what is like Pepsi Blue, but not as blue?
October 3, 2018 6:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for non-political examples of fake grassroots campaigns (marketing efforts, Wikipedia pranks, etc.) for a talk I'm working on. My audience will be scientifically sophisticated but not necessarily geeky. Bonus points if the story comes with a good picture that I can add to my slides.
posted by yarntheory to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Just Mayo story?
posted by 15L06 at 6:42 AM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Does IHOB count?
posted by LeeLanded at 7:01 AM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

There are allegations that Google funded groups to create astroturf campaigns on net neutrality and the more recent EU copyright reforms - https://thetrichordist.com/2018/07/28/the-google-funded-astroturf-group-that-hacked-the-eu-copyright-vote-in-pictures/
posted by JonB at 7:19 AM on October 3, 2018

I'm not entirely sure what you're looking for, but would the Left Twix vs. Right Twix ad campaign fit the bill? Like a company making up a controversy as part of a selling technique?
posted by LKWorking at 7:30 AM on October 3, 2018

I, Libertine is a classic.
posted by eotvos at 7:39 AM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

There was a post on the blue in the past year(?) about Instagram "influencers" and all the very colourful ice cream and whatnot that they rave about and pretend they've eaten. That story should have lots of usable pictures. I haven't found that exactly story, but here are a couple on the subject:

Instagram Food Is a Sad, Sparkly Lie

Instagram Feeding Frenzy: How 'Influencers' Are Changing the Food Scene
posted by clawsoon at 8:15 AM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Regnery Publishing sells its books through affiliated book clubs at heavily discounted prices for little to no profit, in order to sell enough of them to make the New York Times bestseller list.
posted by ejs at 8:49 AM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

House hippo is for you
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:53 AM on October 3, 2018

The Society for Indency to Naked Animals https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Indecency_to_Naked_Animals

The originator, Alan Abel, made a career of similar hoaxes.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2018

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:43 PM on October 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Nathan For You's Dumb Starbucks might count.
posted by airplant at 4:35 PM on October 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

There's a John Oliver segment that has some nonpolitical examples.
posted by eirias at 4:36 PM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

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