Don't brandjack the Shaq - and watch your client's back

Don't brandjack the Shaq - and watch your client's back

Summary: This, along with the "Mad Men" situation, is proving how imperative it is that people monitor their brands on the social Web.


DonÂ’t brandjack the ShaqFirst "Mad Men" -- now Shaquille O'Neal?

Earlier today the New York Times reported that basketball star (and, um, rapper) O'Neal put his gigantic foot down when it came to someone claiming his name on Twitter.

The buzz is so big that the NBA hero even has his own trending topic on Twitter Search.

The impersonation was allegedly discovered by Sports Media Challenge, a consulting firm who works with the athlete. Upon discovering that O'Neal's name -- and brand -- had been hijacked, the firm reportedly claimed that they were thrilled -- and fooled. But does Shaq even care? Apparently so.

According to a Times interview with O'Neal:

“Somebody out there was trying to use my language and trying to speak for me,” O’Neal, sounding more amused than offended, said Wednesday night in a telephone interview. “Rather than have that happen, I thought I’d do it myself.”

And he is.

What's most interesting to me, is that according to the Times article the fake Shaq had been in action for quite a bit before Sports Media Challenge even noticed. Now, I won't discredit the firm - who knows exactly what they are hired to do. But this, along with the "Mad Men" situation, is proving how imperative it is that people monitor their brands on the social Web to ensure reputations aren't damaged.

I wrote a while back that some brands should allow themselves to be jacked. However, Shaq is a person as well as a brand, and having your image stolen, well, is not a good thing. Regardless, marketing and PR firms and internal social media types alike need to pay more attention to their clients' social Web presence so that they -- or their clients -- can make the call around whether or not they want an impersonator of their brand. Anything else is just bad reputation management.

The real Shaq can be found on Twitter here.

Topics: Hardware, Social Enterprise

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  • Buzz Manager service Uncovered Ficticious Shaq to Protect Brand

    We at Sports Media Challenge agree that all brands need to monitor 24/7 for relevant, real time business intelligence. Our proprietary Buzz Manager service does that for personal and corporate brands in sports, entertainment and lifestyle markets. We started monitoring Shaq and within a day found the Twitter fake, recommended Shaq start his own and take control of his brand back in his own humorous way. We did our job and he did his.
  • Bullshit

    What did you just get online last week? Do you have any cl00 at all as to just how many celebrity impersonators there are online? As a long standing Internet social engineer and performance artist myself I can say with absolute certainty that this sort of thing happens every second of every day in more online communities than you could even begin to imagine. And anyone who actually believes someone claiming to be a celebrity online, an environment in which you *CANNOT* see the person live, in real time...yeah, they're a complete moron!

    Online, in *THIS* world, you have to take *EVERYTHING* with a grain of salt...even Shaq claiming he's talking on the Internet. Sorry, but I doubt he is. I'm sure the man has much better things to do with his time than run around the Internet talking with faceless nothings in the void of cyberspace. Now I won't doubt that he might be hiring someone to post *FOR* him, such as this Sports Media Challenge outfit, but again, online...believe nothing.

    It can be fun to play pretend, to imagine that you're really talking to a celebrity on the Internet or viewing the words of a celebrity, but unless you're watching live video...sorry, but a fantasy is all you have at best. Keep in mind too of course that even video can be edited and manipulated. The bottom line is that you should *NEVER* believe anything you read online, because I guarantee if you do you're going to wind up getting yourself into some shit.

    You're reading a post right now from someone who gets a big kick out of finding companies that have HR departments that "check out" potential employees by looking up their name in Google and so forth. Once I find those HR departments...I get a list of their names and hopefully their pictures as well. Afterward, I go around the Internet posting as if I were them, in their name, spreading all ~sorts~ of horribly embarrassing lies to the point where if anyone ever looks up *THEIR* name in a Google search...well they'll come up as being depicted as a hermaphroditic Nazi baby fur at best.

    As an expert level graphic designer I also create what I call fauxpics from existing pictures of a person to further enhance the illusions I create about them:

    Can you tell which one of those is the original?
    • Forgot To Mention

      It's not just celebrities that are impersonated but even regular Joe's and Jane's of the world. This is why you need to be so very careful about making ASSumptions about people based on what you're ~supposedly~ reading from them, because it may not actually be that person.

      Frequently in the course of a flaming debate or argument, when one side is losing, they'll often retard back into mud slinging tactics in order to compensate. What they use to attack you with is also often "telephoned", meaning one person at one time randomly accused you of something, then another time someone looked up that accusation in the course of a flame war and then used it themselves. On and on it'll go like that until before long you have every other idiot online screaming on about how you're a six breasted, nine penised anthro-furry-taur with a pentchent for voraphilia and scatology. And hey, they read it online from someone else who made the accusation so it *MUST* be true. Otherwise why would so many different people be using the same lame? *nods*

      Not all impersonators are evul trollies out to try and hurt others though, some do it for fantasy role playing, where the person you're talking with generally knows that yer not the real celebrity or that it's at least very unlikely, but they reply as if the person really was, just to be able to play out that fantasy. That in and of itself is actually a fairly healthy practice and helps exercise the imagination, so long as you don't let it consume your whole life and you don't blindly believe in it.

      I myself do impersonations quite often, although not for celebrities, rather for fictional characters. I run a Care Bears site:

      Which was initially created as a gift for my God daughter but then later turned out to be quite the money maker via ad banners and the like. One thing that happened though was I started getting e-mails from kids (who hopefully had their parents permission*) who were basically sending an e-mail to their favorite Care Bear. So for fun I started replying to the kids as the various characters they were e-mailing, which they all just adored and being kids for them it's like talking to Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny.

      *As a basic belief I do not believe that children should have anything at all to do with the Internet, in any form and there is no reason at all for children to even be using the net when there are no shortage of offline games, encyclopedias and other alternatives to the unsafe, open to defacement/attack nature of the Internet.

      I actually know a few trolls who get a big kick out of going to children's sites and making minor defacements here and there, most of which go overlooked for months and teach your kids all sorts of fun new words and phrases, so don't be surprised if your child is suddenly asking you what a "Dolcett fetish" is.

      That said, if some idiot parent does decide to use the Internet as their kids babysitter I'm not going to go out of my way to try and educate them or warn them about the dangers of online communication, as far as I'm concerned they're on their own.