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July 18, 2006

A Telling Sign Things Are Not Going Well in the Marriage

badsign0718.jpg

Yeah. It's subtle, sure. But if you look closely you can see some real tension there. You know, between the lines.

This is from here.

Note to self: Try not to inspire wife to put up embarrassing billboard.

Update: In comments, Nancy Nall thinks it's viral advertising. Defamer agrees with her. If it is, it's reasonably clever. Although it would be more interesting if it were real.

Posted by john at July 18, 2006 11:17 AM

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Comments

Ann Vallier | July 18, 2006 11:36 AM

Do you really think Krissy (from all we've heard of her here) would resort to that? I figure she would just grab the baseball bat. But with a wife with her looks, why in the world would you cheat anyway?

John Scalzi | July 18, 2006 11:39 AM

Well, of course, her looks are not the reason not to cheat on her.

And she wouldn't use the bat. Not when there are kitchen knives so close at hand.

Tripp | July 18, 2006 11:40 AM

What is it again? Hell hath no fury . . .

This is just one of the factors to consider when one's eye goes a wondering, which I'm convinced everybody's eye does at one time or another.

Durf | July 18, 2006 11:40 AM

As much as I hate to use language like this, Steven is getting "pwned" right now. Go Emily. Great find.

Nance | July 18, 2006 11:41 AM

Given that this is appearing both NY and LA (see Gawker and Defamer), I'd be willing to bet it's more likely a viral ad, and you've just swallowed the bait.

They used to do these for grocery stores in Fort Wayne. Drove me batty.

John Scalzi | July 18, 2006 11:42 AM

If it is a viral ad, well done indeed!

Tripp | July 18, 2006 11:47 AM

Yes, well done complete with a blog. I wonder if Emily would consider posting the incriminating photos taken by the PI?

Yeah, I know, it is bad taste to enjoy dirty laundry. Yeah, I have bad taste.

Chang | July 18, 2006 11:47 AM

Steven is the dumbest hump ever.

Woe unto him.

And EMily's next man better keep his shit together. Wowsers!

sxKitten | July 18, 2006 11:49 AM

I looked though the back entries, and it reads like fiction to me. Well done, though.

Tripp | July 18, 2006 11:54 AM

sxKitten,

Yeah, the blog only goes back to the start of July - and I'm wondering if the phrase I can only assume Steven’s spear shrunk like a burnt hair. is very common - even to a "communications major."

I sure hope it is not commonplace - he says crossing his legs!

Mike Berry | July 18, 2006 12:00 PM

I can't believe the blog is anything but a well-done hoax. Everything clicks together a little too neatly.

Paul | July 18, 2006 12:10 PM

I suspected it was a fake at first (only a few posts before she finds out about her husband, and they're pretty lame), but I never thought viral ad. What's the ultimate goal here?

JonathanMoeller | July 18, 2006 12:14 PM

Agh. There are so many things wrong with that.

Assume for a moment that Steven and Emily are real. It is, of course, the knee-jerk cultural assumption that Steven's automatically guilty, but suppose she's lying? Her ad agency friends have left themselves wide open for a libel lawsuit, among other things. And if she is telling the truth, then this is not, not, not, not, not the sensible way to go about a divorce.

But her blog seems just a bit too pat. If it is a viral marketing campaign, I hope I find out which product it's endorsing, so I can never buy it. Not counting political platforms, viral marketing campaigns are some of the most rank collections of deceitful dumbassery in the world.

Gabriel Malor | July 18, 2006 12:50 PM

What's the point of viral marketing if you cannot tell what's being marketed? The only thing on the billboard itself that could be a product or service is the joint bank account. But do banks do viral marketing?

samiratou | July 18, 2006 12:55 PM

Unless they plan to follow it up with the actual product, once enough people have heard about/seen the billboards.

claire | July 18, 2006 12:58 PM

well, after reading the back entries, i'm sure it's fiction. it's too well written and well structured to be a real blog. even the disclaimers and typos are inconsistent and self-conscious.

it could just be a creative project. i've had in mind for about two years now creating a fictional blog to see if i can inhabit a character day in and day out for an extended period of time. (haven't done it yet.) it would be an even cooler project when (if) combined with real-world items like the billboard. (by the way, the bb could easily have been photoshopped. any evidence of its existence?)

it could be viral marketing. the point would be to get everyone's attention (and look how well they did that!) and then, at the end of the fourteen days, reveal it to be produced by whatever company sponsored this.

i wouldn't be surprised if this was a combination of the two. if it's marketing for a product, they might have hired a name chick lit writer to handle the blog (it's well enough done to suspect that it's from an experienced, published writer---who doesn't keep a blog). the name writer will keep the audience from feeling too stupid during the reveal.

or maybe it's actually marketing for a new book or movie about ... guess what?

John H | July 18, 2006 01:21 PM

Yeah, it sounds kind of fake to me too...

John H | July 18, 2006 01:23 PM

Or perhaps it's some kind of performance art - instead of acting out their drama on a subway they post it all on a 'blog'...

Jp | July 18, 2006 01:33 PM

Likewise. The foreshadowing on some of the entries (especially the 9th) is horribly blatant....

mythago | July 18, 2006 01:50 PM

But with a wife with her looks, why in the world would you cheat anyway?

Cheating isn't about whether you meet somebody cuter than your spouse.

Anne C. | July 18, 2006 01:50 PM

"it could just be a creative project. i've had in mind for about two years now creating a fictional blog to see if i can inhabit a character day in and day out for an extended period of time. (haven't done it yet.) it would be an even cooler project when (if) combined with real-world items like the billboard."
I agree. I've thought of doing this myself, and have definitely written fiction through a blog, but have not really found the leisure to do it consistently. Real world items would add that extra layer of vermissiltude (sp?) that would heighten the effect.
It's definitely fake though. Real blogs do not fit that tidy pattern. Even a fake blog should do a bit better in introducing red herrings.

Dean | July 18, 2006 03:33 PM

We're being gamed. The challenge is to figure out by whom.

The blog doesn't read like a blog. It reads like a blog written by an advertiser who wanted to write a fake blog.

Bobarino | July 18, 2006 03:38 PM

It's fake, for sure. No one but the pros worry about proper punctuation these days, and sometimes not even them.

John H | July 18, 2006 03:46 PM

Bobarino

Sorry, but that's not true. I worry about proper spelling and punctuation all the time, even though I'm just a tech geek.

David Klecha | July 18, 2006 04:13 PM

A few years ago, here in Grand Rapids (MI), our downtown night-spot mashup (seven bars, four restaurants, a night club, a comedy club, etc.) featured an audience-participation "wedding" which quickly spiraled out of control as secrets were revealed, etc. It started with an endearing proposal from Bob (or something) to Tina (or something) flashed on the mashup's big electronic billboard, as though it were an actual someone making an actual marriage proposal.

I have the feeling that some kind of show/performance/series is going to come forth from this, featuring Stephen and Emily.

Just a guess, though.

Jon Marcus | July 18, 2006 04:14 PM

I'd say the giveaway would be the same billboard appearing in the two largest media markets in the country. Especially since the blog claims the billboard was placed near the guy's workplace.

John Scalzi | July 18, 2006 04:20 PM

Yup.

Joe Hass | July 18, 2006 05:00 PM

Add a report from a friend of a co-worker that the billboard is in Chicago as well. So that'd be the top three markets.

Bearpaw | July 18, 2006 05:01 PM

We're being gamed. The challenge is to figure out by whom.

Nah. The challenge is to ignore it. Otherwise, you're still being gamed.

Abigail | July 18, 2006 05:38 PM

Gosh, you guys are behind the times. I remember a marketing campaign along these lines here in Israel about ten or fifteen years ago (the sign I remember had a guy breaking up with his girlfriend off a billboard. I got well and truly steamed about it - remember, I was maybe 12 - until my mother pointed out that this was surely a fake).

At the time, I think the campaign was advertising the billboards - the company had downtime (it usually happens around January) and used it to call attention to itself.

Ulrika | July 18, 2006 05:52 PM

Yeah, that's a hoax of some kind. The blog is too pat (and has too little history -- it's less than a month old, and starts out burbling about how happy and wonderful and perfect a couple Emily and Steven are, and then, Gosh! She's discovered he's cheating! Whole new spin on the blog! It's even the theme of the blogroll now! Too convienient, to compressed, too little like the way actual mediocre writers (who still use good punctuation -- it's not that no one uses it, it's more like the people who do are better writers than that) write about their actual lives.

I'm mildly curious what the "gotcha" will be, but probably not enough so to follow it.

Bobarino | July 18, 2006 07:57 PM

I wrote:

It's fake, for sure. No one but the pros worry about proper punctuation these days, and sometimes not even them.

John H writes:

Bobarino

Sorry, but that's not true. I worry about proper spelling and punctuation all the time, even though I'm just a tech geek.

I have concluded that this hoax is being perpetrated by none other than John H. Nice job!

Brian | July 18, 2006 10:04 PM

Ok, so maybe I'm succumbing to the viral advertising approach, but there's a billboard company called "City Outdoor" (note the logo beneath the billboard in the photo in John's post), that appears to be a recent start-up, given the relatively few boards they currently have to their name. Would make sense for them to be attempting a viral marketing campaign to get a foothold in the market. Take a look at their San Francisco advertising location, here... it's hard to tell for sure, but that building looks a bit like the one behind the billboard in the post photo, and the billboard itself does look kinda stretch-vinyl-like.

Admittedly, the logo on their site looks nothing like the one in the photo. <shrug> My money still says they're behind it.

Also, off topic... John, I really like what you've done with the decor around here... it's both attractive and thinky. :-)

Angie | July 18, 2006 10:06 PM

That'd be my guess.

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0460636/maindetails

John Scalzi | July 18, 2006 10:28 PM

Nah, that show's already cancelled.

Michele | July 18, 2006 11:59 PM

I was suspicious, because she claims to be getting a great reaction to the billboard.... and yet doesn't allow comments.

Cathy | July 19, 2006 12:35 AM

Yes, read some of the blog and you can tell it's fiction. It's so diffuse that I'd guess there's a team of people behind it.

Adam Lipkin | July 19, 2006 08:39 AM

Gawker is reporting that it's a promo for a CourtTV show:

John H | July 19, 2006 12:02 PM

Now there's a video - how exciting!

Anne C. | July 19, 2006 03:10 PM

The City Outdoor theory is a good one, but the billboard in CA has a VanWagner logo below it. A blogger (http://boifromtroy.com) spotted it on Sunset and posted a picture.

Apparently "Emily" was websavvy enough to register with Technorati. The rating is up to 24,818 (139 links from 100 sites). Not bad for a viral campaign.

mds | July 20, 2006 08:48 AM

They used to do these for grocery stores in Fort Wayne.

Fake messy breakups? What kind of grocery stores does Fort Wayne have, anyway?

Regardless, viral marketing irritates me. It makes me feel like I'm living in Pattern Recognition without the big expense account. Like a commenter at Gawker says, I'm boycotting it, whatever it is. I don't care if it's a cure for cancer.

Midtown Manhattan Man | July 26, 2006 09:06 AM

As I'm sitting in my off in Midtown Manhattan I noticed that the sign has now changed. But ever so slightly. There is this bright red sign on top of the "letter" to Steven that says something like "Parco PI" Court TV. Didn't bring my glasses to work today so I can't read the fine print, sorry.

Midtown Manhattan Man | July 26, 2006 09:07 AM

As I'm sitting in my off in Midtown Manhattan I noticed that the sign has now changed. But ever so slightly. There is this bright red sign on top of the "letter" to Steven that says something like "Parco PI" Court TV. Didn't bring my glasses to work today so I can't read the fine print, sorry.

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