Tim Longhurst's Blog

Intel-Quickflix unite to launch bogus website… Here we go again…

May 17th, 2006 · No Comments

intelquickflixIt seems like only yesterday Coca-Cola had the wind taken out of their sails for using false and misleading techniques in their “Zero Movement” campaign. A whole bunch of people weighed in and Coke changed their game-plan significantly within a matter of days.

So how quickly will Quickflix change its latest campaign? I checked it out and it appears, at least to me, that there are a litany of false and misleading statements on this site, purportedly written by two guys called ‘Mike’ and ‘Mal’ (remember ‘Carl’ from Coke?).

What the site claims:
If you believe the site, two guys called Mike and Mal set it up in early February 2006 and in Early May, “Quickflix, a DVD rental company, and Intel have sponsored our hosting! How cool is that!!1!” the page is “copyright 2006 Mike and Mal”.

So Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker (at least for now) has joined with a DVD rental company to endorse one of the crappiest looking pages on the internet. What’s going on?

The reality:
Quickflix registered mikeandmal.com.au in late April 2006 (source: whois record):

Domain Name: mikeandmal.com.au
Last Modified: 24-Apr-2006 06:12:02 UTC
Registrar ID: R00012-AR
Registrar Name: TPP Internet
Status: OK

Registrant: Quickflix Ltd
Registrant ID: ABN 62102459352

Registrant ROID: C3691100-AR
Registrant Contact Name: Paul Wroth

So the site doesn’t appear to be owned by ‘Mike and Mal’, but Quickflix. It wasn’t set up in February, but April and it’s almost certainly not copyright 2006 Mike and Mal, but instead copyright 2006 Quickflix and/or Intel.

So why would two companies (Intel and Quickflix) mislead their audience with fake dates and fake copyright?
I don’t know. But what I do know is that Intel and Quickflix had originally planned a much slicker website than this, but decided to go for the “I’m making this website on my ‘486” look.

They are obviously making an attempt at ‘viral marketing’, but as this article indicates, that’s a risky game to play – especially if you start making stuff up and assuming no one will notice.

Asking to talk to “Mike” or “Mal”
I called Quickflix and asked to speak to Mike or Mal, they weren’t around, and I doubt they’ll call me back. In any case, Quickflix’s corporate office have my contact details, so
if they or Intel would like to comment on this article, I’ll post additional comments here.

Quickflix fesses up

In a brief note that read more like a piece of sales copy than an email, on Friday Quickflix acknowledged that the above post is accurate.

So despite the site claiming to be made in February, nah, it was launched in May. Despite the site claiming to be “Copyright 2006 Mike and Mal”, nah, it’s copyright Quickflix. The boys are just actors. Pretty much everything on that site is B.S.

So what does that say about Quickflicks’ ethics or integrity? Are customer complaints that Quickflix DVDs are often scratched and greasy accurate? Are positive online reviews for Quickflix services simply more fake posts from a company that makes up the rules as they go along? Where does the crap end?

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Category: Corporate craziness

Tobacco billboards to remain in supermarkets and at petrol stations

March 15th, 2006 · No Comments

tobaccopos.1.jpgAustralia’s tobacco marketing laws are ultra mild. On paper, Australia banned cigarette advertising years ago, yet just about every grocery or petrol retailer displays cigarette packets and cartons in transparent displays.

These walls of tobacco brands amount to tobacco billboards in prime locations.

In 2004, New South Wales’ Minister for Health, Frank Sartor, recognising the deadliness of tobacco and the marketing effectiveness of walls of tobacco packaging, indicated that he had the guts to take a stand on this issue:

“You only have to walk into a supermarket and see the rows and rows of brightly coloured cigarette packages to know that tobacco products continue to occupy centre stage. I would like to see them pushed to one side.”

But SMH has revealed that the strength of Sartor’s conviction has waned and the Government is no longer pursuing this agenda.

“It would have been easier to take on retailers than the pubs and clubs [but] … it was a big cost and a big issue for relatively little return…”

If you want to know a little about the organisation that successfully lobbied on this issue, check out the National Alliance of Tobacco Retailers, which is bankrolled in part by the tobacco industry.

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Category: Corporate craziness

nab – national australia bank’s new branding

February 12th, 2006 · No Comments

nablogo.gif“I’ve been nab’d.”

It was the first thought I had when I heard about National Australia Bank’s new branding.

It’s hard to believe a bank would be stupid enough to brand itself using a slang term for theft.

To the left is the new, not very different logo.

My take on the new branding is over here.

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Category: Corporate craziness

So Puff? Sopuff.com What is the sopuff ? Man… the buzz just grows…

February 1st, 2006 · No Comments

Sopuff is the latest ‘teaser’ campaign to hit Australia. I wouldn’t normally write about teaser campaigns, but since I had a go at outing coke with their campaign, I may as well tell you who is running the so puff campaign.

It’s about pizzas.

But not the pizzas that you and I enjoy at from the local pizza guy – you know the pizzas I’m talking about, the ones you smell when you’re going past… You order from the chef, or the guy/girl next to the chef.

Local pizza shops are so fantastic. I recommend you go to your local pizza shop and tell them they rock. Enjoy a “Family” size pizza for me. Take your family or friends there, perhaps?

Order a jug of water for the table and enjoy the same beverage humans have enjoyed for hundreds of thousands of years.

And then, when you’re enjoying your pizza, tell them about the term “so puff” and how it’s a stupid term developed by the marketers for Domino’s Pizza.

You can laugh about the “So Puff” campaign as you enjoy your delicious local pizza shop pizza.

Perhaps the term “so puff” can become a term used to describe “lame”… like “Dominos pizza is so puff”…

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Category: Corporate craziness

Coke’s disrespect for public spaces backfired – yes, there’s a lesson here

February 1st, 2006 · No Comments

qanda.gifThere’s a lot of talk at the moment about the zero coke movement. Already thousands of people have visited the site and I’ve had a sea of supportive media and emails. Today, an advertising guy emailed, asking what all the fuss was about. While plenty of advertising media have gone to great lengths to explain this, I have decided to have a go as well…

Coke’s ‘guerilla’ advertising campaign so far has involved SPAM, graffiti and illegal postering all by a corporation that buys more of our attention than any other. Coke has plastered street furniture, outdoor advertising, print & broadcast ads and product placement in just about every movie since E.T.

We need some spaces in our lives that aren’t ramming commercial messages into our faces.

Community forums, our local neighbourhoods and footpaths are all places most of us would like to enjoy without being sold a product or service.

Coke’s “zero” campaign designers failed to understand that 20-30 year old males value commercial-free spaces as much as anyone. The zero coke movement and similar sites are a ‘shot across the bows’ of advertisers considering sailing further into what should remain non-commercial territory.

If your advertising trashes non-commercial spaces, people may well jam your ads and define your brand quicker than you can say “Aspartame, an artificial sweetener in Coke Zero, may cause brain cancer.”.

I hope that clears things up.

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Category: Corporate craziness