Dr. Evil: "Austin… I am your father."
Dr Evil: No, I can’t back that up.
… from Austin Powers Trilogy
Which relates to a perfectly executed but factually incorrect advertising campaign by AT&T:
photo courtesy of Brian at Weblogs Work
I’m not even going to START with my this gets my blood boiling…okay…maybe I’ll start.
#1 – I blogged about AT&T lame-o campaign a little while back
and one of their lackey advertising dorks left a nasty comment on my
blog. Something about how a Web 2.0 blogger shouldn’t be commenting on
his brilliant advertising campaign. Ha! First of all, if they knew
their asses from the blogosphere, they would know that my background is in advertising and marketing and that their campaign sux rss.
Working with numerous advertising agencies I can feel the agency pain. No doubt they (AT&7) sent the A-list to the creative kick-off. They, the ad agency, were assured that indeed AT&T had street cred with the bloggers.
Unfortunately AT&7 is a legacy monopoly with no clue how to treat a consumer (apparently at least – I no longer user their services!). Posting those billboards made me comment on them in Houston while driving. I didn’t post it, but many others did and unfortunately for AT&T one of them was Tara Rogue. Hee hee.
Assume every customer is king and your brand will have no problems. Bloggers are like the CIA – they are silent and will enforce what they believe in.
PR is mostly about opportunities, but some PR opportunities are created. It is a well known technique to create a survey that might be controversial, or at least "interesting" and use that as fuel for a press release perhaps even annually.
This enterprising individual generated great blogosphere coverage by graphing an interesting google query. Via Dina, the graph (to the left) is generated from a google query with alternating countries. I doubt a scientific method of sociology was applied, but it passes the "I find it interesting" test. Great job Radio Blogs.
Just to repeat, literally, this press was generated from a map with labels and 50 to 100 searches in google. That simple. Strategy is more important than press releases when it comes to public relations.
John Battelle has an interesting post that emphasizes Security in Social Software 101.
From Battelle’s Search Book:
That bargain is this: we trust you to not do evil things with our information. We trust that you will keep it secure, free from unlawful government or private search and seizure, and under our control at all times. We understand that you might use our data in aggregate to provide us better and more useful services, but we trust that you will not identify individuals personally through our data, nor use our personal data in a manner that would violate our own sense of privacy and freedom.
That’s a pretty large helping of trust we’re asking companies to ladle onto their corporate plate.
Privacy and security is a complex subject. I would venture, as someone who has gone through a bunch of software license negotiations, that most of the evil comes from clients. Yes seriously. The vast majority of clients are ethical, but I have heard every request from prospects including "can you automatically make a copy of every inbound and outbound email of xyz person without their knowing" to "I want to install a keystroke logger on the IT managers PC. Can you help me?" and the old standby of "Y’all are great at SEO! Do you do porn sites? (NO!)"
More recently we sent a fair license agreement to a prospect and they had it reviewed by some piranah lawyer who sent it back with carefully articulate points that basically suggested we just sign over rights to our own heartbeat to them now. We refused to do business with them.
There are, perhaps, legitimate national security reasons to request data. Yet Battelle’s point is "we trust you to not do evil things with our information." Evil is of course difficult to define, particularly when it comes to social software which is itself difficult to define. Interestingly I find myself saying "you can’t define evil when it comes to social software but I know it when I see it." Go figure.