About paola246 …

Paola246 & Belgian Cheese, these are only few of the buzz campaigns that bloggers have been talking about in Belgium. I didn’t write about these before since I had no interest in either one of them. I wasn’t curious who Paola really was, nor do I have special interest in cheese. That said, there were some curious aspects about Paola that I wanted to talk about. Here are some remarks/questions and for your convenience I linked to Belgian bloggers that also write in English although many more talked about it.

The mysterious Paola246 – the Belgian Lonelygirl so to say – had registered several accounts with Digg, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, … at the same time which made a few bloggers suspicious so they started talking about it. Paola246 was all over Twitter and Maarten even created a ‘Wanted’ poster to try and find her. In the end it became clear this was a campaign for a virtual theatre experiment of HETPALEIS and the whole thing was set up by Stefan Kolgen. Bright.nl says later “Belgian blogosphere doesn’t fall for marketing stunt“(dutch)… didn’t they? Come on!

First let’s be clear on the success of this campaign, it was a marketing stunt and it definitely worked as it had the Belgian blogosphere talking about it for days. Second, I had the feeling some bloggers were trying to create the mystery and some were trying to solve it, this way I don’t think Stefan Kolgen was the only one who knew the truth. All good, but there’s also 2 things that bother me about this campaign:

  1. Honesty ROI: “you say who you and and who you’re speaking for” but in this case nobody seemed to care, it offered the bloggers some good fun trying to find the truth and that was that
  2. What if this campaign wasn’t set up by a blogger (‘one of us’) but by a big brand? Would we have stepped away from it like we did now? I’m sure we wouldn’t, we would have been outrageous how someone would even dare to step in our territory like this

Stefan Kolgen also acknowledges this in his comment at Bright.nl, (Stefan – correct when I’m wrong) saying that it was supposed to be very clear that Paola was fake, and that they didn’t want to wait any longer to come public about the identity after all the buzz it had gotten.

But it’s not only Paola246 that made bloggers react different to a certain situation, it’s the same for press releases. If bloggers get an email with press release type info from a brand/agency they don’t know, they’ll flame it… but if that press release is coming from a fellow blogger at that agency, we’re all cool.

My biggest take away? Bloggers can do stuff that we would never accept from anybody else on ‘their playground’ and that is fact.