Rear view girls was the latest of these. It was presented so that two girls came up with idea to attach camera on their back to see how guys and all others are checking their asses. Couple of days later it turned out to be a Levis jeans sponsered thing and not really real. Original video was removed from Youtube, but was at least available at time of writing this in Dailymotion.
Another one was Jesus loves KitKat. Nestle or their ad agency sent some photos to different news or websites with a picture of KitKat candy bar, where after a bite there was a picture of Jesus shown. They where hoping that it would get viral and it got. I blogged about that sometime ago already. Then after some time they actually told that it was done by them and not by any real KitKat buyer.
Then there was Future of Digital Camera demonstrared in CES 2011. Guys made a video at the time of CES, which is the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, which seemed like they were annoyncing this camera at CES. This soon got viral, even though it raised some questions in many forums. This one turned out to be a concept from ad agency and not really a real one.
These kind of publicity stunts, make us question everything there is in the web. It starts to be imppossible to know what of it is real and what is not. News sites and other media sites are also sharing all these content with everybody as fast as they can to be on top of the media stack, and they are not being critical with any of these content. This will cause that all these stunts get lot of attention really fast.
So is there a harm in this? I think there is. I see it to be dangerous when ads and real life are being mixed. People trust less and less on news sources if they often find out that the content they thought was real, was just another ad.
I already once made a mistake with questionable campaign againsts McDonalds, I thougt it was just another PR stunt, but it turned really to be a campaign against McDonalds. I think I'm not the only one doing these mistakes. I believe many don't even know that all of those three examples I told about are actually fake ones.
I admit I have enjoyed all of these stunts. Still I don't like they intentionally lied to me and made me believe these stuff were real. I would appreciate there being a small disclaimer saying that this is an ad campaign when it is. It would help us all to make a better and more transparent web. I guess I'm just dreaming.
Written by +Henri Hämäläinen