Shades of Leni Riefenstahl.
The Wall St. Journal has done some good old-fashioned investigative reporting to find that “Al Gore’s Penguin Army“ a YouTube video spoofing “An Inconvenient Truth“ was posted by “Toutsmith” from a computer registered to DCI Group, a Washington, D.C., PR and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. Frankly not surprising given the ethical level at which most PR firms operate, but good reporting from the Journal.
Of course now ad PR agencies, those clueless wonders who are still producing flashing banner ads and PR-speak press releases, are saying “Wow! We can use this social media to run annoying messages and make people buy stuff.”
The good news: like character blogs that were blown off the Internet by disgusted viewers and bloggers, social media exploitation soon will also go the way of the dinosaurs, along with the agencies that create them.
The Gore-spoof video shows penguins snoring as the President drones on about global warming causing the mid-east crisis, Lindsay Lohan’s anorexia, and other issues. The penguins also snore through tongue-in-cheek advice on ways to stop global warming: stop exhaling, become vegetarian, walk everywhere, no matter the distance, take cold showers. The video has been viewed more than 67,000 times on YouTube; more than 12,000 times this morning.
The Journal also notes that Paramount Classics, the distributor of “An Inconvenient Truth,” had cartoonist and Simpsons creator Matt Groening, spoof the Gore movie with “A Terrifying Message from Al Gore,” which has had nearly a million views. Paramount is identified as the source next to the video.
Traffic to the penguin video, first posted on YouTube.com in May, got a boost from prominently placed sponsored links that appeared on Google search engine when users typed in “Al Gore” or “Global Warming.” The ads, which didn’t indicate who had paid for them, were removed shortly after The Wall Street Journal contacted DCI Group on Tuesday.
The Journal also noticed the long-standing trend for marketers eager to build buzz for books, music and summer movies to use YouTube to promote them. And, the story notes, as if it were news:
“Now, it’s being tapped by political operatives, public relations experts and ad agencies to sway opinions.
And because amusing animations with a homespun feel can be created just as easily by highly paid professionals to promote agendas as by talented amateurs, caveat emptor is more relevant than ever.”
What’s really amazing is how retarded it is. It is poor quality both technically and on the scenario side, lacks creativity. It looks like a middle school child came up with it.
It’s really sad these PR agencies yield so much money for so little quality and insight.
Great analysis of the story.
I’ve added this post to the anti-astroturfing campaign page at the New PR Wiki.
For those interested in DCI, see:
Some other info:
Joshua Micah Marshall wrote in July 2000: “DCI is the creation of Tom Synhorst, a Republican political operative and onetime field coordinator for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, who first made a name for himself by helping Bob Dole pull off an upset victory over George Bush in the 1988 Iowa caucuses. In subsequent years, Synhorst remained close to Dole, but he found his real niche in phone bank work. DCI, as well as a cluster of allied companies in which Synhorst also holds an interest, has worked for the tobacco industry for most of the 1990s. In 1998, when Congress was poised to sign off on a comprehensive tobacco settlement, the industry retained both DCI and Direct Impact to engineer a coordinated campaign of grass-roots opposition to the bill. In 1999, in the wake of the Columbine school shootings, the NRA paid out more than $300,000 to DCI and another phone bank operator, Optima Direct, to rev up opposition to renewed efforts to regulate firearms.”