IP numbers, and the really angry guy/gal made the mistake of deleting the comment while s/he was at the office. The Foote Cone and Belding offices. oops!
I've never been a fan of "fake" stunts, as they have a tendency to blow up in the face of the sender, in this case the Alpha-1.foundation.org.
Punters, sorry consumers, are willing to suspend disbelief for a moment to buy your story, but when the engine of the story is a lie in itself it overshadows whatever message you were trying to put forth. You've wasted the consumer's engagement on the lie instead of on the message.
There are countless examples of little ad-fibs that didn't go too well, Karen the Danish mother seeking was actually a Danish actress named Ditte Arnth, and here's what I thought they did wrong. Ogilvy got burned when they created a fake Idol competitor. The Mystery of Dalarö was a mockumentary wrapped in a hoax wrapped in an enigma or something. Hoaxvertising, where the ad claims to have done something they didn't, taints real ad stunts in the end. I barely finished posting the Coke Happiness machine last year when people emailed me claiming that someone in the video was an actress so it must all be fake. She wasn't, but people have been trained like Pavlov's dogs with so many stunts faking it all the way. AP and news orgs seem to love hoax stunts, it's a cheap way to get attention, the bulletproof baby pram got lots of coverage. There was the cheating husband forced to wear a sandwich board stunt, the suicide bombing in California town was viral for movie and many more.
But sometimes when a story is faked, is the ad still good? Yes, sometimes it is.
It's not like I'm new to this web-ad-blogging-sleuthing-game, kids. Back in 2000 a Swedish idiom in literal translation on a webpage that was making the rounds on sites like "Losers.org" set off my ad-alarms, and soon Paul Malmström told me the full Rubberburner story in an email, which is one of the first viral campaigns out there to pretend to not have a sender.
Note! Draftfcb Healthcare NY and Talecris are the agencies for Prolastin-C an Alpha1-Proteinase Inhibitor, they were finalists for Best Corporate Marketing Campaign in the MM&M Awards 2010 for the "New Formula" Relaunch. This is an expanding market job (since they have the largest market share). Hat tip to dear S.
As I'm typing this, we got a new comment to the old post, so I'll go answer that now. Take care kids.
Short tour of Alpha-1 just because I know there's google-power in this website: Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic disorder caused by defective production of alpha 1-antitrypsin (A1AT), leading to decreased A1AT activity in the blood and lungs, and deposition of excessive abnormal A1AT protein in liver cells - in short, it'll cause you problems in the liver and lungs such as pancreatitis, bronchiectasis, asthma, and even liver failure. It's most common in people of northern European, Iberian and Saudi Arabian ancestry. The disease was discovered by Carl-Bertil Laurell, at the University of Lund in Sweden in 1963. The very same Uni where I've taught history of digital design. It's an awesome Uni, if you're looking to study, with the cutest old town surrounding it, and great wee cafés lined with books all over the walls, but I digress.