Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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 showed that it might have come from Ogilvy & Mather. Ha! It's like whispering a secret to someone in a stadium wearing a hot microphone.

If it is O&M, it sounds like Bullshit Marketing. Be careful!

The term Bullshit Marketing summarizes methods where customers are not treated as empowered, smart and connected individuals, but as a dumb mass of idiots.

Via Nico


Same here. I am getting emails from (I think) PR companies sending press releases asking me to post on my website...

seem like some PR companies still dont get it. it is treating us like the old media :P

This reminds me of Seth Godin's "viral marketing".

Except that the companies trying this out are going about this like a bunch of idiots. Everyone is trend concious that it's pathetic.

Trying to copy everyone else cos' they can't stand on their own two feet.

Of course 'cool' companies with fruit logos don't have to do this, because they already have people that pimp their stuff on weblogs..... they don't even sue MOST of them.

Nice burn on Olgivy & Mather!

Actually, it did come from Ogilvy & Mather, or to be more precise from Ogilvy Interactive. After writing back and forth to get him tell me "some details" about his "student life", I asked him directly if he is working for O & M. He admitted it...

But after that he fell silent. That's too sad, because I still would like to know why he was pitching a Belgian ad campaign to a German blogger !?

Btw, did anybody else get this email ?

It's because international comment, at any level, is good for an advertising company. It's gives the impression that they're creating a 'buzz' that goes beyond their own borders and shows that they have a bigger 'vision' of what it's all about for the brand.

As Joi and Seth say, Bullshit Marketing.

Ugh! I am getting more metric spam daily in the GMAIL SPAM CAM. Damn them!

Heh. I got the same e-mail.

Don't worry, Joi, it's just people in denial that there's folk out there doing for free what they're used to charging $3K a day for.

Ogilvy Interactive and Ogilvy & Mather at some point ruffle consumers feathers - it's amazing how they ever acheived such a high ranking position as a top 5 global agency!

Back in the 90s they advertised a B2B marcoms campaign for the all new Ford transit in South Africa - which featured all of the factory workers - who were all black - so Ogilvy (with the client's permission) replaced just the faces with white people thru Photoshop!

I don't know about Bullshit Marketing - but that's Racist Marketing!!!

I think this topic is something that we will see more of.

Back in the day, when web companies and ISPs were agressively using customer data for marketing, legitimate (some not so legitimate as well) companies started putting up privacy policies on their web sites. Users could then learn more about what companies did or did not do with their data.

I would like to float a suggestion, I think someone should write a Transparency Policy for blogs. This can be posted on blogs so that users will know what kind of commercial relationships blog authors have in relation to their blogging activities.

Joi mentioned a week or two ago that he had been asked to be a gadget tester of some kind. He will be sent some free stuff and if he likes it he can blog about it. If he hates it he can also blog about it. Some readers of this blog posted comments about it which indicated that they did not like the idea. Well, if Joi had some kind of Transparency Policy, he could state that up front. Any readers of his blog could check out his policy and his commercial blog relationships and decide if Joi's comments were\are objective. This empowers the blog reader.

Blog authors that do not have a Transparency Policy will not have as much credibility as those who do.

Perhaps a blog company such as Technorati could offer this kind of policy as a service. Blog authors could pay them a small fee and be verified or audited somehow. Or maybe it could be a free service based on the honor system.

I think this would perhaps help the Blogsphere head off some of the credibility issues that it currently faces and will increasingly face as marketers figure out ways to exploit this new media.

Ah yes, Bullshit Marketing.

Much similar to the "Don't Worry, Be Crappy" school where you sell shoddy products to gullible customers, using customers as an involuntary focus group or set of guinea pigs.

I teach and proclaim Mentally Correct Marketing.

Thanks for sharing this item, Joi.

Just a quick note via comment, because my trackback didn't get through: The person, who sent out the original email, contacted me over the weekend. They want to release an official announcement explaining what happened on Wednesday.

Let's see what they have to say...

Very interesting story. I love the comment about photoshopping out the black faces. Is there any depth that agencies will not stoop to? A Stumble for your efforts.

6 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Is Ogilvy & Mather testing Bullshit Marketing for American Express?.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

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 ... Read More

owehhh:The term Bullshit Marketing summarizes methods where customers are not treated as empowered, smart and connected individuals, but as a dumb mass of idiots Was Ogilvy & Mather und American Express mit Blogs zu tun haben? Die manipulative Schwa... Read More

Cluelesstrain from Daddy, make a picture
February 5, 2005 9:34 PM

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... Read More

Wir sind nicht so bl from Das E-Business Weblog
February 7, 2005 10:28 PM

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... Read More

Is Ogilvy from Community Mobilization
February 8, 2005 5:56 AM

Joi Ito alerts me to the second instacne of poor decission making by a comany in the way they conduct their marketing efforts online. Read More

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 \ Read More