The Alpha-1 fake wrapping of the statue of Liberty

So the story goes "12 rolls of industrial shrink wrap, 8 messengers, 1 mission", and the mission is to wrap the statue of liberties head in shrink wrap to spread the message that ALPHA-1 is a genetic disorder that makes it hard to breathe. iReport at CNN seems to think it's real. The actual wrapping of the statue of liberty, that is. The awareness campaign is real, but they never went to the statue of liberty, other than to film it with the shaky handheld look needed to fake "authenticity" in these types of stunts.

From what I can gather this is all some publicity stunt to raise awareness for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a rare lung disease. Lung Disease…Suffocation…Plastic… Statue of Liberty. Yearning to breathe free… Got it.

See, on they write "In early January, under the cover of darkness, eight rogue wrappers crowded into a small sea craft and ventured out to Liberty Island..." yet there are no news reports from early January showing a defaced statue of Liberty. In other words, it never happened, other than in post-production. We've seen this sort of stunt before, remember the Ecko ad where they tagged "still free" on air force one in 2006? Yeah, that didn't really happen either. update: to be perfectly clear - The domain ALPHA-1INCIDENT.COM is owned by DIGITAL DRAFTFCB HEALTHCARE, and the technical and administrative contact is Andrew Wint, This stunt is done in post not for real.

update Thursday Feb 24 - all Alpha1incident videos on Vimeo are removed now. 

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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HowieSPM's picture

They would of been hit with a torpedo had they truly attempted this. Very impressed you checked the news to see if this was real. Pre-9/11 it was possible. But not today.

HowieSPM's picture

If they really wanted this disease to get exposure why not hire a bunch of people to walk around NYC with their faces wrapped? Especially if it was Famous peeps?

Dabitch's picture

I agree it's weak sauce (the fake-alarms ring way too loud, I mean chill with the shaky camera already), but I'm not even sure a stunt with famous people having their faces wrapped would get attention for a genetic disease. What's the call to action here? Stop breeding? Selective genetics? People are fully informed that the genetic disorder color blindness exists, but there's not much we can do to prevent it (though there are neat contacts that can be used). We know about haemophilia too, and that's been helped by making royals stop marrying each other (I'm only half-kidding). This is the reason for the stunt:

Current data suggest that less than 10% of those people living with Alpha-1 have been properly diagnosed.

In other words, a bunch of people diagnosed with asthma or smoking-related Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease actually have alpha-1. If they're doing this stunt to inform these people that they might have alpha-1 instead, they might get better results by targeting them directly, no?

HowieSPM's picture

My question since I don't do TV and I should probably ask my go to TV guy Vinny Warren this, does the Agency hired make more money doing this than say targeting people with the Alpha-1. Too often I see work that is meant to generate billings over success.

Dabitch's picture

Whenever I hear the name "vinny" I think of "Bad day at the office" Vinny Licciardi, the original viral-ad man. :) Don't let him near your TV.

MrWizard64's picture

Well Dabitch, you certainly play the role you named yourself after fantastically. Your bitchiness and retardation also might be genetic, but I think we could probably TREAT them with some common sense. I suppose I could attempt to create a time machine, and slap the shit out of your father moments before penetrating your mom, but that would take way too much research and development. Instead, I would raise AWARENESS that when stupid people breed, they create stupid children. As a result of this awareness, doctors across the country would invent FANTASTIC MEDICATIONS to help smarten your dumbass up, or maybe just to eliminate the mental barriers that are making your stupid... or maybe the medications will just make you think for a few seconds before you speak. All I ever had to do was bring your stupidity to the light of the public and even your genetic predisposition to this affliction could eventually be eliminated.

Tons of diseases are genetic, some can be helped and some can't. The first step in making improvements in anyone's condition is a ton of research to understand the problem. Until Alpha-1 is exposed as a true and seriously terrible condition, it's impossible to assume that anything would change. There's certainly treatments for MS, sickle cell anemia, lupus, Parkinsons, and any number of other "incurable" diseases. Even your argument about misdiagnosis is dumb... with more awareness and research we can improve testing methods and the diagnostic process.

If you're going to be a bitch, at least be a smart bitch. Otherwise I'm currently conducting a series of experiments to discover a method to destroy you and everything pertaining to your genetics.

Since MrWizard64 decided to log in and remove this comment, I've blocked his/her account and put it back. Try an apology instead. Cheers / Dabitch

Also, screw being polite - the person who deleted this comment did so from the IP# which belongs to Foote Cone & Belding Communications Inc - now everyone palmface with me as we say "eeeeediot"

DerekSteer's picture

First off Dabitch, kudos to your superior investigative skills. Mad respek.
I’d just like to be clear on something. You said earlier that ShawnaRosen and MrWizar64 logged in with the same IP#. Then you said someone from FCB removed the post. Naturally I’m dying to know if the creators of said posts also logged in from an FCB computer. Because if they didn’t, you might want to soften your accusations. The way I see it, there are many people buzzing about this Alpha-1 video now. Maybe Draftfcb contacted the source (twitter account links to full name) and removed the post because they found it equally offensive as you did. Just sayin. And again, I’m quite impressed with your speedy research. Clearly you’ve got superlative genes :)

Dabitch's picture

MrWizard64's IP history: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 21:03 Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - 06:50 Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 01:37 * FCB
ShawnaRosen's IP history: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 19:56 - same as MrWizard's first IP
JohnKonig's IP history: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 17:23 Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 00:11 *FCB

Deduce what you want from the combos and timestamps.

Re: Draft contacting the source to have them remove the comment? They logged in via that twitter account. If an ad agency called you and said: lets have your twitter account password please, to remove a comment you made, for you, from the comfort of our offices here in NYC, would you hand it over? RLy?

Edit - while you were asking this I was busy making a new post: Alpha-1 still fake, but DraftFCB really really *really* want you to believe the statue of liberty stunt is real. The connection between FCB and the 'pro-bono' stunt here seems to me is that DraftFCB is the agency of record for Prolastin-C an Alpha1-Proteinase Inhibitor. They're expanding market. ;)

JohnKonig's picture

Hah, you young cynics would be shocked to know what we managed to pull off without arousing even a casual interest from the park police and/or Homeland Security. Talk about sleeping on the job!
Yes this was a publicity stunt, for a disease my whole family suffers from, and yet 95% of doctors have never heard of. To be honest, we're not try to get you to get tested. I don't know from call-to-actions, targets, post and what not, but I do know there are thousands of us that feel abandoned and lost. Given a fatal diagnosis, and no hope for a cure.
I was saddened when my son told me that they pulled the plastic down 10 minutes after the first ferry arrived. This actually did get picked up by NY1, so better check your facts next time.

Dabitch's picture

Really? I search NY1 archives and get 309 results for "staue of liberty" but can't find anything on the plastic wrapped head stunt - I'd be happy to add the news article link to the post if you have it.

ps - thanks for the "young" thing, I'm gonna live off that for a week. :P

ShawnaRosen's picture

Looks pretty real to me.
I'd like to hear some more empirical points of view as to why this has to be fake, not just how it doesn't seem plausible. Checking the news stories is a good start, but johnkonig is right about the NY1 story. What's his name, the real silly reporter, did a bit in january about a vandalism attempt at the statue. I dont know if it was this or something else though.

HowieSPM's picture

It could only be real if they had permission from the NY Harbor Authority. To wrap the statute would need a helicopter. Its the only way.

Neo's picture

Is this a viral stunt complete with brand new adland accounts stating the non-fakeness of the stunt, because I've never seen that before.

Oh wait, yes I have. Link the news articles about this or it didn't happen.

JohnKonig's picture

hi dabith,
You're right. I checked your link and there's no story, which is disappointing because my son geoff said they were on board to cover it. I can't believe this is happening, and I can't believe that credible news organizations would fall for the Parks Dept line about "statue maintenance". This whole thing has been been pretty disappointing to be honest. Tell you what, I don't know if you have access to police reports, but you should check park police records because we definitely got stopped like 20 minutes before going ashore by both Jersey state police and Park Police boats, and the captain was ticketed for not having enough life jackets on board!!! (photo attached)
This will at least put as at the scene of the crime. But i'm not worried. There were tons of people there from the first ferry boat, and even if they did take down the plastic right away there are still a lot of photos out there, and i'm sure they'll surface eventually.
As a former journalist, I appreciate your thorough fact checking.

And MrWizard64, thanks but no thanks. This dialogue does not need your voice. Please remove yourself from the conversation, and the planet.

Dabitch's picture

Wow! It's like I have good cop and bad cop at me here!

Don't worry JohnKonig unoriginal insults based on my name flick an immediate "ignore" switch in my brain, and I've received much worse, and way more creative, in the way of threats. So, back to the video, and the topic of this website (Adland) which is to look at it from an advertising p.o.v. Thin-skinned creatives, sufferers of illnesses and fans of various charitable organisations should take note that we're critiquing the ad, the marketing strategy, the idea, and the execution. Not the product, organisations, or for that matter sufferers of illnesses. Clear on that? Ice-cream? OK.

Lets start with the statue of liberty as the stunt-area. Not bad, she did after all say "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...." and practically every red-blooded American knows this by heart, so there you have a breathing connection right off the bat, Alpha-1 makes it hard to breathe. And doing something to the actual statue of liberty is right up there with tagging Air Force one, considering the security and symbolism. Then you prevent the French lady from breathing with... Saran Wrap or something. Okay, this is stretching it. Saran Wrap is see-through. I can imagine that other items were considered, such as swimming pool covers, but then Lady Liberty might look like she was wearing a Niqab since they're either dark blue or black, and that would send the wrong message.

Your photographs show what we see in the film, that a boat was in the water at night near Liberty Island - this is not the part of the clip we doubt has happened, so you've only proven the boat was in the water near Liberty Island which was never in doubt.

So back to Saran Wrap, and this film. In the boat, aiming to get to the actual island surrounded by control markers several hundred feet out where you'd attract the attention of the Park Police at 1000 ft out, and there's no private dock only one built for the ferry, we're supposed to believe (without any images showing the docking with telltale Liberty Island visual cues) that this boat docked on that island. We then see running camera toward the statue at night, and the inside of something that is presumed to be Lady Liberty herself, but we haven't seen the new copper doors or anything that tells us we're going in her. Then up the stairs to the head which was re-opened for tourists as recently as 2009, the copper doors that are locked after closing hours.

The Saran Wrap rolls we've been shown earlier in the clip, a few restaurant sized rolls at maybe a meter wide, have not been prepared in any way, as in taped together or similar, to create one big sheet. Yet when we see the last non-shaky-camera glimpse of the statue, what we see is a single giant sheet of plastic on her face. We also get to watch one of Geoff Konig's Alpha-1 crew-people laugh at the reactions of the tourists but the only reactions we get to see are very normal for tourists at Lady Liberty, they're photographing her. There is nothing in the tourists photo-snapping to alert us that something is very different with the statues face. Could they even see Saran Wrap from down there?

Add to that, nobody has reported on it. If activists actually made it up the head of Lady Liberty and did this, I would imagine miles of press being written about it. From right-wing-bloggers having heart attacks that just anyone can prance into and "deface" the statue of liberty with "where is the security we pay for" rants, to apolitical ad-bloggers like ourselves bowing down in awe at a stunt well done. Practically everyone from mom-bloggers to national press are reporting on the new security measures which would make things easier for tourists, and that's not even half as exiting as a defaced statue.

... and a helicopter? I dunno Howie, I almost landed on her head once back in the carefree days when Helicopter pilots could just swing by the Statue of Liberty to impress ten year old girls, but that kind of scenic route seems to require all sorts of permissions these days, from what I gather New Yorkers are still rather jumpy about low flying aircraft as Obama learned the hard way, so if a (much smaller) helicopter was going to do it, it would have to go through official channels and carry Navy Seals or similarly trained übermen to do the job. It would probably have to be a military helicopter too.

To top it all off, we have a website, but the Saran Wrapped face doesn't alert us to this, the press hasn't written about it making the connection to this website, and there were no happy activists at the Statue of Liberty passing out flyers or similar to alert the tourists supposedly shocked by the Saran Wrapped Liberty to the alpha-1incident website. In short: no sender, no call to action.

Or really short: #fail

Dabitch's picture

Oh, and for the too long, didn't read types.

The domain ALPHA-1INCIDENT.COM is owned by DIGITAL DRAFTFCB HEALTHCARE, and the technical and administrative contact is Andrew Wint, He was working late on valentines day when he bought the domain, 14-Feb-2011. Not "beginning of january".

The last name Konig is pretty unusual in the states, whitepages says that there's only 3 named John Konig in the states, and in this fictional story we're supposed to have two in the same family. Dad John, and son John, brother of Geoff. Geoff Konig is a name-combo whitepages says there are exactly nil of. Not sure how much we can trust that directory, but I do know that all I can find on these names are brand new twitter and facebook accounts, complete with avatars that are photos from the day of filming this.

But there's some buzz now, they got it on Buzzfeed Disease Awareness Stunt Vandalizing the Statue of Liberty

Oh, and ShawnaRosen (good cop) and MrWizard64 (bad cop) both logged in with the same IP#. just to call me stupid. HA HA HA!

caffeinegoddess's picture

So it's a "buzz" thing from DraftFBC for some pharma drug...quelle surprise! And of course it's fake. And lame. FAIL x 10. Good investigative work!

Dabitch's picture

They're not exactly hiding the campaign, @DraftfcbHealth even tweeted about it a few days ago, so I don't understand the feverish fight to try and "keep it real" as it were.

caffeinegoddess's picture

Maybe someone there didn't get the memo. Still no good reason for them to try to start a flame war...guess they were hoping for more exposure or something.

Dabitch's picture

My guess: angry person working on the project took it personally. Same person - person with access to that account I should say, since it was a different IP# - went in and removed the comment today, which we all know is a very silly thing to try and do. Dabitch don't play that.

Neo's picture

So now the edit button is gone? LOVED THAT BUTTON. Thanks a lot MrWizard64, you're an ass.

fairuse's picture

All the virtual ink used on a topic I filed in the read someday folder and all I really notice is EDIT BUTTON GONE.

Dabitch's picture

I'm really sorry guys, but having someone spew that kind of vitriol over me, only to change his mind later and delete it alerted me to the fact that spammers could make innocent sounding comments, only to change them later to libido-rapido type comments. And we can't have that, now can we.

The edit button has only ever been used by people to correct spelling mistakes before, oh and one user went through the trouble of deleting everything he ever said once (I offered to delete his entire account, and did so, I gussed he had a sudden paranoia rush about something.)

fairuse's picture

RIP Edit button you served us abusers of words and structure well.

The edit button has only ever been used by people to correct spelling mistakes before, oh and one user went through the trouble of deleting everything he ever said once ...

If spammers are hooking up with trolls here, a reasonable assumption, I thank them for making me a better proof reader via no edit button.

Nice offensive tactic, ma'm. And to follow KOT rule - I still cannot see any merit in this stunt, Too many ways to get nothing but bad vibes with a slim chance of success.

James Trickery's picture

DerekSteer : might want to soften your accusations...

You're kidding, right?

AnonymousCoward's picture

This is embarrassing for everyone involved.

AnonymousCoward's picture

What an awesome ad you made, FCB. Really takes my breath away.