Viral Game Pokes Fun at Public Relations Reps

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Want to get journalists' attention?


Create a game that makes fun of public relations representatives.


That was the marketing strategy behind e-tractions' e-mail campaign launched this month.


e-tractions -- a creator of one-to-one, Web-based marketing products -- sent a viral e-mail game to a press list of 150 people.


"We're shamelessly trying to promote ourselves and gather data from the media that influence our customers," said Michael Gauthier, CEO of e-tractions, Bedford, MA.


The e-mail contains a link to Whackaflack.com. Journalists are asked to choose a PR agency they would like to "whack" and are asked for their pet peeves when it comes to these agencies. The choices include inexperienced, disorganized, clueless and pushy. The player's gender and e-mail address are requested.


The game has the player nail horrified public relations reps, in a maze of cubicles, with press releases folded into paper airplanes.


Gauthier said that by dangling a game in front of players, they will be more likely to provide profile information.


"You're collecting a tremendous amount of information [and] you're profiling in a permission way," he said. "We're getting a hell of a lot higher rate of profiling than you usually see on the Web."


During the first four days that the game was up, 800 people clicked on the link to the site. Five hundred of these people provided profile information in order to play.
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