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Subject: UKNM: Stealth Marketing
From: Carl Christensen
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 09:50:21 +0100

Subject was "Herpes, pregnant women and other custom publishing projects..."

This got me thinking about Stealth Marketing which is I believe manifested
at its best at a site called, CafeHerpe, a resource for all things related
to genital herpes

Designed as a "virtual coffee shop" to make it easy for visitors to explore
and learn how to live with genital herpes, the site is organized into five
thematic sections :-.

"The Buffet" serves up "a mixture of viral facts" where visitors can pick
from one of three items on "Le Menu": virology, a herpes virus briefing, and
an awareness quiz.
"Reading Lounge" details how visitors can access information on how one
contracts herpes
"Espresso Bar" provides a wealth of product information
"The Terrace" focuses on online support groups
"Your Waiter" provides a helpful section for those who can't quite find what
they're looking for.

It is stylish, lavishly illustrated, very well put together and serves as an
informational support resource

But is it all helpful? or is there a hidden commercial agenda?

Scroll down, and at the bottom of the index page you will see that the
site's "sponsor" is the well known pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham

Also at the bottom of the page, next to the legal disclaimer is a hyperlink
to a form where upon providing your name and address, information about a
potential treatment for the disease, a prescription drug called Famvir,
will be mailed to you. No prizes for guessing which pharmaceutical company
is behind Famvir

At first (and second) glance, the site appears as a resource providing
medical information on herpes in an entertaining cafe-style environment, but
be in no doubt that SKB provide all the content. Their marketing agenda may
not be immediately visible, but by providing volumes of useful information
they have leveraged the Web as a data collection and marketing tool and
successfully achieve the overall purpose of the site - to promote Famvir

Interesting that when we started doing some development work for SKB here in
the UK and discussed the reasoning behind cafeherpe, the UK boys considered
the site "avant garde" and "ahead of its time"

The site has been live in the US for over 18 months


Carl Christensen
Domino Systems

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