Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Would You Have Sent This Email...? the writer of a blog which is concerned with green issues (as well as marketing)?


Dear John

(NAME and AGENCY and CLIENT name deleted)

I’m known as the T5 Insider, and as the nickname implies, I’m working on the launch of BA’s new home, Terminal 5.

My task over the coming months is to ensure that the most influential bloggers and early adopters online have an opportunity to see behind the scenes of Terminal 5 and what British Airways has done and is doing, to make Terminal 5 an exciting new landmark in aviation and design history.

I will be releasing some interesting news and assets about T5 that I think you could be interested in. Terminal 5 will be a complete revolution in terms of environment policy for airports. I won't arrive to say that it is a green airport (green and airport don't really go together), but people who studies T5 tried as much as they could to respect the environment and find green solutions in terms of energy and materials recycling.

Just to let you know, Terminal 5 is the UK’s largest free standing building and is looking truly remarkable. I’d like to give you the opportunity to find out for yourself. I’d like to update you on the latest developments; I’d like to give you the opportunity to see the latest imagery, videos, interviews and widgets we’re developing for launch. I’d even like to give you the opportunity to attend a tour of T5 over the next 6 weeks (if you’re not too far away).

If there’s something specific you want, such as an interview or an unusual image, I’ll do my best to try and get it.

There’s no catch. I simply want to give you the opportunity to form your own opinion about BA and Terminal 5 with access to the facts, the people behind the scenes, and a unique tour prior to the launch. I’m also really keen to know your thoughts and what there is specifically of interest to you and your audience.

Please drop me a line if you’d like to talk about anything. I’ve put together some images and videos you probably haven’t see before and they’re here:


And if you want, you can also visit BA T5 web site at the following URL:


I’m working on some videos, interviews, unusual imagery, facts, and some widgets, so any input or requests would be really good for me think about.

Warm Regards

Hope to speak you soon


Might it be that I and my readers might have some misgivings about the opening of a new terminal at a major airport given the current and growing impact of aviation on total carbon emissions and climate change? My point, if I have one, in publishing this verbatim is to warn agencies that treating bloggers like journalists is a tricky, dangerous path full of potential pitfalls and reversals. I am one of the more sympathetic types who work in the industry and am hardly anti-marketing nor anti-corporate & I have simply cheerfully ignored previous versions of this kind of email asking me if I wanted to share the inside story of a gorilla costumed drummer in a chocolate commercial with my readers & so on.

I am amused by the thought that this might actually have been a very sophisticated play by an activist group such as Plane Stupid whose views on terminal 5 and more particularly the proposed 3rd runway are well worth reading in the interests of balance.


Paul said...

Interesting post, if only for making me aware of Plane Stupid. Out of interest why do you think the email could be a fake? What would an activist group have to gain? Oh and of course will you be going to see "T5 Judgment Flight" ?

John Grant said...

I was joking about Plane Stupid

What I meant is if you wanted to get bloggers talking about this issue an interesting thing would be to write inviting people who are known to think the heedless expansion of flying is a problem issue and inviting them to visit the new terminal... etc.

Did you see the 'Spurt Airlines' spoof ads with Sir Cecil Montgomery a fake industry spokesperson encouraging you to vote Labour because they are the party that most favour the aviation lobby and the slogan 'screw global warming, let's fly'?

Mat said...

I've recently met a few democrats who post rabidly republican comments. I think that this is an accepted political technique, used informally to great effect by both sides (I don't believe that it's an orchestrated effort.) Basic _agent provocateur_ behaviour.

Yes, this is trolling, but I suspect that it plays well. History shows that it's easier to inspire consensus *dislike* than it is to create consensus approval.

I don't think that's what's happened here. I believe this was a genuine error.

Previously (as in the "Spurt Airlines" campaign) one might rely on irony.

But do the social media create new opportunities for black hat rhetoric?