Is Ogilvy & Mather testing Bullshit Marketing for American Express ?

Well, I am not quite sure what to make of this yet. But yesterday, I received this interesting email from someone I don't know...

First of all, let me tell you how much I like your blog. I am a last year student at university and I hope to start working in advertising next year. Your blog is a real source of inspiration.

There is not much real neat advertising happening in Belgium, but today I saw a awesome thing: a nice interactive billboard from American Express for the launch of its new credit card (Blue).

On its site you can upload a picture of yourself. They publish your picture on the billboard. And via a live webcam you can see yourself on the screen on the billboard. Once you appeared on the billboard, you get a webcam picture of yourself on the board in your mail that you can send to your friends.

You can see it for yourself on It’s in French/Dutch (hey, this is Belgium ;-) but just click on the television and then on live webcam.

Hope you find it interesting.

Kind regards,
Wow, the stuff I am writing here is a real source of inspiration for someone out there ? That's flattering !! ;-)

We then had a short email conversation in which this certain someone revealed to me that he is studying marketing communications at the University of Gent. So just a satisfied reader of my blog sending me an interesting link ?

Well, that's what I thought first, but then I took a closer look at his messages. They came from the webmail service of Skynet, a Belgian internet provider. Their headers looked unsuspicious...
Received: from ( [])
by (8.12.11/8.12.11/Skynet-OUT-2.22) with SMTP id j13FWfb0022468
for; Thu, 3 Feb 2005 16:32:41 +0100

...except for this last IP, because the same IP showed up in my server logs and there it looked like this...
Ogilvy & Mather busted...?
A quick traceroute showed that the server is actually located in Belgium and it seems to be the firewall of the Belgian offices of WPP - the parent company of Ogilvy & Mather.

Quite revealing, I would say... ;-)

Asking Google about American Express and Ogilvy & Mather was also pretty telling and at this point, I got the feeling that here somebody was walking the fine line between clever Buzz and stupid Bullshit Marketing... leaning dangerously towards the latter...

...and just in case you wonder, what Bullshit Marketing is all about, here comes a very useful definition:
"The term Bullshit Marketing summarizes methods where customers are not treated as empowered, smart and connected individuals, but as a dumb mass of idiots."

Anyway, if somebody wants to clarify something, feel free to leave a comment...

Update @ 14.02.2005: According to the person, who sent out the original email, Ogilvy will release an official announcement explaining what happened on Wednesday (16.02.2005).

Update @ 22.02.2005: Got an email from the CEO of Ogilvy Belgium.