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In Swedish forums across all genres and topic types, from renovating homes to designer hangouts, n00b members have been signing up and asking for a nice TV+Internet suggestions. They'll mention the SAMSUNG Media 2.0, and ask if anyone has tried it. They might even pop back in the thread and say that they bought it. But they're just shills from a viral agency.
Pers Värld calls it "Samsung gate", Bronsonid calles them "viral trolls" (both links in Swedish), as it's The Viral Company that are behind the forum posts. In each thread another new member calling themselves "Felmeddelande" or "KidCactus" soon arrives and calls them out on their spammy seeding. The hilarious part isn't their 2002-tactics, but that in each post they embedded a smiley to keep track of the campaign, https://power.moltoman.com/tracker/PMfegnEb/smile.gif, so every instance of their forum-spam is easily googled up. Ooops!
Even funnier, now that "felmeddelande" has toured all the forums with this info, searching on power.moltoman.se now brings up a bunch of threads where forum-dwellers promise to email Samsung and tell them how much they disagree with these tactics and swear that they'll never buy anything Samsung again. Not the effect you were hoping for, was it Samsung?
Soon @clindh, @pellet and everyone who is anyone in media and marketing in Sweden were talking about it on Twitter, so Samsung have at least spent some money on amusing us. Thanks! Per Torberger ( @pellet ) asks at the end of his post: Who the hell is "Felmeddelande"? Wouldn't it be juicy if it was someone from a competing viral agency?
I have phoned Samsungs press contact a few hours ago and asked" Did you hire the Viral company" which he declined to answer over the phone. He said that he would email a reply, but there's no sign of a response yet.
Update again Late Friday afternoon I received a call from Erik Johannesson at Samsung and we discussed this matter. He had looked into it, and did confirm that they had hired The Viral Company for "placing of banner videos", but the work they were doing had 'obviously expanded'.
"Samsung has a policy to be clear as to who the sender is in all of our advertising. What the Viral Company are doing is new to us, and going too far. We can see that this has been criticized. We've put a stop this this. We will reevaluate our internal policy over this, and we will analyze our relationship with the Viral Company, before we continue with any new campaigns."
For the benefit of Swedes and people who like to use google translate, here's his words:
"Framförallt jobbar The Viral Company med placering av videobanners för oss.
De har dessutom fört ut vårt budskap i olika forum. Att jobba på det här sättet är nytt för oss. Vi har velat göra ett test här. Vi märker att det har gått för långt och att det kritiserats. Vi har avslutat detta. Vi beklagar det här.
När Samsung kommunicerar strävar vi efter att avsändaren ska vara tydlig.
Vi kommer att se över vår interna policy efter det här.
Vi kommer att analysera samarbetet med The Viral Company och utvärdera vad som har hänt i detalj innan vi går vidare."