The @TopHatProfessor Thing

Some fan made a quite legit seeming twitter account for Professor Layton and then got outed as hyping it on a forum as the “BEST. VIRAL. MARKETING. EVER.”

The hilarious (to me) part:

Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars to come up with successful viral marketing campaigns that engage their customers and nearly always fail, usually simply pissing off more customers than they bring in. People are usually the most pissed off at the bait-and-switch. Nobody is pissed off that the “Will It Blend” guys are trying to sell blenders. That’s obvious. But who remembers someone pissed off that The Blair Witch Project wasn’t real? They were baited by a supernatural documentary that turned out to be a low-budget horror drama.

This guy creates a viral marketing campaign that is unsanctioned and SUCCESSFUL at interacting with customers (look at the replies) for zero dollars. If he stopped there and never updated again fearing the Nintendo lawyermobile, he would be among the top decile of the history of viral marketeers.

Instead, he tries to leverage the Layton brand that he now had a part in expanding and parlay that into Personal Internet Kudos. Viral marketing succeeds when people don’t realize or care that it is marketing. In other words, he failed exactly how every other viral marketing campaign fails: he made it about himself rather than the audience. He baited and switched.

Also: don’t call yourself a “game journalist” if you are an “aspiring game journalist”. I didn’t call myself a game designer until I had a project on the shelf and a paycheck in the bank.

Also: the guy seems like a real tail-between-his-legs type. If I was him, I’d be working with Nintendo to try and make it official. Where’s the entreprenurial spirit? If I had 3,000 followers in two weeks, I’d be pitching that to Nintendo as an asset. Plus his “OMG don’t ban me plz” attitude in the NeoGAF forum posts is just sad.

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