The Hamilton Tiger-Cats aren’t unknown anymore. After a successful public relations stunt, the Canadian Football League team is on the map.
On the nonexistent Channel 13, Kate McKenna "reports" that there have been eight tiger sightings since Valentine's Day and interviews alleged witness Jason Riley. Jason Riley is no witness, but he is a former Ticat linebacker.
The Web site was traced to the team and registered to its street address.
The hoax successfully generated buzz around the validity of the tiger sightings, and now has given attention to the pranksters.
"I think it has been successful because there is buzz and people are starting to talk about it," Nick Bontis, McMaster University business and marketing professor, told TheSpec.com.
Bontis says that guerilla marketing and viral campaigns can be good strategic tactics. But giving people a forum to discuss the stunt is an important component for viral initiatives.
"The biggest mistake the team made was that they didn't allow a message board immediately underneath the video on the Web site," Bontis told the TheSpec.com. "That's what guerrilla marketing is all about. It's not just about the ad. It's about seeing what other people are saying about the ad."
Despite this criticism, Bontis believes the campaign has gained steam and will continue.
"The timing is good because they are going to generate some interest at a time when you wouldn't normally be getting a lot of coverage," he said. "I hope that this is a series of clips — that something else happens. That's the way you build momentum for these things."
But not everyone sees the humor.
"Actually, this is the dumbest thing I have seen in a long time," one commenter wrote on a local blog. "My elderly mother lives on Park Street downtown Hamilton and is now afraid to go outside, afraid to go to church, afraid to do her daily shopping. Thanks Tiger-Cats, for making my mother a shut-in with your publicity stunt."
You can’t please everyone.