Fake blog award 2007: millanblogi.fi


This had to happen. Fake blogs have landed to Finland. Millan blogi is the worst case I’ve seen so far. It has FAKE written all over it with invisible ink. I can almost imagine how the marketing department at PICNIC (a cafe francise) and some clueless ad-agency got together to envision a new format to reach their customers:

Café PICNIC:
Our marketing is not effective enough. We are not reaching the 25-35 year olds through traditional means. We have heard that 25-35 year olds use the web and find their news online.

Clueless ad-agency:
We have a revolutionary idea: lets use the web as a medium and blogs as a platform to create an effective marketing campaign!

Café PICNIC:
Hooray! How come we didn’t come up with that ourselves, it’s so obvious! Thank you, thank you, thank you… Let’s get right down to details…

Clueless ad-agency:
Hold on, we will send you an exp…eerr innovative offer with all the details by monday. We look forward to work with you on the best viral campaign the world has seen so far!

As if Finland needs more failed viral campaigns… The end result is a blog, run by an imaginary 30-something Milla, an easy going and funny woman living in a buzzling city, probably Helsinki. She is once in a while dropping by at Café PICNIC for a sandwitch or two to fatten the bottom line of the company while going to the gym. She obviously has a blog to report that. Get addicted to her stories by following her for months.

That’s where the whole plan starts to go horribly wrong. A huge marketing budget with high production values meets low-cost social media… a combination that has no taste nor future.

Let me go through a few of the disgraceful mistakes in this “blog”:

  • On the front page you can’t identify right away if the site is a blog written by some girl called Milla, or just a cheesy commercial. This is unforgivingly misguiding for the readers.
  • The front page features 9 fake pictures taken by professional photographers with pro-cameras. The photos scream “I’m fake” right at you.
  • A commercial starts to play immediatly to disrupt you. It scares you to death with its unauthenticity
  • The content is written in first person but the whole story is childish, cheesy and hard to believe. The story and language of Milla looks deliberately crafted. The truth shines through shamelessly: it’s not written by a real person called Milla, but some cheap part-time trainee at the clueless ad-agency
  • The posts appear in a strict schedule every monday (sometimes tuesday, because the trainee was lazy), drifting the story totally out of context
  • The blog refers to PICNIC in about half of the posts without any warning of affilliates

Technically speaking, this site misuses the whole concept of a blog:

  • No permalink to refer to each blog post separately
  • No RSS feed to subscribe to new posts
  • No timestamps
  • No commenting or trackback feature, the site is talking right-at-you rather than with you
  • No “About Milla” page telling who she is, who she represents, what she will write about and how to contact her

The site is everything but authentic. It’s a shame for the whole finnish blogging community, that sites like this exist with the name “blog” written on it. Some companies do it right, some listen to ad-agency drones who don’t know what they are doing. For a better example, see blogger Veloena sponsored by Suomen Kuvalehti. She is doing a great job and probably costs less than this shameful campaign.

I feel sorry for the initiators of this campaign. They obviously didn’t have the best expertise around. In fact, I feel so sorry that I volunteer to lend my copy of “Naked Conversations” (or give a signed copy of the translation “Blogit ja bisnes” with my foreword when it comes out) and provide FREE consultation for them to fix this misdoing with a fraction of the original budget. If you know anyone responsible for this, please ask them to contact me.

Do you have other examples of fake blogs in Finland? Let me know.

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  • services sprite Fake blog award 2007: millanblogi.fi
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  • erkka

    Your points would be valid if the site’s aim was to be a real blog, but I think that isn’t the case here. “Millan blogi” is clearly just a short term campaign site for a competition and it that borrows blog esthetics.

    You can find the Picnic-logo on the page and the video also makes it clear that the site is a Picnic-ad. Plus words like “ad” and “competition” in the header and the navigation send quite clear message too. So I wouldn’t call it a fake blog.

    Actually the lack of common features like permalinks, rss, etc. and the too professional photos and silly content make it a more honest advertisement. I wrote a brader comment on my blog (in Finnish), follow my namelink if interested.

    But otherwise you made really good points that everyone should take into consideration if they’re starting a real business-to-customer blog :)

  • http://www.maurelita.com Maurelita

    Yeck ! Well at least the ad spots etc are not hidden and the visitor sees at first glance it’s all about advertising huh…

    I have a screaming example of a fake Finnish blogger in Paris : a blonde called Anna blogs about Helsinki and Finland with professional webcasts filmed by a buzz agency ; she pretends to live in Paris although her posts and photos are all from Finland. Does she go there every week ? She also claims she’s only been in France for 3 years and she’s got no accent in her French – ha. She says “vous” (teitittely) to the Finns she meets in her webcasts and does not speak a word of Finnish… apart from a vague “moi”.

    Behind the blog, the Finnish tourist board MEK with a competition to win a trip to Finland etc. Oh well, I tried my chance – it would only be fair since I am The Finnish Blogger in Paris… since 1994 ! In the meantime she’s added me to her blogroll to be more credible. Bloggers always have blogger friends eh ?! I’ve commented her’s (eg about showing a book in Swedish when speaking about Finnish literature) but she’s never left a single comment on mine.

    http://www.briserlaglace.com/

  • Zepa

    Oh weh, http://www.briserlaglace.com/credits.php Yepp, buzz company for sure. But I did not find the information leading to MEK, where is it?

    MEK is strongly behind the film Ruokala Lokki, too. The one that is hoorayed in Japan and is pretty much ok as a film too (there is a story, characters etc) I wouldn’t wonder if they now have the newest strategy of sliding into popular culture like film and web and pushing some Suomi-info that way. Ok it might work out there, but in the eyes of Finns a lot of their work looks soooooo fake and pathetic.

    Like the Anna’s blog.

    The blog is mainly ass stupid. I read French and all I’d like to do is to write her nasty comments in Finnish. But as probably nobody even reads the comments, should I bother?

  • http://www.maurelita.com/ Maurelita

    I admit it’s not clearly stated MEK is behind it all, but judging from the contest to win a trip to Finland, the quizz urging readers to visit the touristic web site for the answers…

    They do read the comments (cf my comment on a picture of a book in Swedish when lobbying Finnish literature…….. lol), but I’m not sure if anyone behind the scene understands Finnish. Very tempting indeed ! ;-)