Paris to New York Undersea Train A Hoax

paris_train_hoax.gif

A French website promoting TransAtlantys, an undersea train providing eight hour travel between New York and Paris, was launched March 2 by DDB France and is causing a great deal of debate on discussion boards. Very likely, it's another viral marketing hoax. The site, which claims construction will start in June and take 11 years to complete, provides the opportunity for visitors to register for tickets. But, according to French speaking Adrants reader Richard Ollier, when you look at the conditions of the "Register to be the first", you have to claim your price before September 15, 2005 and travel between June 15, 2005 and December 31, 2005. There is mention of another date period between May 23, 3005 and June 2, 2005 but it's unclear what those dates represent. We're sure our French speaking readers will provide comment. Not to mention you folks at DDB France. We know you read us.

While we're no engineer, there is quite a bit of discussion on boards about the practical impossibilities of building such an undertaking and the speeds at which the train would have to travel to make the eight hour journey. Snopes has nothing yet but we're calling this one a hoax and will wait patiently for the true marketing goal behind this to rear it's head.

UPDATE: In comments, Adrants reader Bruno points out the travel site voyages-sncf.com is behind the hoax. A French story on the campaign is here.

by Steve Hall    May-25-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Viral   

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Comments



Comments

As a Transit worker, as well as a former resident of France, and a former "SS France" passenger as a kid, of course I am interested in this train concept!

Well, for starters, the contest is only for current residents of metropolitan France. So, too bad for us New Yorkers.
Yes, correct, the trips are between mid-June and December 2005! However, I did not see what the mode of transportation was... so perhaps it's by plane... or by boat!

Posted by: Diane Chehab on May 25, 2005 12:34 PM

According to Engineering Professor Harland Joffrey-Wistbommer from the Institute of Applied Natural Sciences & Transportation in Brugge, Belgium the media got this story wrong insofar as there will NOT be a tunnel built. In fact the New York to Paris train will be more of a high speed submarine, utilizing what is now known as Captured Aeration Propulsion (CAP) wherein a liquidynamic/aerodynamic submersible (the "train") is encased in a constantly replenishing giant bubble of air that envelops the submersible for its entire length, effectively removing the resistance presented by water and allowing the submersible to move in air. This technique is already successfully used on some major cargo ship hulls. Though not tested to its extreme limits the new technology will allow almost any size object, including a specially designed train, to travel at speeds in excess of 350 km/hr underwater effectively making the journey from New York to Paris in under 8 hours. Initial activity will be centered on the Atlantic ocean only as warmer Pacific waters seem to have a delitirious effect on the technology. Talks have started with Britain, Holland and Denmark to add them to the delivery chain.

Posted by: Jake Marks on May 25, 2005 1:38 PM

Nice...instead of crashing, wrecking, smashing, we can now add instant drowning to the list. Is it me...or does the guy in the ad look scared as shit. I wonder if they have Golden Showers onboard?

Posted by: kab on May 25, 2005 11:05 PM

Very interesting viral marketing act that is growing slowly ans surely on all french media as we speak. The website for transatlantys is registered to DDB so already you have a clear understanding that this hoax is a grand way to pick brain cells at a time where travel is once again at the center of information, mega planes, space are back on top! So these guys decided to put the ocean back at the center of the earth!
It's going to be great to see where this goes.
More so I want to know how many sign up... It reminds me of the april fool's day time in Italy where they were selling pasta trees!

Posted by: Maxime Hibon on May 26, 2005 6:01 AM

Rip-off!

What a pity that DDB could think of nothing better than to blatantly rip off this site:
http://www.atlantictunnel.com

created by TBWA\GGT, now called TEQUILA\London, for April fools day 2004.

Maybe one day we will see an Atlantic Tunnel.

Posted by: jmulvi on May 26, 2005 7:16 AM

Hmmmm...Donald Fagen of Steely Dan fame mused about this in the minor hit "I.G.Y." from the Nightfly album:

"On that train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
Well by seventy-six we'll be A.O.K."

http://www.steelydan.com/nightflyrics.html

Posted by: Guy VanderLek on May 28, 2005 12:33 PM

The hoax has been exposed today in France:
The real promoteur is the Travel Website voyages-sncf.com.
For those of you reading French, the entire ad campaign is explained on this page:
http://www.journaldunet.com/0506/050603transatlantys.shtml

In summary:
(1) the website accompanied by an online campaign
(2) 1 week later, an offline campaign in the subway and train stations in Paris, Lyon and Marseille
(3) Today: revelation of the tagline to promote the Voyages-sncf.com as a complete online travel agent (and not just a train ticket seller).

Posted by: Bruno on June 3, 2005 6:02 AM

The hoax has been exposed today in France:
The real promoteur is the Travel Website voyages-sncf.com.
For those of you reading French, the entire ad campaign is explained on this page:
http://www.journaldunet.com/0506/050603transatlantys.shtml

In summary:
(1) the website accompanied by an online campaign
(2) 1 week later, an offline campaign in the subway and train stations in Paris, Lyon and Marseille
(3) Today: revelation of the tagline to promote the Voyages-sncf.com as a complete online travel agent (and not just a train ticket seller).

Posted by: Bruno on June 3, 2005 6:03 AM





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