AntiFriday bonus! Potential 3M backlash?

Posted by Rob Walker on September 12, 2008
Posted Under: Anti,Backlashing

Across the transom comes the mystery email of the day, reading: “It was recommended that I pass this on to you..,” followed by this link. It goes to a post at All About Content, headlined “3M Carjacks the Post-It Note Jaguar.”

This is the story of how a $24.5 billion multinational corporation refuses to pay a small licensing fee to the amateur photographer who inspired its commercial campaign.

The short version of the allegations is:

In December 2006, somebody covered a car in Post-Its (above), and the images got a lot of Web love.

In spring 2008, 3M got in touch to license the image(s).

Apparently not wanting to pay the requested sum, 3M simply recreated its own version of the idea — Video — to use at point of sale, etc. (Below.)

Post-It Note Car Stolen by 3M, originally uploaded by Scott Ableman.

I’ve done zero reporting on this, so basically I’m simply telling you that All About Content is outraged, and makes this familiar argument about backlash peril:

If you’re a corporate marketer interested in getting into social media marketing, viral video promotion, link bait, etc., I suggest consulting with people who know the communities you’re targeting. Any of us could have told you that stealing photo ideas from the community and using them to pimp your office supplies is not a good move.

So what will the consequences be for 3M? Well, we’ll see.

Thanks: Mystery tipster.


Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but here’s a bread commercial that uses Parkour to promote the bread. Don’t ask me why they did, but it fits the murk principle pretty well.

Written By Tree Frog on September 12th, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

This is my first time commenting here… but I find it pretty hard to believe that an obviously well-off corporation would be so stingy with their money. In reality, they seem to be upset that they didn’t come up with the idea first. Rather than admitting the lack of creativity in their own marketing, they essentially stole someone else’s idea [without giving due credit]. That’s a shame, considering the fact that there are so many creative people in this world who don’t get any recognition for their ideas.

Written By Keri on September 15th, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

Tree Frog: I hadn’t seen that. And I don’t get it. And I wish it had been a lot shorter!

Keri: I agree, it does seem hard to believe. I don’t really get why (assuming the story is true) this isn’t kicking up more outrage. Or maybe it is I just haven’t seen that outrage. Although checking Consumerist just now, it looks like they’ve just posted about it today, so maybe we’ll see more web reaction.

Written By Rob Walker on September 16th, 2008 @ 10:31 am
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