The co-founders of the Tappening campaign (www.tappening.com) question the idea that "truth in advertising" actually exists. For example, ads for bottles filled with tap water that are labeled and marketed with water cascading over pristine mountaintops. The fourth national ad campaign on the subject in less than two years takes the opposite approach. While continually bringing attention to the ongoing debate they have engaged in with the bottled water industry, they have now decided to even the playing field -- and lie.
"Puffery is one thing, but some advertising is simply lies," says Tappening co-founder, Mark DiMassimo, whose agency created the new ad campaign. "I've observed that there are two types who perpetrate this: Those who admit it and those who don't."
The campaign includes a Web site where anyone can go to "start their own lie" at www.startalie.com. The site includes a series of four ads that can be viewed and passed along to friends. They include: "Bottled Water Makes Acid Rain Fall on Playgrounds," "Bottled Water is the Primary Cause of Restless Leg Syndrome," "Bottled Water Causes Blindness in Puppies" and "Bottled Water: 98% Melted Ice Caps. 2% Polar Bear Tears."
DiMassimo and co-founder Eric Yaverbaum, president of public relations agency Erico communications, have budgeted $535,000 for this campaign -- which will include wild postings in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas. They expect over 100,000 of their downloadable viral ads to be flying around the Internet within 24 hours of release from their daily site traffic, to Twitter, to the Tappening Facebook and MySpace group to Friendfeed.--Tanya Irwin