Wednesday, May 28, 2008

*That* GPS Hoax

Why do people do these things? Why do they think they can still get away with faking?

A couple of days ago my friend Charlie posted a story and video of a cool university project that someone had done, getting DHL and a GPS tracker to create a drawing on the world - the world's largest drawing.



So far so good - it was a nice idea, and the picture was better than you'd expect.

But... People started questioning the feasibility of the project - would DHL fly in loops to create the hair, can you track a GPS device when it's being carried in a plane, and so on.

Finally (over a week after the video was posted on YouTube) the artist admitted that it was all a hoax in a small comment at the bottom of his site - "This is fictional work. DHL did not transport the GPS at any time"

Which all begs the question of when DHL got involved, and whether they had considered the backlash when people realised that this was a fake. In a statement to The Daily Telegraph they claim that Erik Nordenankar, the artist, was only granted access to their warehouse for filming - but were they aware of the buzz that this was creating for DHL, and also that he featured a delivery schedule on his site, and a picture of himself with a handful of delivery dockets?

A chart from Trendpedia shows that it helped DHL get higher levels of buzz than they've had at any point in the previous 3 months - but this may now be less of a good thing.


UPDATE - the artist has now said that this was a personal graduation project - so it seems that it was never intended as any sort of promotion for DHL

1 comment:

Linda Margaret said...

It's interesting how marketers are using the Internet to engage in old-fashioned shilling. I'm not sure that it is advisable to use the Internet in this way as it is a fact-checking source for a lot of consumers. Ploys are quickly discovered and marketers can be discredited within hours of posting false leads. Best to tread carefully. Here's an example of a controversial campaign that you might find interesting:
http://mashable.com/2008/05/26/google-death-2/

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