This Blog Is Fake
Web site for Blues fans is a hoax
This player isn't real, either
The Blue Revolution, a blog supposedly being written by an somewhat-connected though ordinary, everyday fan trying to keep up with his favorite hockey team, the St. Louis Blues ("I've heard that there is a press conference with the new owners either today or tomorrow at the Missouri Athletic Club. I'm going to go down there and see if I can get in" is how one post reads), is a total fake and is the product of an advertising agency.
If the sub-par writing style-- below the level of a Nike or Gatorade ad ("We will count off every goal scored by the Blues, and count high")-- and the "Copyright 2006 St. Louis Blues" tagline at the bottom of the home page isn't enough of a tip-off to the average reader, then this article from today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch spills the beans even further:
From the same advertising company that earlier this year posted fake blogs about a staged Cardinals "bird-napping" comes a similar ad campaign. Last week, St. Louis-based Schupp Co. distributed everything from T-shirts to wristbands to a banner outside City Hall, all bearing a Web address of ambiguous origin.
"I'm just one Blues fan and the idea of The Blue Revolution is to include all fans," declares a blogger on www.thebluerevolution.com. But the site and its blogger are nothing more than a marketing tool for the hockey team, a fact hidden on the Web site and in Schupp's campaign so far.
"The intention was to make the site look like fans did it," said Mark Schupp, president of the company. "If you come out initially and say this is the Blues' Web site, it would become very commercial."
The site invites visitors to submit comments about the blog entries, Blues-oriented video and additions to the "Fanifesto," all to be approved and posted by the site's owners. Site visitors can download a staged video from the blogger -- an actor -- who "crashed" a Blues press conference.
In March, the Post-Dispatch reported on Schupp Co.'s viral marketing campaign to promote the Cardinals' move to radio station KTRS. Following the phony theft of 12 giant Cardinals redbirds from billboards around St. Louis were fake blogs and MySpace accounts commenting on their disappearance. The campaign was orchestrated by Schupp Co. and St. Louis-based public relations firm Fleishman-Hillard Inc.
"Marketing takes on lots of different approaches, some more subtle than others," said Peter McLoughlin, head of St. Louis Blues Enterprises, a new division of the team that will handle the business operations, including ticket sales.
"We're certainly not trying to hide anything," he said.
But the rumor weed-planting approach can be risky, especially if the advertiser fails to clearly identify itself.
"You run a risk pretending that it's natural, when, in fact, it's manufactured," Plummer said. "You run the risk that you're going to be discovered."
It will be interesting to see if the St. Louis-leaning Deadspin, a fake blog in itself (what, you didn't know?), picks up on this story. The irony would be so heavy that it would likely create a black hole big enough to suck up Will Leitch's ego, if not the Universe or something smaller.