Article on The Cinema Post
Business Insider is more than a little upset with HBO, Gawker and marketing firm CampfireNYC who were running this admittedly clever viral campaign to promote the television show “True Blood”.
A few days ago, The Business Insider received an e-mail announcing that “Gawker” had acquired the blogging website www.bloodcopy.com and that it would be a new addition to their network. The e-mail was an invitation to an event to celebrate the faux deal, in which guests are advised that “True Blood” (the ficitional synthetic blood from the show) would be served, and a request that guests “kindly refrain from wearing silver jewelry”. TBI then went on and reported the story – shortly thereafter being advised that the website was indeed a fake and that Gawker were in partnership in HBO with promoting the show.
Now, to us who aware of True Blood, it may seem ridiculous that TBI fell for this in the first place – but they seem to be most upset with the fact that there was no clear indication or disclosure in the privacy/terms on the website that it was a viral campaign or was owned by HBO, etc. (this is usually the case).
This incident does raise some interesting questions though – are there, or should there be any ethics guidelines when dealing with Viral marketing? We often report on information sent to us via press release, so in a different scenario we may well have fallen for the same trick, especially as it was created in partnership with such a recognizable brand name as “Gawker”. And how much research is enough before reporting on such press releases? Still, this is a pretty big one to get caught up in.
Anyhow, we kind of take cruel enjoyment from the whole thing being “True Blood” junkies ourselves, and there was ultimately no real harm caused in the incident.
Head on over to The Business Insider for more detailed information on the incident.