Bjoern at Site-9 Weblog spotted something iffy with the polite email from a marketing student. The email starts off with : "First of all, let me tell you how much I like your blog. I am a last year student at university and I hope to start working in advertising next year. Your blog is a real source of inspiration." and goes on to tell about the American Express interactive Billboard we posted about on Thursday.
Bjoern did a little header-reading on the emails to see where it came from, and when he compared to his site-stats, he saw that the same IP showed up in his server logs as tmp.ogilvy.com.
dig -x 126.96.36.199
and the answer is
188.8.131.52.in-addr.arpa. 86318 IN PTR tmp.ogilvy.com.
In short, they suckered us! Ogilvy happens to be American Express' ad agency. I'll blame my lack of cynicism that day on the yearly deadline stress before the superbowl, I read the mail and took it at face value.
Well not really, I couldn't care less if they were a student, if they really did think this site was a source of inspiration or not - all I care about is the tip, and is it "report-worthy"? After sending a few images to the Amex billboard, including goatse as I mentioned in the comments I thought it was a fun little poster and posted about it. Someone at Amex server actually sifts through those images and makes sure goatse doesn't end up on the street after all, and that's pretty clever (though it might have been even more fun had the Goatse image-send worked - G-d knows it would have gone viral immediately then)
However, I do not like being lied to. I want full disclosure. Student? Perhaps on an interneship at Ogilvy? Not a student at all, just an Ogilvy suit? Whomever the person from Ogilvy was, they might as well have just come out and said they came from Ogilvy. It would not prevent me from posting about the ad, in fact I might be more likely to do so if I can speak to person behind a campaign and ask some questions. Like you know, how actual reporting is done.
It's not like we haven't been getting press releases and scoops from the producers & creatives involved here for years, its' what this site was built for after all. We write about advertising. We report advertising news.
There is no need to hide who you are on the site that wants to know, the people who do tend to get in trouble when they are outed. Like Bjoen said: somebody was walking the fine line between clever Buzz and stupid Bullshit Marketing.. we don't need any of the latter here. Full disclosure please.
Bjoerns post gathered a lot of trackbacks - this is what happens when you aren't being truthful. The idea is to gather this many trackbacks on the advertising itself, not on the hamfisted "Buzz" for it, as it's not putting either Ogilvy or Amex in a positive light.
Ogilvy & Mather, American Express und Kundenverarschung?
Excerpt: Björn Ognibeni bekommt eine Email, angeblich von einem Leser aus Belgien:
First of all, let me tell you how much I like your blog. I am a last year student at university and I hope to st...
Is Ogilvy & Mather testing Bullshit Marketing for American Express?
Excerpt: I've gotten weird email asking me to pimp stuff for them on my blog in the past, but here's someone being asked to pimp American Express by someone saying they are a student studying advertising. He did a traceroute that...
Weblog: Joi Ito's Web
American Express engages in LCD marketing*
Excerpt: Joi Ito pointed me to the post about Ogilvy & Mather doing "bullshit marketing" for American Express.
American Express is a company I have a lot of respect for. But when they start treating their techno-savvy customers as complete doufi (plural ...
Weblog: The Newest Industry
Excerpt: Or how not to pitch a blogger.
Or more stuff that just cracks me up about being in marketing.
Joi Ito points to Bjoern Ognibeni, a marketing consultant in German.
It's just too funny. Go follow the links and enjoy.
Yes, markets are conv...
Weblog: Daddy, make a picture
Excerpt: Inwieweit selbst namenhafte Agenturen die *Macht* von Blogs einschätzen, zeigt aktuelles Erlebnis des Site-9 Bloggers Bjoern Ognibeni - und wie schnell man damit auf die Nase fallen kann (für die *falschen Fans*) ebenfalls.
Wir sind nicht so blöd, wie Ogilvy & Mather glauben
Excerpt: Bjoern Ognibeni hatte ein lustiges Erlebnis (via Stefan): Er bekam eine E-Mail von einem Studenten aus Belgien, die ihn auf eine Online-Kampagne von American Express aufmerksam machte. Er verfolgte sie...
Weblog: Das E-Business Weblog
You don't actually need to bottle stupidity...
Excerpt: In my previous post I referenced Phil Gomes ' view on why he doesn't feel the need to rush to the defence of the PR profession.
Weblog: PR Opinions
So, dear readers and stray surfers.. Sorry about that. I apologize for being had, I didn't have time to look into it. On the upside, we did bring you the superbowl as always - so we're not all bad right? :) Give Caff and Clay a round of applause as well, they were up for 25 hours straight both of them.
When will advertising learn that the internet is the last place you want to be lying? Information can be tracked, things can be sussed out...and then in the end you look like a moron.
We also received this message on MarketingVOX.com. Didn't run it because it was just a little fishy, and it came during a particularly busy news day. I did send a polite note back, though, just in case.
What I find interesting is that this might actually constitute a Can-Spam Act violation in the U.S., having been an email spammed out to multiple publications and blogs with a deliberately misleading origin and subject line.
What's the relevance of E.U. anti-spam legislation here?
One way to fight good press.....is with bad press! So let's bad mouth that "student" at Ogilvy University!
Aha, so you got it as well huh? Tssk. Anti-spam laws are tootless everywhere.
But public shaming usually works. ;)
There are now 12,200 hits when you google Ogilvy Bullshit. The funny things is, I only know that because someone did google that and found this page.
Fun fact, this story was later used as a textbook example on how not to seed the internet in a series of lectures held by Bjoern.