• Oct 18th 2009 at 2:36PM
  • 36
If you're trying to sell cars, perhaps it's best to not alienate or scare the daylights out of potential customers. Toyota has tried a few new approaches lately, and agency Saatchi & Saatchi may have thought it out-clevered itself with a faux-stalker effort for the Matrix, but it's landed both the agency and the automaker in legal hot water.

Amber Duick, a California woman who was seriously freaked out by a fake stalker named Sebastian Bowler -- no, we're not sure how it was intended to tie in to the Matrix, either -- has asked Toyota for $10 Million in exchange for the hornswoggling she received. Emails from the nonexistent Mr. Bowler so intimidated Ms. Duick that her work suffered and she made her boyfriend sleep with weapons nearby, just in case.

The whole punking came about by her opting in, Toyota's lawyers say -- as in, she asked for it. Sure, says Duick's own attorney, if you count an undecipherable and dubious online personality test forwarded by a friend as an actual opt-in agreement, instead of just a legal fig-leaf. The legal flap is going to take some time for both parties to work out or ride through the court system, but you paranoids out there can rest easy; Saatchi wrapped up this campaign last year, so it's on to some other internet silliness to push the Matrix now. Thanks for the tip, Martin!

[Source: ABC News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      So I read the link, and basically....a women gets an email from a friend. It asks her to do a survey, where-in she is basically giving permission to be "punk'd."

      Rather than confirm with her friend if it was legit, or read the fine print, or even google the context of the email, she fills it out, despite later acknowledging "it was indecipherable", and is then subject to the "ad campaign."

      So basically; had this been actual spam or attempt for identity theft; she would have openly screwed herself. She's just lucky that in this case, it was from Toyota, and she can sue over it.

      Sorry, to me in this situation - no matter how much this makes no sense on Toyota's part - this is as much the women's fault for being a dumbass as anything else.

      Sorry, I work in IT, and see people fall for crap like this hundreds of times a month, and those are actual spammers/identity stealers. As I said, she's just lucky it ended up being some whack-job sales thing instead of actual id-theft.

      What's going to happen when she falls for one of those? Sue the "internet" for letting it happen?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This bitch is out of her damn mind if she thinks she deserves $10 million for being pestered by a few odd emails and phone calls. If I were the judge overseeing this lawsuit, I wouldn't award her $10 thousand, let alone million. Ridiculous!

      Also, this is quite possibly the worst marketing strategy ever.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I also don't get it, in the end I thought Toyota lost 10 Million for getting someone to sell their Matrix.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't get it but I love the PUNKD Matrix picture haha
      • 5 Years Ago
      Arturo ,I would say the prank was advertised by Toyota and the matrix was the car on the ads if you read about this prank , thats what I get out of it all, other then toyota is really messing up bad these days save the new rwd sports coupe . Toyota is making it more easy for better start ups like Hyundai to yank down toyota from its once high horse
      • 5 Years Ago
      So how much will her lawyers get?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This would be a pretty good example of "Grasping at Salvation" as Toyota circles the drain....
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have to agree with everyone else, I don't even understand what the point was. I can't believe anyone at any company could think that this was a good idea. I'm perplexed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Autoblog story/ summary is clear and concise. The headline, however is misleading. The headline makes one think that Toyota was pulling a prank on the woman because she was trying to sell her Matrix.

      Better headline suggestion: No Sale! Toyota's Ad Scheme Backfires, Results in Stalking Charge, Lawsuit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I dun get it...
      • 5 Years Ago
      They can prank me all day long if it involves me winning a $10 million lawsuit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The prank campaign, Saatchi creative director Alex Flint told the magazine, should gain the appreciation from "even the most cynical, anti-advertising guy."

      Or make them even more cynical and anti-advertising, as well as likely to shoot strangers who come up to their doors.
      • 5 Years Ago
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