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Panasonic's latest campaign: yes, the world really has gone totally, barking mad

Panasonic has announced a marketing campaign for its new Blu-ray recorders.  They will prank an 'unwitting' Sydney man every day for a month.

Ah huh...

Generally, iTWire's emailbox is stuffed full of press releases ranging from the tediously boring through every shade of colour to the jumping up-and-down exciting.  When the material is of sufficient interest to our readers, one of us will write about it.

Just once in a while, something arrives in the inbox that can only be described as flying-fox guano (you know what I mean) crazy.

Thank you Panasonic for the best laugh all week.

Last Friday, the following tumbled gleefully out the end of the local broadband cable (note, edited for brevity and clarity):

Sydney, September 30, 2011 - Australian Internet users will be able to prank an unwitting Sydney man every day for almost a month, as part of a new marketing campaign for Panasonic Blu-ray Recorders.

Rommy Gulla, from Sydney's Northern Beaches, will undergo a new ordeal every day from Monday, October 3 until Monday, October 31.

Panasonic Facebook followers will have the opportunity to nominate their own pranks at www.facebook.com/panasonicaustralia - The best suggestions will be made a reality and can be watched in real-time through Facebook.  Fans will also have the opportunity to support Gulla, by giving him a virtual hug or becoming an official supporter.

The 26-year-old has already received a taste of things to come, with his car receiving a "makeover" - complete with an imaginative use of glitter - as part of pre-production filming for the campaign.

Gulla said he was starting to feel a little bit of trepidation about the coming month.

"It hasn't even really started but it's already feeling like the longest four weeks of my life.  The only thing I know is that the pranks can happen anywhere, anytime," Gulla said.

"I know it will be a lot of fun but to be honest I'm probably not going to get much sleep during the next few days.  My friends and family think I'm completely crazy."

[iTWire: Really?  Who'da thunk?]

There are also plenty of prizes up for grabs with a Grand prize to be drawn at the end of the promotion as well as Instant Encouragement prizes awarded to those fans who actively support Gulla during the campaign.

Sophie Barton, Group Marketing Manager - AV, Panasonic Australia, said the campaign highlighted the unique features of the Panasonic DMR-BWT800.

"We wanted to show Australian consumers that 28 days really is a long time - a long time to have to endure daily pranks and certainly an incredible amount of time for users to record all their favourite shows thanks to the one terabyte capacity," Barton said.

So, let's get this straight.

Rommy Gulla has decided to permit 28 days worth of random pranks to be perpetrated upon his good self.  All for the general amusement of a bunch of Facebook fans, some of whom will win prizes merely for actively pointing and laughing (and for suggesting extra ways to point and laugh).

A few random thoughts. 

Firstly what's in it for Gulla, the apparent 'victim?'  At a guess, some kind of secret payment - why else would he be doing this?  After-all, we know who Rommy Gulla really is - a wannabe actor with a few minor credits (including a 2010 Tropfest entry).  And with a little bit of search foo, there's plenty more that readers can learn about Mr Gulla.

Next, what if random (non-authorised) pranks start happening?  Worse still, what if they start happening to other (possibly non-related) Sydneysiders with the same surname?

I'm guessing Gulla will be out of this whole thing well short of the 28 days when it all goes pear-shaped.  Someone will decide their proposed prank was too funny to be rejected by Panasonic and will carry it out without authorisation (possibly against the wrong person).  And around about then, everyone will realise just how silly this whole thing was.

Yep, the world really has gone totally, barking mad.  Just to sell a Blu-ray recorder.  Did Panasonic *really* think this through?

Oh, and the 'unwitting' part?  Now is probably a good time for Panasonic to come clean about that too.



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