PUMA and Victoria's Secret: Observations on Reactions to Spoof Ads

It's always interesting to see how a company will react to spoofs done on their behalf. Some take it lightly and hope that it helps the company in some way and other go all out and try to stop the spoof.

Recently, there were two spoofs that illustrate this point. There was the Fake PUMA Ads and the WhatIsVictoriasSecret Bulimia Web Site. Both spoofs were quite graphic in how they portrayed the two company. Neither were what the companies would prefer to see as a spoof.

With the PUMA spoof, the company caught wind of the fake ads and reacted by trying to stop the spread of the spoof across the Internet. Right. That's like an ant trying to stop a bulldozer. There were threatening emails, denial press releases, and cease and desist letters. What did this accomplish? Not much for PUMA's cause. All it did was to force the spoof and the conversation about the spoof to race around the Internet even faster. It's everywhere. It's now a permanent fixture on thousands of websites.

On the other hand, Victoria's Secret reacted in a polar opposite. What did they do? Nothing. Nada. No press releases. No cease and desists. The result? It's a dead issue. Sure you can find it on a few web sites and mentioned in a few discussion groups but that's it.

Moral of the story? If you want something to go away quickly, ignore it. Don't fan the flames. Of course there is always the minute possibility that the whole PUMA thing was engineered. We may never know.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (0)     Mar-26-03  
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