Hell hath no fury
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Or so the saying goes.
And ‘Graham’ seemed to have found that out at the weekend, as plastic laminate signs were left all over Warwick, seemingly suggesting a mysterious ‘Graham’ had cheated on his partner ‘Linda’. The rascally bastard.
The posters depicted the name Graham written in an image of a heart in a hangman’s noose, and the words “If she is so good in bed you can stay there!” followed by “Merc keys in canal, locks changed, cards maxed, happy New Year, Linda xxx” written beneath it. At face value it seems the mystery Graham has been a naughty boy and was facing the wrath of his partner in the form of public humiliation.
The signs were soon popping up all over social media with people highlighting Graham’s misfortune, or rather comeuppance, with ribald amusement.
From social media, the signs subsequently spread to mainstream press, both regional and national. Publications including the Mail Online, The Sun, the Mirror, Metro and even international press such as the New Zealand Herald covered the story.
It went viral in every sense of the word.
However, my PR suspicions immediately flared at 1) the lack of Graham’s picture and 2) the generic nature of the names. A genuinely enraged partner would no doubt have used a picture to ensure Graham’s humiliation, whilst Graham and Linda could literally be anyone.
So, with first impressions being ‘bullsh*t’ it didn’t take Columbo levels of detection to spot the web address included on the poster, www.throwingrocks.co.uk, and check out the link. Funnily enough, the firm offers personalised posters, with one example on the website reading “Terry, if she’s that good in bed stay there tonight. Locks changed, Sam.” Sounds familiar.
The posters look hilariously amateur and are on par with my pathetic attempts at graphic design in Year 9 ICT lessons, where we used the fancy text effect on Word and then got to laminate it afterwards.
A cheap and nasty PR stunt, but one that’s worked absolute wonders for a rather cheap and nasty product.
The level of coverage achieved is actually phenomenal considering the minimal effort involved. PRs around the world can only look on in envy on this kind of blanket coverage, so tip of the cap to you Throwing Rocks on this one, I’m sure whoever is behind it there is delighted.
I’m also certain it’s some sort of spoof of some kind. Maybe a PR/marketing exercise for another brand (possibly Four90 designs, the website designer). The posters retail at a whopping £295 for 50 posters or ‘laminate boards’ as they’re described. But, admittedly, the firm say it’ll put them up on your behalf before 7am so there is some legwork involved which could justify the fee. The How it Works page also states that they won’t include racism, sexism, politics or surnames, which does offer some explanation as to why Graham remains anonymous.
The website is also functional, but basic, which makes it even more suspicious. Something that a website design firm would have no trouble knocking together.
An interesting exercise then and one that shows the potential of the dreaded ‘viral marketing.’ Good work, 'Throwing Rocks'.