Sunday, September 17, 2006

If 100,000 people comment on this post...

then I'll be surprised by the volume of commentary that Isoceleria has achieved. A bit honored, but overwhelmingly surprised. So here's the deal. If you're a member of the college Facebook-conscious crowd, you probably witnessed the phenomenon of Threesome Dude, aka Brody Ruckus, in the last couple of weeks. If not, here's a quick rundown.

Early September 2006, a Facebook group appears advertising "If this group reaches 100,000 members, my girlfriend will have a threesome." Your personal ethics and mores nonwithstanding, that's a pretty ambitious goal. And one that the Facebook community was perfectly eager to support. The literal hockey-stick growth of this group was nothing less than astounding. A couple thousand members one day, tens of thousands the next, and over 100,000 in a mere few days. Then the landmark was changed: 300,000 members, and he gets to take pictures. Then he got that. The next watershed was supposed to be "Largest group on Facebook lets me shoot videos!" And then, the group pulled a Roanoake.

Next day, it was gone. No more Threesome Guy, no more Universal Goal of Happiness and Unity for Facebook to shoot for, and not even a scrawled Croatoan in its place. Now, its fractious remains stand: "I didn't need a facebook group to get a threesome," "I will blow up my car if this group reaches 500,000 members," etc. So what happened to Mr. Ruckus and his "red-blooded college male" aspirations? Apparently they were not real. And neither was Brody himself.

The whole thing was a put-on, an act, sponsored by Ruckus music. This group, weighing in at nearly 500,000 members at last count, certainly put a strain on the servers. And when Facebook realized that "Brody Ruckus" was not, in fact, a Georgia Tech student, they pulled the plug (more to free resources than out of any spite). So how does Ruckus itself tie into anything? Ruckus gives you free music, legally. Except... wait, you can't burn CDs of what you download, and you can't put their music on an iPod or other sort of mp3 player, and you have to use Ruckus's crappy media player to be able to listen to what you download. Ah, but if you pay a certain rate per song, you have the liberty to do that. Free indeed. Evidently Ruckus has a contract with Georgia Tech that permits this enlightened era of free (except in certain circumstances) music downloading (but not burning or transferring to an iPod). It was supposed to be a big deal. But. judging from popular opinion, most everyone realized how much it sucks and has not used it. Thus the need for Threesome Guy.

So Ruckus has a less-than-accepted music service, and a wildly popular fake Facebook group. How to connect the two? Obviously, with the effort and foresight that Ruckus put into Brody, there's no real "exit strategy." We're not going to have Brody reach the ultimate goal of largest Facebook group, then say "Thanks, guys," and leave with everyone feeling good about themselves. There's still no connection between the product and the advertisement. On the other side of the spectrum, we're not going to have a "Haha, suckers! This has been an advertisment all along!" because that would leave a whole lot of people thinking not such good thoughts about Ruckus. Hardly the desired effect of an advertisement.

The question, then, is what was the real plan? My theory is that it lies in a tenuous, but still existing, thread between the group and Ruckus music. Let's assume for a moment that Brody, if he hadn't been shut down, would have eventually reached his largest group status. So now, time for the videos to get posted to Facebook! These videos, of course, don't exist, but that's okay. Uploading them, of course, would have caused a violation of the Facebook Terms of Service, but that's better than okay. That's the whole point. Brody tells us, "Wow, guys, you are amazing, and so was the sex. Unfortunately, these prudes at Facebook won't let me post the pictures and video." Aww... how sad! People are generally down on Facebook at this point, not seeming to care that they agreed to this silly thing called a "contract" when they joined, and they demand reparations. Facebook won't give them any. (Note that Brody and Facebook would not have had to have any contact at all. This whole "fight" is another part of the ruse.) So enter Ruckus.

The great and magnanimous Ruckus, sensitive to the sexually-frustrated plight of the college student, then tells everyone in the group "We can't give you free porn... but here's some free music." Now, Ruckus is a hero, and everyone in the group goes from being Brody Ruckus fans to simply Ruckus fans. Adbertising mission accomplished.

Currently listening: Quiet is the New Loud, Kings of Convenience


Anonymous said...

Well, back in my day, we had this new thing called the Internet and although you could only get there through the telephone line and really could not get many places once you got there, WE LIKED IT. RUKUS isn't anything new to us 49'ers (as in gold mining, not the football team) of the Internet when it was cool, before it sold out. This advertising strategy, for all you young pups, is termed VIRAL marketing. See, a few people start talking about it, then a few more, then the exponential pyramid takes off. If there were a way to check IP addresses of the first hundred or so of the first few responders, I'll bet my .md stock that they were avatars for Rukus. and not quite the people they said they were.

I'm just suprised that Tech students fell for it - RATIO not withstanding.

Oh well, 99,999 togo.


Gina said...

Again, Matt, you prove how you write about only the important things in your post. ;-) No, seriously, that was interesting.

I make two. Only 99,998 more to go

Andrew said...

Yo. Keep up the good work. Now that we have that out of the way. I would like to make a shameless plug.

It's not much right now. I just got it up and running. I'm not really sure what I want to do with it. If you could give me some pointers about like...well...why yours is so awesome, I would appreciate it.

-- Zach said...

I'm feeling an update ... it's been over a week without an update Matt. Slacker.