The Nokia – Blackwell Briggs – Conspiracy For Good – Crap Viral Campaign

So, this isn’t my main post for this week (I’ll post something serious later this week), but I recently became aware of some horrible-ness on Youtube that warranted further investigation. I don’t profess to be an expert on viral marketing, but if I was going to create a viral video campaign, it would be NOTHING like this monstrosity from Nokia.

Exhibit A


This video was supposedly leaked from “security company” Blackwell Briggs in May 2010. Nokia even set up a fake Twitter account. In fairness to Nokia, a few commenters on Youtube seemed to think it was real, but they could just be plants. Or maybe they’re just idiots, I don’t know.

I should just add, when I say “Nokia” obviously I mean whoever is running this viral campaign for them. It’s still Nokia’s responsibility though in my view, so I’m quite happy to place the blame firmly at their door.

The fake Twitter account is clearly managed by people with few moral values. For example:

Blackwell Briggs Twitter Disgrace

That tweet links to this story on the BBC about a Real IRA car bomb explosion. Now, call me old fashioned but tagging onto the fear created by a very real and serious incident, just for the purposes of enhancing your POS viral campaign, is an absolute disgrace in my view.

Exhibit B

A few days later (or maybe even the same day?), the video was mysteriously re-edited by Conspiracy For Good; a team dedicated to stopping the horrible monsters at Blackwell Briggs from taking over whatever they were planning on taking over (sorry, I lost interest). There’s a few more Twitter accounts where you can keep up to date with which celebs are now recording. Joss Stone is such an ACE actor by the way (I wondered where she’d gone).

I guess the biggest thing that puzzled me is why Nokia would have an American-female voice over on the British targeted Conspiracy For Good video? Although having said that, I think there was some research a while back showing that us Brits love American accents or something.

Exhibit C

Nokia even persuaded Tim Kring (creator of axed TV series Heros) to be a part of this crap! I assume large wads of cash were involved. I mean, really…

At the time of writing, this video had only received 562 views, so you’re getting this scoop early people!

Exhibit D

Someone else who’s evidently fallen on hard times is Trent Reznor (founder of fairly well known band Nine Inch Nails). I do hope there aren’t too many more of these….

How crap is that one?! It’s like Trent has just said “yeah yeah, gimmie the $5k, I’ll mumble your damn line” and whoever is orchestrating this has gone “OK Trent!”. Utter rubbish.

Free hints for Nokia

If you really want to make this nonsense believable (that’s the idea, right?) don’t register both domains at virtually the same time and with identical whois information; any numpty can look this up nowadays:

Conspiracy For Whois Blackwell Whois

In addition, hosting both websites with the same hosting provider probably isn’t too realistic now, is it? Greetings to the guys and girls over at Bytemark by the way (they, at least, are real).

Is this the end of this viral?

Sadly, I suspect it’s only the beginning. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh and I do appreciate the irony that I’m blogging about it now and thus creating Nokia further exposure. But I just find the whole concept offensively sh*t, sorry. You can subscribe here on Youtube to see what happens next. It even looks like Nokia have London Events planned for the summer; oh lawdy.

*Quick Update*

Since writing this piece I have read speculation online that some people think this is more Tim Kring’s project and Nokia are just playing a small part. Sorry, I don’t buy that – this stinks of a commercial viral. All the product placements in the videos are Nokia phones and the links here go straight to the Nokia website. I think Tim is just picking up a cheque for prolonged involvement personally. Hey, I could be wrong though :)

*Another update – 23/06/2010*

I just wanted to post another quick update on this, as quite a lot has recently changed. Firstly, someone is clearly reading this blog as the Blackwell Briggs Twitter update I mentioned has been pulled from their Twitter account. Good job I took a screenshot eh? ;) In addition, the Tim Kring video above has also been removed.

Basically, the people running this screwed up so badly at creating a convincing story that they’ve scrapped all the elements of deception (people supposedly being kidnapped, employee’s posing on YouTube saying how real Blackwell Briggs is etc etc etc) and have now just turned it into some wishy-washy campaign for peace and love.

I don’t know how much money was pumped into this, but all in all I’d class it as a rather epic failure. Sorry about that.

Incidentally, for those who doubted Nokia’s involvement, they posted this Twitter status update yesterday.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who linked to this post; much appreciated. I just need to clarify one thing though; over at they gave me a nice write up, however one slightly confused commenter called circular stated that I think Joss Stone is American? I’ve no idea how he/she came to this conclusion based on my post, but please rest assured, I am painfully aware that Joss Stone is British. Thanks :) 

What should Nokia have done?

Well personally, I would have invested the cash in a new advert, just like Nike:

Now that, my friends, is quality :D

This entry was posted in General, Rants.

12 thoughts on “The Nokia – Blackwell Briggs – Conspiracy For Good – Crap Viral Campaign

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  2. Hey!

    It’s actually rather the opposite. It’s not Nokia getting Tim Kring into their ad campaign. It’s rather Tim Kring getting Nokia to sponsor his alternate reality game (which he has been working on for years). Too bad people think the opposite (or too bad he chose Nokia for sponsoring), because this could be a great game.


  3. Sorry, saw your update now. It’s probably a goldmine for Nokia, but it really is Kring’s project. I’m sure, because I know a girl that has been involved since before Nokia.


    • Hi Frederick,

      Thanks for your comments. You could well be right, but it just feels to me like even if it was Tim Kring’s idea to start with, Nokia have very much taken over and are now running the show (badly).

      Either way, I still hate the whole concept, whoever is responsible!

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    • Hi Kearf,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I did see that email and I know there’s a lot of talk about if TPB fell for the hoax or if they are in on it as well. Either way, it says a lot that whoever is running the campaign chose TPB as a (supposedly illegal) platform to promote it!

      The Youtube link wasn’t working for me sorry; says it’s been removed by the user.

  5. You’re logic is hugely flawed. Nokia is sponsoring it, that does not make it “For” Nokia, any more than the superbowl is for godaddy and etrade. Look up what an ARG is and if you don’t like them fine, but don’t say how you hate stuff you haven’t even tried it. It’s a freaking game, get over it.

    • Uh huh. You obviously have some bias towards this shoddy campaign. If you think linking to stories about Real IRA car bomb explosions to enhance a fake company profile is acceptable, then there’s clearly not a lot left to say to you.

  6. I’m closing comments on this post now. I’m always happy to hear other views and I have posted all the comments that came through. But this was just a quick post and not really what my blog is about (SEO, CRO etc) so I think that’s enough for me. Plus, I’m kind of bored of talking about it now :)

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