I wonder if his facial blemishes are real?
(A photo from Sebastian’s MySpace page)
A woman named Amber Duick started getting strange messages from an alcoholic English soccer hooligan she didn’t know named Sebastian Bowler.
Mr. Bowler said he was on a cross-country trip and he’d be at her home in a few days. He said he was fleeing the law, and needed a place to stay with his pit bull, Trigger. She got an email from a motel manager saying she had to pay for a TV he’d smashed.
Somehow, this guy had gotten her home address.
Understandably, she was a bit upset.
But it was all okay. She got a message saying the whole thing was an elaborate prank.
Someone had signed her up at a website for an ad campaign for Toyota.
An ad agency (Saatchi & Saatchi LA) thought that, since young men were a primary demographic for Toyota’s Matrix car, and young guys loved "punking" each other, it would be effective to create fake characters who would harass potential customers.
They created five fictional characters, complete with web pages. They even recorded an album for a fake band member.
Said the ad’s creative director:
"Even when you get several stages in, it’s still looking pretty real… I think even the most cynical, anti-advertising guy will appreciate the depth and length to which we’ve gone."
Toyota said that Ms. Duick knew about the campaign since she had signed up for it when she clicked on a marketing email the company had sent her.
But a court said the email was deceptive and it "misrepresented and concealed (whether intentionally or not) the true nature of the conduct to which Duick was to be subjected."
She is suing Toyota for $10 million.
– Court Approves Lawsuit Against Toyota Over Cyberstalking Ad Stunt, Wired>>
– The fake MySpace page for Sebastian Bowler>>