Virtual campaign virtually makes me poop my pants

Frenzied Waters jar contents

Over the past few days, some popular movie bloggers like Victor Holtreman fromScreenRant (image cred) and Johnny Wright from YesButNoButYes received mysterious packages in the mail. The packages contained an old rusty mason jar with a bunch of objects inside like a shark tooth, a shredded bathing suit and closed beach sign. The most unsettling object however, was an obituary describing how the recipient died because of a shark attack.

 For a full description of the contents of the jar and the notes, check out either link to the blogs above.

One of the objects is labeled with the URL The page simply shows undulating dark water with four mason jars floating in the center. One of them links you to a Facebook window and asks you to login, which I regrettably did. What followed was a first-person view of what seemed to be a shark attack. It began with laughter and splashing and ended with blood, foam, and screaming. That was the pleasant part. The screen then began flashing pictures of me. Pictures with friends and family. Old pictures I had forgotten were online.  Then my profile picture was posted at the top of a newspaper obituary with the year of my birth and my death, 2009. In bold letters it read “Shark Attack.” The names of friends were placed under quotes talking about what a tragedy it was. My palms are sweating by this point.

Allow me to remind you about what I’ll be doing in September. Yeah. The site didn’t scare me into thinking twice about the trip, but at the very least it did elicit some nervous laughter. “Wow, they made it look like a shark killed me. Heh…heh…”

Apparently this is a  promotional campaign for some sort of movie or show.  But before being shocked by my own obituary, the first thing I thought was “more shark porn.” With the annual Discovery Channel hit Shark Week beginning on August 2, many shark conservationists have hit the web to discourage the production of shark porn. Shark porn can be described as overly violent and dramatic shark footage that place priority on shock value versus truth and education. Check out Shark Divers take on the issue and the fear tactics of the campaign. 

Strangely enough, although I’ve always been a fan of Shark Week, it wasn’t until I planned to actually get in the water with sharks that I realized how much of the Discovery programming can be considered “shark porn.” For the casual viewer who doesn’t seek out additional information on sharks, a lot of what’s being shown on Discovery might only reinforce the myth of the mindless killing machine. This in turn might cause people to think shark fishing is OK, and that ridding the ocean of these monsters might be beneficial to us. Case in point, this guy who caught four very large and probably very old tiger sharks off of South Carolina.

So shark issues aside, the mysterious package campaign has provided some decent buzz online. For what? We’re not sure yet. Let’s see if they can keep it up long enough for people to know what they’re talking about.


~ by Joel on July 10, 2009.

3 Responses to “Virtual campaign virtually makes me poop my pants”

  1. glad I got off the facebooks. nice knowin’ ya

  2. Can I get dibs on your obit?

  3. This years Shark Week has revealed a bacchanalia of man made shark horror well beyond any concerns the shark conservation community and commercial shark diving community could have fathomed.

    Without a doubt Discovery Networks have reinvented Sea Monsters, erroneously establishing the shark as the most feared predator on the planet.

    34 years after JAWS, and 34 years of conservation science discoveries, pro-shark media, and conservation themed initiatives have been swept away by the 2009 Discovery Channel anti-shark juggernaut. This year broadcast in gory, blood soaked HD, to an estimated 30 million domestic viewers.

    Great for advertising revenues, lousy for the perception of sharks worldwide who have been thrown back to the stone age with last nights docu drama, “Blood in the water” and this weeks entire line up of gratuitous Shark Porn.

    As a commercial shark diving operator I find over hyping one small facet of a sharks entire Raison d’etre to be patently dishonest and a disservice to animals that are suffering one of the highest rates of destruction on the planet.

    Approximately 90 million sharks are killed each year. That’s a stunning statistic. And yet Discovery Networks feels compelled to bring back the 1970’s shark mythos, blood and fear, with absolutely no Sympathy for the Devil.

    At the same time Discovery Networks have rolled out a simply draconian and somewhat East Bloc ham fisted media campaign showing conservation for sharks. An afterthought pushed out by Discovery and it’s hand selected group of “Shark Porn Programming Apologists” to mollify the growing push back from an appalled research, science, and commercial dive community.

    To those who are supporting the very dark decision by Discovery Network executives to bring back, promote, and hype the fear of sharks, rethink your position.

    At a critical time when sharks, as a measure of the health of our oceans, need as much support as we can give them, programming decisions that demonize these animals for ratings, ad sales, and corporate profits are wrong, dishonest, and bordering on fraudulent.

    Discovery started Shark Week 20 years ago with programming that was fresh, alive and informative. Our company along with many others have been involved in some of that programming and happy with the results.

    Early Shark Week programming started with unflinching production companies striving to produce they best they could, fully engaging local operators to introduce them to the full range of shark behaviors.

    Discovery has officially lost it’s way. It can come back, hopefully this is the final year of Shark Porn. Hopefully those within the community who are currently in bed with Discovery Networks “will see the light”.

    As both the alcohol and tobacco industries have discovered you cannot sell these toxic brands to minors and then ask them to “drink and smoke responsibly”.

    Discovery Networks cannot sell fear and loathing of sharks…and then push for conservation.

    Patric Douglas CEO

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