Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What is citizen marketing?

Is the homeless guy with a Safeway shopping cart an evangelist, say a citizen marketer, for Safeway? Or has he just walked off with a corporation's property? I'd have to say it is theft.

So, why is the FedEx Furniture guy a hero to the bloggers? Steve Rubel writes today that Jose is a citizen marketer, helping show how much he loves FedEx by stealing boxes to make furniture. Jose notes that he does love FedEx, and has used them to ship product.

But, that does not change the fact that, well, those boxes are property of FedEx for its customers to ship out product. That's a pretty cut and dry case. Boxes are to be used for shipping, not to make avant-garde furniture, no matter how cool it might be, or how much the designer claims to love FedEx and use them. Yep, I say claims.

I doubt any corporate communications department is going to rush out and embrace a homeless person with a branded shopping cart. Why should FedEx rush out and embrace a furniture-less guy that decided to use their products for his own purposes and means? To me, it's just a knee-jerk reaction of the blogosphere because FedEx is using the DMCA to claim its intellectual and property rights.

If FedEx didn't crack down, could they start to lose money on more stolen boxes? Colleges are opening their doors right now - think of all the college students, alone, that might be seeking to mimic this lil' effort, and then think of the cost to FedEx.

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