December 13, 2007

Garnier and PayPerPost go for broke, fail at viral campaign and life

| | Comments (16)

128347587844687500fail.jpgUpdate: The agency who created the site and Garnier appear to have been unaware of any activity executed by PayPerPost. The campaign itself is a cute spoof site, but didn't have the intention of marketing without transparency. Adrants is currently investigating who was behind the PayPerPost marketing.

We're begrudgingly posting this to out Garnier's lame attempts at viral marketing and potentially another blogging blunder from PayPerPost (though, we're sure they're smiling at the idea of getting any buzz):

Shake Well Before Use received an email from
"Hey- So I saw this video on youtube- I guess Garnier pulled sponsorship of this show, the harry situation, b/c it was too sexed up. -deana"
Of course, any attempts to Google this email address fail.

The YouTube video shows a supposed Garnier employee telling viewers not to go to in a very *wink wink* manner.

The Harry Situation site is a horrid attempt at a spoof site, not naming what networks, lawyers, etc. they were working with, but somehow managing to spill out the fill name of "Ganier Frucits" at any chance. A quick WhoIS lookup gives a vague address and another un-Google-able Gmail address.

Googling the name of "Todd Gruyere" only pulls up a handful of sites where you can post for free on (mostly free blog ranking sites). The sites that do contain blurbs about the situation, are all written in a similar style with the same facts on each blurb. Interestingly, these blog posts only link to "The Harry Situation", almost always twice in one blog post, and usually one of the links is a TinyURL (not surprisingly, various blogs are linking to the same TinyURLs, but somehow not to each other, nor to where they obtained this information from), something that isn't used often for blog links.

On this particular blog post, the site is again, linked to twice (with 2 TinyURLs). One of which is supposed to go to Todd's "blog", but when you click on the link, it (surprise!) takes you to an image of the "show" hosted on PayPerPost. Also, "interestingly", the same name of the image is used on the Harry Situation blog, only this time appropriately hosted on the site. Other blogs that host the post load PayPerPost data when you visit them.

Our investigative conclusion? Not only has PayPerPost Garnier (and potentially associated ad agencies) attempted to "game" bloggers, by somehow believing that they will link to anything without credentials, but it seems that they are incredibly insatiable in making themselves and any blogger associated with them become an evil empire of ridiculousness.

Dear PayPerPost, PayPerPost bloggers, and PayPerPost clients (possibly, but not yet confirmed, Garnier), please stop lying your way to links. It's pathetic and disrespectful.

Update: Adpuppet researches Deana Burke further.

Update 2: The content creator (Kirt) left a few comments below. It appears that Kirt and Garnier were unaware of the PayPerPost efforts.


hey Ariel, I think you're over reacting here. Clearly this is an ad-style ARG. I don't think anyone would even think for a moment that this was in any way for real. It's just a marketing campaign based around a hoax show, and is playing out a bit like Art of the Heist or Beta 7 or the Mini Transformers, but without the subtlety. Both the blogs you linked to look to be part of the campaign too.

I don't think anyone tried to "game you" - the thing is too obvious for that. It just tried to write you a teaser email to get you involved with an attempt at non-traditional storytelling.

I agree with Steve's comment above mostly. Although, I'm not sure you're 'overreacting' as this whole kind of advertising is based on a relationship with the possible consumer and they've obviously missed their mark in someway to have you react as you have.

I've been following the ARG space for a while (I'm a TV producer for G4 and covered in-depth both the Halo 2 I Love Bees game & The Beast) and feel that when done right, this space can connect with consumers in ways not thought possible by normal advertisers.

Also, part of the whole thing with ARGs is buying into the fiction, knowing it's a story being told that you're being encouraged to figure out. It's a bummer Garnier used PPP for this because there are much more subtle ways to do this...

However, what I think is interesting here is the ARG format moving into a different market (women & beauty products) from one that it's been more comfortable in (young men & movies/games). Maybe it won't work for those audiences?

It seems you posted all the links they wanted you to post anyway. So I guess it worked.

This is just another attempt at an ad agency to think that they can make something viral by just getting a handful of bloggers to post a video or link.

Honestly, I don't think Madison Ave. has a clue how to market this way.


Steve and Gavin,

I understand where you guys are both coming from and I do understand a little of what makes ARG interesting.

While, I can see how one can say Ariel is over-reacting, she does point to a larger issue.

How does one reconcile the need to keep ARG feel like it is a valid alternative reality, while providing WOMMA compliant disclosure?

I smell a good blog post topic!



Ok, perhaps over-reacting, but I just couldn't resist an excuse for a FAIL LOLcat ;)

Good points to Steve and Gavin, but I do agree with Daniel, in that the issue is all the blogs talking about this are PayPerPost blogs. None of them are transparent or disclosing that they've been paid to post this. The person who emailed me also doesn't appear to be transparent about it.

Overall, I'm sick of receiving things that try to "trick" bloggers into posting it. I would much rather have someone say, hey, we made this video in hopes it goes viral, take a look.

Either way, I wanted to open this one up for everyone to see since no one had yet.

HI Ariel-

I am Kirt Gunn. We made this content. It is a satire. No one from our agency contacted you about this. I am currently investigating the issue to find out who did. When I find out, I will share that information with you. While we support alerting bloggers to the existence of our content, I am confused about the way you were alerted. I would be happy to talk to you in an interview format, or create a post about our beliefs about ARG's and sponsored content.

I want to stress that this particular piece of content is a satire- more specifically a spoof on branded content. it makes fun of the practice, the creators, the network execs and even the marketers. I think ultimately you would support this content if you take another look.

I would love to talk more with you, and try to create some interesting debate about the issue.

I am also intent on finding out why you were contacted this way.



This campaign was just very sloppy and poorly executed - and is just insulting to the this blog's audience. Personally, I'm not just insulted by the fact that the parties behind this actually DID this, but more so by the fact that they thought PayPerPost and ilk (*cough*BuddyLube*cough*) would be the way into the blogosphere and viral glory...Adam is spot on here in noting they just don't get it.

That said, I think we may have an echo chamber of sorts here and that Steve may be optimistic in thinking that nobody would for even a moment think this is real. Unfortunately, there are going to be people who don't know any better, which will continue to fall prey and fuel this kind of dishonest, non-transparent (opaque?) advertising while discrediting the blogosphere at the same time.

Overreacting or not, somebody definitely needed to call this out.

Blogger Mauled BY Fictional Bear. More News at 11.

Ad Puppet- are you kidding me? Did you go to the site?
The site covers topics such as the dangerous habit of "glueballing". This is the practice of using hair gel as a sexual bonding agent. Please let me know if you are seriously worried about someone doing this. If so, do not attempt to use the product in this way. As I said- we are looking into the origin of the email. At this point, our best guess is that is someone being funny as they are referring to an obviously fictional character. If they were working for a partner, we'll share that, and they can speak for their own actions.

Ariel- would you mind clarifying that no one offered you money to post. if someone believed that to be true it could be hurtful to those who worked on this. It did not occur.

I think someone may have tried to pique your curiosity by using a creative way to invite you into the fiction. We still haven't found the source. We will continue to investigate.

At its worst, it might be said that someone might have tried to spoof you. If this was done sloppily, the person who sent you the email can speak for their actions.

In any case, I would ask that you help clarify the misunderstanding.

thx- Kirt

This is so fucking amusing. Looks like the fat interweb kids found something to feel superior about. Well done.

Shit. Let's blow this up huge.


Kirt - I am *not* a PayPerPost blogger and no one offers me money for any of the posts on Shake Well Before Use. I don't think there is any confusion about it.

Fantastic! With everybody bitching about PPP, looks like this campaign is going viral in blogsphere! Don't be naive, marketing is marketing, if some blogs want to take posts and are willing to accept some $$$, then surely you should be questioning the bloggers, not the marketeers? that's their job. 200,000 pieces of content are uploaded to YT everyday, cutting through that crap with branded content is hard work. All press is good press!

Surly you should be questioning the bloggers who are willing to take PPP for branded content, not the marketeers who are pushing it? That's their job, sledge hammer or not, getting viral campaigns noticed in amongst 200k pieces of content uploaded to You Tube a day is some task. If you want to punish those who you feel are "tarnishing" blogsphere with "marketing" stop talking about it!

Apologies for double post, thought the first one failed!

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