(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Sunday, May 02, 2004
The Godsend Institute: Trojan Horse Marketing

Visit the website for the new Godsend Institute and you'll discover:
The Godsend Institute is a fertility clinic and practice, specializing in the replication of cells for the purpose of creating life from life. We believe those with the power to grant or restore life have an obligation to our community and our world to share that power. At Godsend, we have perfected a procedure by which a single cell could be used to create a genetically identical fetus – a fetus which could be carried to term and, in effect, be reborn.
Sounds like another Raelian cult or just too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it is too good to be true: the Godsend Institute website is a complex advertisement for the upcoming film The Godsend which features cloning. The trouble is the website is just a little too convincing for some people who have believed the hype. It is constructed very professionally and has more depth that a few cardboard pages. Indeed, users don't discover that the website is an advertisement until they click on the "Eligibility Testing" link which connects to the movie website. This type of advertising has been dubbed "Trojan Horse Marketing" (not to be confused with the upcoming onslaught of ads for the Troy movie!), but has left a few people feeling a bit too fooled. Indeed, a similiar campaign where newspaper advertisements were placed featuring divorce attorney Audrey Woods and the tagline "I'm No Shark" has raised a few eyebrows about the ethics of lawyer-advertising and complaints were lodged, but it's all a hoax as Audrey Woods is actually a character played by Julianne Moore in Laws of Attraction. While a 'reality' website or advertising campaign is not new (just think The Blair Witch Project), campaigns which might somehow cast a professional body such as the legal or medical professions in a poor light is. While I can understand how some people might feel manipulated, isn't this what advertising is trying to do in a multitude of forms every day? To be honest, I quite like this Trojan Horse Advertising since it might just encourage more people to be wary of advertising. If everyone starts with the thought "Is this a hoax?", then maybe a more critical perspective regarding the media might result!


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