Friday, July 20, 2007

Blog Pimping - The GSK / alli Connect / Debbie Weil kerfuffle

Debbie Weil is a self described corporate blogging expert who caused a bit of a kerfuffle last week. Debbie has been hired by GlaxoSmithKline to promote the corporate blog for their weight-loss drug alli. The kerfuffle started because Debbie sent an email to colleagues asking them to leave comments on the blog in order to "jump start the two way conversation". The felony in all of this came in the second to last sentence which read "No need to say that you know me, of course."

This raises the question of blog pimping. Is it okay for Debbie to try and drum up traffic and comments on her clients' blog? If it is okay, why did Debbie give the appearance that she was doing something wrong by including that damning sentence? In a podcast interview, Debbie bobbed and weaved like Muhammed Ali (alli?). Given this performance, it's possible that she has a future in politics.

For me, it illustrates the pressure that media and marketing professionals are under to succeed. It takes a lot of work to convince large, old media oriented companies to try new media. When you finally break that barrier, an unsuccessful campaign can leave a bad taste in the clients mouth toward new media in general. Not to mention the fact that Debbie needs this to be successful in order to promote her own brand and company. Sometimes pressure causes people to make questionable decisions.

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