Tonm Coates has a tale about spam comments appearing on his blog. But this was not one of the usual random comments offering financial advice, chemicals or various recreational activities, it was a seemingly genuine comment related to the post but placed by a completely fictional character who was created for Cillit Bang advertising. The link posted on the comment went through to this character’s ‘blog’. Instead of deleting it, Tom went throught he effort of tracking the comment down, the trail eventually leading to a marketing company associated with the brand. Now the company has apologised.
The Barry Scott character has appeared in a number of spoof websites and weblogs, created by people unconnected to the Reckitt Benckiser brand. The weblog posting on your site was not endorsed by Reckitt Benckiser or any of the advertising agencies that are mentioned and was a one off error from which lessons have been learnt. We are sorry for any offence it has unwittingly caused.
I’m reading this to say that the character created is no longer in the brand’s control; that people have picked up on the concept and are creating content in that character’s name, either as a spoof or as a facade to hide behind. The lesson learnt could be that you no longer control your creations. If that is the case, who’s next? The alternative is that they ignored a series of comments across blogs created as part of a guerilla campaign until someone seriously called them to task. I think the latter.