from the because-what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept
Ah, the internet. Also: ah, social media. Powerful tools, which in the right hands, can turn unknowns into legends and overstepping entities into Wikipedia entries. However, in the fumbling hands of mega-corporations, these same tools become about as unwieldy as a screwdriver being used to hammer in nails. By a bear.
When these tools are put to "use" in amateurish ways, there's always the chance that they will be re-purposed for the amusement of internet natives, who know exactly how to turn these primitive tools into weapons of mass destruction/hilarity. Anyone remember Time Magazines' ill-fated effort to crowdsource the Most Influential in the World? Long story short: thanks to a combination of Time Mag's incompetence and No One's Personal Army suddenly cohering into one man's personal army, 4chan's moot ended up topping the list of names.
David Thorpe, writer for the Boston Phoenix and... wait for it... SomethingAwful, saw an opportunity too big to pass up when Wal-Mart announced (in conjunction with something called "Sheets Energy Strips") its plan to have Miami rapper Pitbull make a personal appearance at whichever Wal-Mart store could hoover up the most "Likes." Thorpe immediately mobilized his troops, (possibly with the help of Pitbull's Energy Strips) including other SomethingAwful contributors, in order to send the man of the hour to the most remote Walmart location in the US.'
Enter Boston Phoenix writer David Thorpe, a man so put off by celebrity marketing stunts that he rallied Web troops to"Help us help Wal-Mart exile Pitbull to Alaska."To his credit, Pitbull has taken this all in stride, including tweeting about purchasing bear repellent and putting together a video explaining how he would "go anywhere for his fans." To top it all off, he invited Thorpe along for the promotional visit.
"As of now, the Kodiak Walmart has over 22,000 new 'likes' on Facebook, putting it far ahead of any other Walmart in the nation - far ahead of Kodiak's actual population, in fact," Thorpe wrote.
By Pitbull's deadline, more than 70,000 users had liked the store, located on a southern isle of the Frontier State with a population of about 6,200.
At this point, it looks as if Thorpe will have to pay his own way, but he intends on making the trip.
In an email to The Associated Press, Thorpe said it's "very likely" he'll be in Kodiak. Thorpe said he had to "raise the funds to get to Kodiak on my own, since Pitbull's invitation doesn't include actually getting me there."Thorpe's only regret seems to be that Walmart will somehow spin his prank into a social media "win" for the company, something he deems to be "gross." And in a way, it is a win for Wal-Mart, albeit one it scored without lifting a finger. Thousands saw its Facebook pages and thousands more are watching Pitbull's promo spot. And now both Pitbull and Thorpe are off to a destination best known for being way the hell away from anything else... and being home to Walmart store #2711.
Thorpe said he doesn't really have anything against Pitbull, and instead saw this as a way "to disrupt a corporate social media campaign, since they really set themselves up for it."