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advertising ARG sparks lawsuit

Others have written on the perils of oversharing your personal information through online quizzes, but here is a new to me consequence: taking a quiz may be taken as consent for an unexpected form of corporate advertising:

Amber Duick...received e-mails for five days from a fictitious man called Sebastian Bowler, from England, who said he was on the run from the law, knew her and where she lived, and was coming to her home to hide from the police...It turns out the prank was actually part of a marketing effort executed by the Los Angeles division of global marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi, which created the campaign to promote the Toyota Matrix.

A statement for the defense side of the lawsuit asserts that the plaintiff specifically opted in, granting her permission to receive campaign emails and other communications from Toyota. The opting-in appears to have been Ms. Duick's agreeing to a legal agreement attached to an online personality quiz (the article does not identify what quiz site or social networking application, if any, was the vehicle for the quiz in question.)

An advertising campaign with elements of an alternate reality game, Ms. Duick seems to not have read the details of the click-through legal agreement for the online quiz (and how many of us do? I admit I do not, the few that I participate in). In keeping with the theme of the Halloween season, I will note that vampires also require consent to enter your home, but that some legends describe vampires as very clever regarding interpreting what constitutes consent.


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