Monday 26 September 2011

Follow the leader: Toyota sued by woman over crude campaign

Facepalm, fail, call this story what you like, it could cost Toyota $10m (£6.4m/€7.4m) after a creepy marketing campaign for the Matrix compact went horribly, horribly wrong in 2009. The concept of the campaign, called 'Your Other You', revolves around a pretend stalker called Sebastian Bowler, a 25 year old English alcoholic who is a diehard football fan, to stalk a nominated target.

As part of the prank, the victim, Amber Duick, received e-mails from Mr Bowler, played by an actor, asking her to stay at her home after getting kicked out of the motel. This is where things started to get uneasy, Duick received an e-mail from someone claiming to be the motel manager and demanded a fee for a television that Mr. Bowler has destroyed.

The campaign was made by the marque's LA-based advertising company called Saatchi & Saatchi and was targeted at males in their 20s. Anyway, a few moments later, Duick was directed to a video which explained that she had been 'punk’d' as part of an future advertising campaign for the Toyota Matrix. Unfortunately for Duick, she was signed up by a friend with her knowledge or consent and sued Toyota, Saatchi & Saatchi, with 50 people charged for a range of offences including intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair, unlawful, and deceptive trade practices.

Toyota tried to brush off the legal proceedings by claiming that Ms Duick had agreed to online terms and conditions. But a judge in California has ruled that Duick’s acceptance of the terms and conditions was invalid because the plaintiff had been misrepresented.

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