This sounds a lot like something I read last year about a new hand held computer game where you raised and trained a monster and then challenged other kids to fight their monster. This was all done wirelessly so it was aimed at school kids so they'd play in the hallways, etc. The marekting people identified the "cool" kids at the local schools and gave them free units as part of a study and let them take a couple units to school, in the hopes that because they were trend setters, a buzz would start and all the kids at the schools would want one...Pretty sly.

The WSJ reports today (31Jul02) that Sony Ericsson will be marketing their new T68i cellphone/camera combo unit via "shills" to create a grassroots buzz. Specific tactics will include fake tourist couples at popular attractions asking bystanders to take their picture, and "leaners": pairs of women ("actresses and female models") at bars playing interactive Battleship with each other from opposite ends of the bar. "[T]he company has gone to considerable lengths to train it's actors to avoid detection [as Ericsson spokespeople.]" Read [More]


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