Friday, March 14, 2003
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 

Lithuania's president Rolandas Pasksas is on a roll:
From CNN: Paksas' claim to be a "believer" in mystic Lena Lolisvili has sparked uproar in the Catholic former Soviet country, which is sensitive about its image abroad after being invited to join the European Union and NATO in 2004. Local media have dubbed Lolisvili Lithuania's "Rasputin," after the Siberian mystic who wielded influence over Russia's Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra in the early 1900s. "Lithuania risks becoming the laughing stock of the world," its largest newspaper, Lietuvos Rytas, said Friday. Lolisvili, an ethnic Georgian who claims God tells her the future and energizes toilet paper she then wraps around her patients, told Paksas in 1996 he would become president. Paksas has said Lolisvili helped him when he was ill, but has never given details of his treatment.
Quiz show scandal in the UK: college lecturer Tecwen Whittock is accused of helping "Who Wants To Be A Millionare?" contestant Major Charles Ingram win the top prize by signalling with a series of coded coughs:
The prosecution has claimed the college lecturer, who was one of the ten "Fastest Finger First" contestants while the major was in the programme's "hot seat" used a total of 19 strategically placed coughs to help the officer choose most of the correct answers from the four options offered after each question.
"Turn your head and..." Whittock blames his tussiveness on a dust allergy. And....

Corporations are starting to catch on to the power of blogging: Dr.Pepper/Seven Up ires customers when reports surface of a fake blog used to create a "buzz" about their new milk drink:
From GlobeandMail.com: Dr Pepper/Seven Up's goal was to give Raging Cow credibility with young people, so it hit on the idea of using "bloggers" to talk up the drink on the Internet...the beverage maker, based in Plano, Tex., flew five of the Web's most popular bloggers and their parents to Dallas for an all-expenses-paid visit. It gave them samples of the drink, T-shirts, hats and Amazon.com gift certificates, then sent them home to start pumping Raging Cow to their friends on the Web — without disclosing that the company had put them up to it. The bloggers, aged 18 to 24, were also asked to put links on their Web pages to a blog-like site, ragingcow.com which chronicles the adventures of a fictitious cow.
Should have called the drink, "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire."

Unfortunately, this is only one example of something called "roach marketing", where companies try to disguise advertising as spontaneous interaction to give products credibility. Other "roach marketing" tactics include planting actors in public places to hold "real" conversations about products, using brand names conspicuously.

Now that's just too much. I used to write ad copy for a living, and this trend stinks. Next time you hear someone say, "I really reaally love my new [brand name whatever], you know, the one made by [company]" just leave. Or better yet, toss a bottle of Raging Cow at 'em.