Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, September 10, 2021


The lid was bound to be blown off sooner or later. YouTube’s lonelygirl15 apparently has been revealed to be some sort of viral marketing production.

I say “apparently” because, as with all such conspiracy-fueled topics, this could be just another wrinkle in the meta-storyline that is Bree and Danielbeast. The outing could have been premeditated, all the supposed clues and slip-ups in the videos could have been there intentionally, the message from the creators could be just another false lead… You get the idea.

I think the timing of the confession — only a day before the Los Angeles Times gave the story true mainstream media exposure, with superagency CAA being fingered as the puppetmaster — is significant. But the upshot is that there shouldn’t be any more illusions about this being an authentic couple of kids goofing around.

There I go, qualifying again! “Shouldn’t”, I say? Yup. Because, as is obvious from the comments on my previous post on this subject, even a thorough debunking of the premise — i.e., the discovery of the pre-registration of the lonelygirl15.com domain name — hasn’t stemmed the flow of chatter on whether the story is “real” or not. True, the arguments have veered a bit, going from issues of plausibility to speculation on motives. But even in the face of pretty damning evidence, the debate stayed alive. People still wanted to obsess about it, regardless.

And I think that’s ultimately the big cha-ching marketing lesson to be learned from this exercise. The point isn’t whether or not a ruse like this can be pulled off — in fact, it’s probably more effective if it doesn’t come off. Cracks in the facade invite obsessive snoopers to poke around and, inevitably, spread the word about what they’ve “uncovered”. That, in turn, generates publicity that’s substantially different from the usual promotional messages — it projects an air of defiance, of beating the gamemaster at his own game. It shifts the story from typical marketing message to hard news (or, at least, harder news than a press release is), and that framework shift makes it all the more effective. It engages a segment of the audience who, while seemingly hostile to the campaign, actually wind up becoming the most dedicated and vocal cheerleaders for the effort. In other words: A marketer’s dream.

That’s the point: The generation of a conspiratorial atmosphere, where the audience thinks it’s outwitted the hype machine. When, in reality, the machine has merely co-opted the audience, in order to push an even more effective sell job. In short, you can expect to see a rash of these supposed “exposés”, especially online, in the near future.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 09/10/2021 10:31:30 PM
Category: Internet, Advert./Mktg. | Permalink |

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  1. LONELYGIRL15: THE FINAL INSULT

    I know I already declared the cover blown on the whole lonelygirl15 thang. But that was only the veracity of the premise.
    Now, the actual schemers have come forward, confirming that it was a stab at building audience for a proposed movie/series. It …

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 09/12/2021 @ 11:47:34 PM

  2. LONELYGIRL15 AS PARADIGM

    So what’s the lasting impact from the whole lonelygirl15 imbroglio? A rash of mystery/viral marketing campaigns employing a similar blurring of the edges between selljob and product.
    “In the unspoken compact between us and advertisers, there…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 09/19/2006 @ 11:45:46 PM

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