Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Persona Non Grata

Today's story in the New York Times, "Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in P.R. Campaign," demonstrates how "alternative" media can be easily co-opted by corporate interests. In this case, what is surprising is that materials were inserted word-for-word without attribution . . . which it seems is something that only the British Government (in concert with the U.S. State Department) can do.

Another innovative Internet marketing approach is to neutralize potential critics by hosting a website in which they can contest a particular product or manufacturer. For example, the makers of the movie The Da Vinci Code are now hosting The Da Vinci Challenge, where the faithful can "debate" about the story's non-Biblical elements and potential heresy. It is both a clever containment strategy and and an opportunity for no-publicity-is-bad-publicity box office gains. It seems as though the movie's makers would like to draw in some of the Passion of the Christ audience demographic. Being an avid online test-taker, I was pleased to see that I got such a surprisingly good score on the Biblical knowledge quiz.

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