The power of blogs to expose marketing trickery

Posted by David Meerman Scott 04:39 AM on June 06, 2005

An interesting story circulating on various blogs and picked
up by the New York Times over the weekend illustrates the importance of
thinking twice before trying to fool savvy consumers. Marketers beware:
trickery is bound to be exposed.

Corporate radio giant Clear Channel
Communications started a fake pirate radio station  and companion Web site called "Radio Free Ohio" (the original site has since been removed), to broadcast “pirate radio” critical of… other Clear Channel
stations. The trickery was discovered by someone who posted a comment on
message boards of another radio station: WOXY – "the future of rock &
The story was then picked up by Stay Free Magazine in this post.

It turns out that the Web site for Radio Free Ohio had been registered by Clear Channel - information that anyone can access through a domain search.

It reminds me of the fake Lincoln Fry commercials, Web site
and blog hyped by McDonald's beginning with an ad during the 2005 Super Bowl

Marketers need to think through the repercussions of fakery
and seriously consider if such tactics are worth the risk. With
millions of amateur sleuths out there ready to post their findings to blogs and
message boards, it just a matter of time before such a tactic is exposed…

David Meerman Scott

Subscribe to Email Updates

sonic branding