Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Intel Viral Marketer fails own advice

On the Chronicles of George board, we had a new user (owenpdx) whose one and only posting seemed ... spammish.

When I get tired of dealing with the constant stream of stupid computer questions (which is almost daily) I do two things: drown my sorrows in the chronicles of George, and visit this site: http://www.pebkactranslator.com/translate.html

Enjoy, my comrades of the help desk!

After a number of welcome posts, board regular Marlo Vino noted that there was a similar post here. Uh-oh... spammer??

Not so, because owenpdx then posted:

I'm a legit new real member... as I live and breathe. I'm new to these types of
forums, but I'm for real. Thanks for the welcome!
A round of apologies begins... before I put on my Sam Spade hat... and go to.. err.. samspade.org

A whois shows the pebkactranslator site was put up by an 'Owen Jones and Partners' company. Hmm... maybe the site is advertising based, or popups... so I go there.

The site is okay, if you like overly garish flash animations. There is a rather prominent intel logo on the site, and either a while after clicking it (or it was a set refresh timer?) and the site refreshes over to: http://www.intel.com/business/vpro/pebkac/index.htm

What a surprise! It really IS spam!

So... I go digging, and find a few other posts by owenpdx

A search for Owen Jones and Partners just finds the (actually well done) front page of the company with little else on it.

A search for Owen Jones Intel finds this as the first hit

And while the Multiply campaign is the main thrust of advertising to this particular target segment, Intel has quietly launched its own version of an in-joke for IT managers in hopes it will go viral. With the help of
communications agency Owen Jones and Partners, Intel has developed a Web-based widget available at
The phrase PEBKAC stands for "Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair," and is slang for IT managers being asked less than intelligent computer questions by their clients. The Pebkactranslator is a Flash animation that will "translate" an IT manager's predictable answer to such questions into a more acceptable format, said Bhagat.
"You input your own version of 'go take a leap' and it spits out a politically correct version of that," she said. "It's developing an emotional connection in understanding the frustration that IT is going through, which helps our relationship with building a brand with the IT community."
The Translator itself features a "machine" with alternating devil horns or angel halo that spits out questions like "I haven't been feeling well today. I think my computer gave me a virus. Is that possible?"
Although the Translator features branding for Intel's vPro chips, the company is not actively spreading the word about the site. Instead, they first reached out to the Flash developer community to discuss the combination of the Flash front-end tied to a query database of answers, according to Rusty Grim, creative director and partner at Owen Jones and Partners, and then just let things spread by word of mouth.
When you do something viral you have to respect what that means. You have to release something in a way that is not overly heavy handed. People can smell a fake when you try a viral attempt," said Jones.

Unintended irony in bold.

No comments: