What are the ethical issues in fake social network profiles? Is it ok to have a fake character front a campaign as long as it’s clear it’s not a real person? How does Campari’s Hotel Campari campaign compare to the Edelman Wal-mart flogs? Read/Write Web blogs’s Richard MacManus says the Campari fake social network profiles make him uncomfortable, as they do me.
The agency that created the campaign says the fake profiles drive traffic and sell product. I think this campaign is just as unethical as Wal-mart and other flogs. And that it abuses the trust upon which social media is built. What do you think?
Hotel Campari, which promotes the Italian liquor, includes a website, where a blindfolded host recommends that you immediately go to room 23. The flash-driven site, which is not work safe, features Selma Hayek.
A fake MySpace profile is fronted by 28 year-old “Red Passion”; who also has a fake flickr site and a racy, masked, YouTube video that’s been downloaded 17,291 times. As you can see, they covered the social network bases.
A member of the account team from MRM Worldwide tells McManus that
“the results of the social networks campaign have been very good. The Hotel Campari website got 170,000 views. For the social network sites, they got more than 3,000 “friends” and 2,500 comments across the sites. The number of views across the social network sites is currently around 92,000.
All up, 13.5% of the total traffic to Hotel Campari was thanks to the social networking sites. Niccolò also told me they achieved “a lot of buzz around the website” and he pointed me to a del.icio.us page showing relevant links.
I’m not as convinced that this is as unethical as the Walmart fake blogs. I think when they are obviously character blogs/profiles, tied into a key marketing role, then they can add more to the campaign for those wanting to go deeper. Films and TV do it all the time, why not commercial characters. Everything does point towards the profiles being marketing
If I was Campari I’d be more concerned about the demographic of where they are advertising as an alcohol company – and the content of the friends messages etc on myspace.
What ad agency is responsible for the Hotel Campari print ads?