You may have seen the Dispatches episode on Channel 4 this week, ‘Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’, which focused on exposing underhand tactics used in Social Media by brands looking to falsify their popularity.
Film-maker Chris Atkins asked me to assist in the creation of some imaginary products and to produce simple supporting sites to house them. With the intention that celebrities would be paid to promote these, under the radar.
The first product was imagined was the Cleve wristwatch from ‘Corpor’.
Once we’d arrived at the brand name (derived from ‘Corporate Whore’!, as was Puttana Aziendale, our other creation), I conceptualised a new, ridiculous, way of telling time, where each individual watch functions to its own formula and the numbers randomly change position twice a day, with only the most intelligent individuals able to fathom the time.
After mocking up an interface design, I composited this on to a hybrid of a couple of watch images found online and our device soon existed in a virtual space.
The fictional product is somewhat Nathan Barley-esque, yet the celebs who tweeted about it wouldn’t be considered of the same ilk, which suggests that they would have promoted anything put in front of them, without sense-checking the viability of their endorsement.
3 celebs unwittingly did the honours for us and between them reached 750,000 followers. TOWIE’s Cara Kilbey gave us 1000 hits from her one tweet which cost £500. Paying 50p per click from an already interested party is a very affordable rate for a lot of brands.
The bog-standard web page created certainly won’t be winning any design or innovation awards - it’s reminiscent of web pages we designed at Uni in the 90’s. We were focusing purely on the initial tweet and really looked to put together the most basic page possible with no in-built sharing or further persuasion to waste any more of a user’s time than necessary.
The Corpor and Puttana Aziendale sites delivered as intended but what do the findings tell us? If you’re interested in my opinion, you can find it here.