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Trolling Business Competitors / Brand Jamming

Deliberately seeking to undermine a competitor is a rather underhanded way of doing business. Trying to make a viral anti-marketing campaign is even worse. Check out the videos below from "Tony is Back", a campaign aimed at mocking the fictional character 'Tony the Tiger' from Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.






The internet campaign advertises http://tonyisback.com/, which looks like an actual Kellogg's website and links to the official Kellogg's website, but Kellogg's has since redesigned their website and all the links end up on Special Error Message page that says:

"You have reached this page from a website that is not connected to or endorsed by the Kellogg Company."

Basically Kellogg's is being forced to spend money to adjust their website in order to point out that they are not connected with the fake advertising campaign that is "Tony is Back".

Kellogg's has also shut down their social media accounts temporarily.

There is another term for this kind of anti-marketing campaign - it is called Brand Jamming. Brand Jamming is when someone (often anonymously) tries to tarnish the reputation of a brand.

In the past Brand Jamming was often used by anti-capitalists who feel brand names are too powerful and deliberately poke fun at brands for sheer amusement and to prove a point. However in the above case we can see that the artist Jani Leinonen (tonyisback.com is registered to his name) has invested a substantial amount of money into this Brand Jamming campaign - too much to be paid by just him.

Which begs the question, who is paying for the high production quality of the videos?

My guess is: Post Foods.

AKA, Post Cereals, the makers Honey Comb, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, Fruity Pebbles, etc.

Who else would stand to gain from Kellogg's having their brand name tarnished?

Regardless, Kellogg's has since taken legal action. A cease and desist order has evidently called a halt to more videos that were supposed to released on a daily basis, but only 3 videos became public. The most controversial video of the 3 (you can guess which one) apparently went over the line of parody and was deliberately tarnishing.

So word to the wise, if you are thinking of using Brand Jamming or otherwise attempting to troll a brand, remember these things:

#1. Lawsuits can shut down your efforts pretty quickly.

#2. Do it anonymously.

#3. Why bother? What if it backfires and you end up just advertising your competitor?

The last one makes a lot of good sense. If you think about it, doesn't this just more firmly ensconce Kellogg's as a high quality brand? They clearly would never endorse cops beating up a woman or a woman responding to her beating by becoming a suicide bomber.

Think before you try Brand Jamming. It is most likely a waste of your time, and potentially hazardous to your bank account if you get sued for millions.

If you've been a target of Brand Jamming, please contact designSEO.ca for Online Reputation Management Services in Toronto.

Nothing is Free in the World of Advertising

By C. Moffat, October 2015.

Nothing is free in the world of advertising.

Think about that for a moment.

Even if you do your own advertising, it still costs Time. So Time becomes the unit of measurement for determining the value of the advertising you are doing.

If you hire someone else to do the advertising for you then it costs Money. Cash. Dollars. Moolah. Clams. Bucks. Whatever the kids are calling it these days. Loonies, if you live in Canada.

So the concept of free advertising is really a misnomer, because even if you do it yourself it still costs Time and possibly also Materials and/or Fees.

Lets pretend you are handing out flyers on the street to random people. You will need thousands of flyers, which will need to be printed at a print shop like Staples or Kinkos. So there is the cost of materials right there. You spend Time designing the flyer yourself, you have it printed for a Materials cost, and you spend more Time handing out the flyer on the street.

Another route is you build a website - which you can get for free, but you still have to design the website and write all the content for the website. So that is more Time right there. If you want the website to look professional you will need to buy a domain name for a Fee so you can have a .com or .ca website and you are not using Blogspot / Wordpress / etc. [You will note we have chosen to make this blog very low budget, it doesn't even have its own domain name. Not yet at least. We don't bother to buy a domain name for a blogspot page until it reaches 100 posts. It is not worth the investment in our opinion until a blog reaches 100 posts of content.]

So what do we have here...

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Materials (Money)
  4. Fees (Money)

But let us pretend for a moment you have a Lack of Time. How much advertising can you get when you have a Lack of Time? Not a lot as it turns out. You are basically down to the two basic options:

  • Do it yourself with what little time you have.
  • Use the little time you have to hire someone else to do it for you.

Some people may have noticed the Old Catch-22 in this equation. You have to have money to make money.

It is a very simple concept. You have to invest money in advertising in order for your business to make MORE money.

A few days ago a DJ contacted me via email apparently looking for advertising. What was revealed over time however was that they were looking for free advertising. They wanted someone else to do the work of advertising their DJ career, but they didn't want to pay for the advertising. They apparently expected other people to just advertise their career for free.

Now I should note that this person is not famous. I have never heard of them before. But lets pretend that they were famous - famous people know you have to spend money on advertising if you want extra publicity, otherwise you are really just relying on fans to do the work for you - because in theory fans will provide free advertising - provided you do the basic work of making a product that looks good and you have a loyal fanbase due to years of previous advertising to build up both your fanbase and your career. Which goes back to money again - the people working with the celebrity invested money in promoting their career, they made them a celebrity over time, and then the celebrity reaps the rewards of years of money poured into their careers.

A non-celebrity trying to become a celebrity therefore really needs that extra boost of investment in their career in order to make things happen. People don't develop a fanbase over night by doing zero work.

You may be familiar with the concept of artists and musicians being "discovered". That is a false stereotype because what they don't tell you is all the years of training, practice, failure that the artist or musician went through before they became financially successful. They put in the time and effort and their success was result of all that effort.

Here is a little fact for you. Artists typically don't become financially successful until after the age of 40. So lets take for example American painter Jackson Pollock, born 1912, died 1956 at the age of 44.

People like to claim that Pollock became famous because art critic Clement Greenberg "discovered" him, but that is wholly untrue. Pollock was already successful as a painter before Greenberg. Pollock's fame did skyrocket after the Life magazine article in 1949, when he was 37. Thus Pollock managed to become famous before the age of 40, which is very rare, but he was already financially successful.

Oddly enough however his fame didn't add any extra financial success. Once famous Pollock abandoned his drip style of painting and went back to figurative work. His finances never really improved due to the extra fame.

But Pollock never would have reached that point in his career had he not put in the effort. According to people who knew him he was extraordinarily persistent, hard-working and ambitious.

And so the moral of the story for the people out there who want "free advertising" is to go work harder. If you want to become successful, you need to work hard at it. Need advertising? Start working on it yourself or hire someone else to do it if you are unwilling to do the work yourself.

Nothing is free in the world of advertising.
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