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Continued: Glutton for abuse, or marketing genius?

  • Article by: KARA MCGUIRE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 30, 2007 - 3:08 PM

Web attacks prove popular

"At Ameriprise, they have their own dreams to get you into poor-performing, over-priced VULS [life insurance] and annuities, which mean more money for them [and] less for your retirement," reads a message spliced into one ad before showing an old woman, who presumably invested with Ameriprise, begging for money in the street.

In the year that they've been up, his videos have had roughly 20,000 hits. He said he was surprised that so many people watched them. The Scottsdale, Ariz., resident is thinking about creating some videos to post using this latest round of spots, although he said that "just the other day I was thinking, 'Gee, maybe I'm helping them a little bit by getting their name out.'"

Howard Liszt, retired CEO of Campbell Mithum Esty and a senior fellow in the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, agrees. "Parody is the sincerest form of advertising flattery. When it goes on sites like YouTube ... the scale and the scope of the viral [marketing] is astounding."

Kara McGuire • 612-673-7293

Kara McGuire • kara@startribune.com

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