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Jumping the Shark: MySpace and GE's Elli

? Why journalists should ask dumb questions |


| Inquirer blogs Bonds' at-bats ?

May 06, 2006

Jumping the Shark: MySpace and GE's Elli

Heather Green

I am all in favor of trying out new media, believe me. But when I saw that Elli the Elephant has a Myspace profile as part of GE's One-Second Theater advertising campaign, it just made no sense to me.

There seems to be this trend of plunking characters down in Myspace profiles without really thinking about what that's supposed to mean. Why is Elli on Myspace? Does she have a community of other elephants she can meet? Is she going to actively collect her own friends and interact? Or is her profile there just to make her cool? Ok, so maybe she'll get thousands of people signing up on MySpace as her friends, but what's the point?

09:13 AM


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We all can probably take a good guess as to why Elli is on MySpace: someone with the authority to approve this brilliant idea is too busy working 80-hour weeks to have any real time to understand what's happening. The conversation might go like this:

Boss: "Okay, so what's the promotional strategy?"

Subordinate: "Well, we're talking with our ad agency and we're going to set up a web site."

Boss: "What about all this talk about word-of-mouth and social networks I've been hearing?"

Subordinate: "Uh... well, we could put up a MySpace page for Elli and ..."

Boss: "Brilliant. All my kids do is talk about MySpace this and MySpace that. Love it. Make it happen. Next."

Now, I hope everyone realizes that there are old archival films showing the Power of Electricity by electrocuting a baby elephant named Topsy. I've said it before, corporations need to be careful. Only a matter of time before Elli meets the ghost of Topsy.

"I've been totally shocked..."

Posted by: csven at May 6, 2006 10:53 AM

I think they figure, What's to lose? The cost is minimal. It might turn into something, probably won't. But maybe they'll learn something along the way.

Posted by: steve baker at May 6, 2006 01:01 PM

But is it the fault of MySpaceat GE is trying to be clever and cool. (And embarassing really?)

Posted by: Jennifer at May 6, 2006 02:49 PM

Look at Cows Theory Heather.

Any farmer can tell you that if you take a pile of cow manure and throw more cow manure on it, all it's going to do is stink more. You do the math!

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at May 7, 2006 08:32 AM

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