Clare Werbeloff: the last word

Clare Werbeloff is just a 19-year-old kid from the Northern Beaches of Sydney with a loud mouth who’s watched too much Fat Pizza. She ran in front of a camera and mouthed off what she has copied from TV ethnic slang without thinking about the implications for others – like the person who was shot and his family.

Here’s Channel 9’s response to the whole incident, explaining what their contract cameraman did and his experience and attitude to Werbeloff.

And here’s the final ACA interview with Werbeloff, (direct to ACA site) where the implications of what has happened start to sink in for her. Talk back radio (like blogging commentary and twitter) can be an amazing measure of the zeitgeist of public opinion. You get a feeling that speaking to so many angry people had an impact on the previously oblivious young girl.

However, regardless of the specifics of this incident (it is now clear none of this was related to a marketing campaign), what disturbs me is that most punters probably don’t care whether they were duped or not. Werbeloff had many supporters and ‘fans’. Has the average media viewer become so use to fake news stories through people ‘punking the news’ or the media itself creating hyperbole or artificial events, that (a) it has become a great game to guess what is real, or (b) no-one cares anymore – news IS entertainment.

For marketers and brand custodians, however, this bizarre, artificial media environment can only last for a short time historically and can only ever be a short-term marketing communications strategy for those that pursue it.

Creating brand-value – establishing communication between users and giving them a reason to recommend your brand DOES NOT START WITH A LIE. Even one that goes massively viral super fast. Further, the more people get sick of being duped (and it’s happening NOW) the more they will attached ‘negative’ value to any brand that involves themselves in any dubious, cloaked, faked, viral, social media campaigns.

For a look at some of the excellent ‘spoof’ videos of Clare that are already out, mUmBRELLA has a selection here.

We now know that the Kings Cross Bogan had nothing to do with a marketing stunt (though, congrats to Tooheys for investing in that OOH poster for the 6beers of separation campaign, who’d have known!!) – advertisers, however, will now be chasing that viral magic that saw Werbeloff and Susan Boyle go balistic over the past few weeks and try to create ‘a story’ that will take their campaigns to space.  Nothing wrong with great, honest, engaging stories, of course – so it will interesting to see what viral plays come out over the next few weeks as agencies push the envelope.