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Toyota Claims Woman "Opted In" To Faux Email Stalking

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the give-marketing-new-prescriptions dept.

The Courts 667

An anonymous reader writes "ABC News is reporting that a California woman is suing Toyota for $10 million for sending her email that appeared to be from a criminal stalker. The woman claims the emails terrified her to the point that she suffered sleeplessness, poor work performance, etc. Toyota says the ruse was part of a marketing campaign for the Toyota Matrix. A Toyota spokesman says they are not liable for the woman's distress, because 'The person who made this claim specifically opted in, granting her permission to receive campaign emails and other communications from Toyota.'"

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Yep (0, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29762003)

A Los Angeles woman is suing Toyota for *$10 MILLION* over a marketing campaign that she claims "punked" her into incorrectly believing she was being stalked.

She even made her longtime boyfriend sleep with a club and mace next to the bed for protection.

Yeah, you need $10 million to cover that. Only in USA.

This also makes me wonder; maybe she had something to hide because she got so scared?

Re:Yep (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762041)

On the other hand, Toyota did a really really weird thing.

Re:Yep (5, Insightful)

TakeoffZebra (1651327) | about 5 years ago | (#29762325)

weird isn't worth $10 million...

Re:Yep (5, Insightful)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | about 5 years ago | (#29762537)

Maybe, but terrifying sure is. Victims of stalking find that they are incapable of doing day-to-day things. The lady had a legitimate fear, she told her friends, then she later was ridiculed for those fears. This is all the fault of Toyota.

I for one hope that she wins the whole $10 million. Maybe only that way will dumb-ass marketers start *thinking* about what they do!

Re:Yep (1, Interesting)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | about 5 years ago | (#29762559)

Yeah because when your yearly revenue exceeds $200 billion you definitely are going to sweat 10 million dollars.

Heh, just joking (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 5 years ago | (#29762649)

Different cultures... google this "japanese gameshow sniper".

Fun.

what a dumb bitch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762049)

nuff said

Re:Yep (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762051)

Just like you have opted in to viewing kittens [goatse.fr] .

Re:Yep (4, Funny)

kalirion (728907) | about 5 years ago | (#29762475)

This "Goatse" kitten is the second ugliest kitten I've ever seen!

Re:Yep (5, Insightful)

sabs (255763) | about 5 years ago | (#29762069)

Did you read the article?

Toyota's marketing campaign was in POOR taste, although one wonders why she never reported it to the police.

I think giving her 10 million seems high, but I think that a class action suit with everyone who got this incredibly lame marketing campaign isn't such a bad idea.

Pretend stalking someone is a terrible idea.

How about this:
What if you kept getting phone calls.. that said:

I'm coming for you.. in a mysterious raspy voice, at all times of the day.
That would be a clear cut case of stalking and instilling fear.

"Informed consent" = no way (5, Interesting)

yali (209015) | about 5 years ago | (#29762275)

FTFA:

Tepper, Duick's attorney, said he discussed the campaign with Toyota's attorneys earlier this year, and they said the "opting in" Harp referred to was done when Duick's friend e-mailed her a "personality test" that contained a link to an "indecipherable" written statement that Toyota used as a form of consent from Duick.

Tepper, said that during those legal negotiations, Toyota's lawyers claimed Duick signed the written legal agreement, which they said amounts to "informed written consent." [emphasis added]

I work in research with human subjects, and there is no way this constitutes informed consent.

If Toyota wants to argue that the fine print spelled it out and it's her fault she didn't read it carefully enough, maybe they can win the case through legalistic hairsplitting. But if they buried it in fine print and incomprehensible language, they're jerks no matter what.

But they're making a much broader claim if they're calling it informed consent. Informed consent means that she comprehended what was going to happen to her as a result of agreeing. In other words, "informed consent" isn't just a statement about the objective content of the opt-in statement -- it's an assertion about the state of mind of the person who gave consent. If she had truly given informed consent, then not only would she have no legal claim, but she'd have no moral claim either (because she'd have known what she was getting into). But it's blindingly obvious that that isn't true here.

Re:"Informed consent" = no way (2, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 years ago | (#29762359)

I work in research with human subjects, and there is no way this constitutes informed consent.

Hah! I am Vwerd from the Planet Klwrhaz, and I also work with human subjects. That is why we will insert a small device in your visual cortex which flashes pictures of naked supermodels. Dare you require informed consent?

Re:"Informed consent" = no way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762571)

I am Anonymous Coward from the planet Troll and I also work with human subjects. We insert a small device in your anus because you enjoy it.

Fuckkk off, Jew (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762483)

That little bastard that stole is kike father's balloon is fucking dead.

That kid is nothing more than a smear on the pavement now.

Re:"Informed consent" = no way (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 5 years ago | (#29762497)

It shouldn't even be an issue.

Why should consent be considered permanent?

Shouldn't I reserve the right to revoke consent at any time?

Re:"Informed consent" = no way (0)

BobMcD (601576) | about 5 years ago | (#29762575)

Have you seen what she agreed to? I have not, but I assume they put something in front of her and she clicked through it. Without knowing what it actually said, there's a really good chance that Toyota is in the clear on this one. They may well have actually, literally said they would be scaring the crap out of her in the near future. This would have worked because there's no way in hell most people actually read that stuff well enough to agree to it.

Legally speaking, I don't think she's required to comprehend it. All that's required is that she SAY she comprehended it, as included in agreeing to it. That and the document needs to withstand scrutiny after the fact, she needs to be a competent adult, etc.

I agree that they are jerks. They likely agree, too. It says in TFA that this was intended to 'go after' resistant subjects. I get the impression they lowered their standards into jerk-dom because they perceive their targets as jerks as well. This isn't in doubt...

Re:"Informed consent" = no way (0)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 5 years ago | (#29762675)

FTA: Toyota's lawyers claimed Duick signed the written legal agreement...

From you: I have not, but I assume they put something in front of her and she clicked through it.

This is what I want to know: Does clicking a link = signing a paper contract.

Did she ever sign something, with a pen and her written signature? Or was it a click box saying yes? If it is the latter, then I hope that the court doesn't consider that signing.

Re:Yep (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 5 years ago | (#29762465)

What if you kept getting phone calls.. that said:

I'm coming for you.. in a mysterious raspy voice, at all times of the day.
That would be a clear cut case of stalking and instilling fear.

That depends. I am currently getting a steady stream of 'updates' about a particular organism that is also supposedly out there trying to get me. The authors of this communication are undoubtedly attempting to use fear to get the desired response out of me.

Stalking or Flu awareness? Depends on the intent, I'd say, not the fear.

If I'm wrong, then we'd better put a stop to this whole 'Terror Level Brown' thing, too. Because that's all about inducing behavior through fear as well.

Since Toyota clearly never intended for someone to actually come within a reasonable distance of anyone, the 'stalking' was as fake as the person.

This puts us down to basic harassment, and lets face it, advertisers have gotten away with that crime for far too long to do much about it now.

Lost cause (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | about 5 years ago | (#29762601)

...but I think that a class action suit with everyone who got this incredibly lame marketing campaign isn't such a bad idea.

Actually it is. The lawyers will walk away with bulk of the money and the participants will each get $5 coupon off their next Toyota purchase. What should happen is the douche bags in Toyota get long jail time in pound-me-in-the-ass prison, things don't always happen the way they should...

Re:Yep (3, Insightful)

42forty-two42 (532340) | about 5 years ago | (#29762077)

When you sue, you ask for as much as you could ever possibly imagine to get. It doesn't mean you'll get that much; but you certainly won't get more than you ask for, so in the starting phases you just ask for the world. If she actually got $10 million, that'd be another matter.

Re:Yep (5, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | about 5 years ago | (#29762135)

"Yeah, you need $10 million to cover that" - Tell me then, how do you punish a company except by a fiscal penalty?

Re:Yep (2, Informative)

Wizel603 (1367631) | about 5 years ago | (#29762255)

how do you punish a company except by a fiscal penalty?

you get an article put up on a major news site that features the company name and alludes that they've been stalking their customers.

Re:Yep (1)

mweather (1089505) | about 5 years ago | (#29762447)

So free publicity is a punishment now?

Re:Yep (1)

Wizel603 (1367631) | about 5 years ago | (#29762597)

So free publicity is a punishment now?

if you believe the salesman mantra of, "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

Re:Yep (1)

selven (1556643) | about 5 years ago | (#29762671)

Wait, so if you were an established well-known corporation you would WANT to get associated with cyberstalking? That kind of publicity is only effective for obscure small companies, and even then not very well.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762663)

This is a major news site?

Re:Yep (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29762285)

What is the money amount going to punish? They just calculate it into marketing budget.

You need something else than will actually punish the companies. Otherwise they just calculate the Return On Investment and include that in to them. And individuals will come and try to sue hoping an easy way to get rich (after hearing about the women who drop hot coffee on herself and sued McDonalds because they didnt warn *coffee* was *hot*)

Re:Yep (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762403)

The judge that ruled on this was the biggest moron ever. How he passed the bar with no brain is beyond me.

Re:Yep (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 years ago | (#29762549)

It's not the simple. Taking an 10 million dollar hit inpacts the stocks, and in fact their market values can drop by MORE then 10 million dollars. This impacts bonuses of the top executives.

"sued McDonalds because they didn't warn *coffee* was *hot*"

that's not true at all. They intentionally kept it hotter then needed to be in order to maximize there profit, and they had ignored at least 2 warning to stop keeping it that hot.

And she did not get rich.

Re:Yep (4, Informative)

jayke (1531583) | about 5 years ago | (#29762303)

One solution is to apply the very same punitive penalty, but award the punitive part of it to a fund/charity. In essence, whenever a major company causes somebody harm, that person is eligible to receive whatever amount is considered reasonable depending on the damages. In addition to that, the company is also fined an amount that is relative to its size and financial status, simply as a form of punishment. The latter amount never comes in contact with the victim.

What this does is ensure that company's are probably punished for causing harm, but removes the incentive to sue for enormous amounts for trivial issues (or not-so-trivial issues that don't justify $X million). This system is relatively common, and it always surprised me that people find it reasonable that the amount of damages awarded should be relative to the offenders ability to pay - Not primarily the crime itself.

Re:Yep (1)

spun (1352) | about 5 years ago | (#29762311)

Corporate death penalty. Revoke their charter, sell off their assets, pay the shareholders something, dissolve the business. In this case, a penalty is fine, but if the company kills a bunch of people, kill the company.

Re:Yep (1, Insightful)

eln (21727) | about 5 years ago | (#29762555)

While that certainly would fulfill our baser desires for revenge, it would have a ton of consequences for a lot of innocent people. You would be putting tens of thousands of people out of work because something only a tiny fraction of them had anything to do with, or any knowledge of.

Start with AECL (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | about 5 years ago | (#29762631)

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Therac-25 [wikipedia.org] killed 3 people and maimed 3 others. Until AECL were forced by their customers to deal with their piss-poor attitude towards patient safety, they were all too happy to blame it on "operator error" (save for the first accident, for which a "faulty microswitch" got the blame with ZERO objective analysis).

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762639)

I think a better idea would be 'no advertising from this company in the united states for a period of at least 2 years and another year of probation' plus a monetary penalty. That would fit the crime.

Re:Yep (2, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | about 5 years ago | (#29762345)

I think a week in jail for the VP of marketing will do much more. But a week is probably all this is worth.

Re:Yep (1)

sidnelson13 (1309391) | about 5 years ago | (#29762547)

What about creating a law that prohibits marketing companies from creating any type of campaign that doesn't inform the target that it is marketing?

In the same way that cigarettes are not allowed to be sold without the health disclaimer.

It would turn out to be much more effective to prohibit, punishable by law, this kind of behavior from marketing companies than ENCOURAGE the company to not do it again by fiscal penalty. That's because if that marketing actually generated, say, $50 million in revenue for the company, even if we make them pay the highest possible amount of $10 for this lawsuit, where's the guarantee that they wouldn't do it again?

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762139)

Its my understanding that most lawsuits like this end in settlements (if they dont push it to court) for 10% of the suing value (1 million in this case).

Is that the norm, and why people sue for as much as they do?

Re:Yep (1)

D. Taylor (53947) | about 5 years ago | (#29762229)

No. Cases end in settlements for an amount that both parties agree to. If you sue for $100 trillion that does not mean any settlement will be for $10 trillion. If the company you are suing thinks your case is entirely frivolous they might not settle at all. Or they might agree to settle for 75%, or 1%, or whatever they think is reasonable. On the other hand the company is not going to settle for MORE than you sue for, aiming higher is obviously a good idea. But I think the courts have a dim view of people grossly inflating their claims for no reason.

Re:Yep (5, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | about 5 years ago | (#29762161)

This also makes me wonder; maybe she had something to hide because she got so scared?

Agreed, a normal person who'd never done anything wrong would obviously assume an anonymous stranger threatening them was playing a prank on behalf of a large company. The vast majority of stalking cases are like that, and innocent people are never targeted by crazy people for no reason.

Seriously though, WTF are you talking about?

Re:Yep (4, Funny)

Thruen (753567) | about 5 years ago | (#29762175)

Obviously you've yet to interact with the mysterious beings known as "women" or you'd realize that the typical woman has fragile emotions. Imagine that they did this to your mother, or grandmother, and how they would react. I honestly can't even continue because frankly, it's making me mad that people like you are out there convincing any possible alien observers that we're still to stupid to handle a formal greeting.

Re:Yep (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 5 years ago | (#29762353)

Fear sells. The media's been doing it forever. Do you all really believe that you're going to die from the same fucking flu you've been getting (and living through) almost every Winter in your entire life?!

Suburban housewives and other miscellaneous yuppies can be frightened into buying and voting for anything. From the Wikipedia article about Megan's law, shortened for clarity:

A...study by Kristen Zgoba Ph.D., Philip Witt Ph.D., Melissa Dalessandro M.S.W., and Bonita Veysey Ph.D. found that Megan's Law has no effect on community tenure (i.e., time to first re-arrest), showed no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual re-offenses, has no effect on the type of sexual re-offense or first time sexual offense (still largely child molestation/incest), and has no effect on reducing the number of victims involved in sexual offenses. Moreover costs associated with the initial implementation as well as ongoing expenditures continued to grow over time...The authors feel that given the lack of demonstrated effect of Megan's Law on sexual offenses, the growing costs may not be justifiable. Philip Witt is a psychologist and the co-principal author of the study who helped implement Megan's Law in New Jersey.[6]

Re:Yep (0, Flamebait)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | about 5 years ago | (#29762189)

A Los Angeles woman is suing Toyota for *$10 MILLION* over a marketing campaign that she claims "punked" her into incorrectly believing she was being stalked.

She even made her longtime boyfriend sleep with a club and mace next to the bed for protection.

Yeah, you need $10 million to cover that. Only in USA.

This also makes me wonder; maybe she had something to hide because she got so scared?

Leave it to some asshole to say this is an endemic problem with being a citizen of the USA. Maybe opting in to receive advertisements from Toyota is a little different than signing up for a stalkeresque marketing assault. By your logic, it would be completely within my legal rights to personally visit every single person on my opt-in advertising distribution group, and punch them in the face as a part of my new "ad campaign", then when they sue me and press assault charges I can simply claim they opted-in so they have no legal recourse.

People like you, making comments like these, are the reason people like me consistently tell you that a) you are really a fucking asshole, b) you clearly belong in totalitarian, egalitarian, corporatist or socialist society which the US is not, and finally c) if you're this big of a piece of shit and you live in the US, GET THE FUCK OUT and stop trying to change our country into some European colony (I know, the irony...)

Re:Yep (1)

zn0k (1082797) | about 5 years ago | (#29762271)

stop trying to change our country into some European colony (I know, the irony...)

I wonder where in the hell you get the idea that this is acceptable behavior in Europe.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762349)

And you got all this from him saying "Only in USA"?

Re:Yep (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | about 5 years ago | (#29762665)

Oh man... while that post certainly flames on, it makes some decent points. Someone mod it up?

Re:Yep (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 5 years ago | (#29762191)

Yeah, you need $10 million to cover that. Only in USA.

Well, you need enough to hurt the plaintiff. You need enough to clearly and unambiguously convey the message "Never ever EVER do that again".

I don't think $10 million is going to be enough, but it's a good start.

BTW, your choice of emphasis in your quote of TFA is most peculiar. Was there a point you were trying to, but utterly failed to, make?

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762273)

$10 million, that's assuming she even gets the full amount, is something that Toyota makes ever 30 minutes. It amounts to .005% of their total yearly revenue.

Re:Yep (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29762437)

$10 million, that's assuming she even gets the full amount, is something that Toyota makes ever 30 minutes. It amounts to .005% of their total yearly revenue.

Exactly. It doesn't hurt them in any way - it's just counted in the marketing budget - but the person thinks she has an easy way to get rich.

Re:Yep (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about 5 years ago | (#29762553)

Well, you need enough to hurt the plaintiff. You need enough to clearly and unambiguously convey the message "Never ever EVER do that again".

I don't think $10 million is going to be enough, but it's a good start.

No, the reason she asked for $10M was because Toyota is a huge company. If a small business did the same thing she wouldn't likely be suing at all or she'd be suing for a damn sight less. In fact, if it was a small company it's more likely that the police would be filing criminal charges which I believe Toyota deserves but of course won't get.

And I never did understand why it is up to the first person filing a civil lawsuit to "send a message". That's total BS. They don't want to send a message...THEY WANT CASH! Sending a message is just an excuse to add a few zeroes to the claim and the deeper the pockets the better. The only place for "sending a message" is in criminal court and class action lawsuits. Anything else is opportunistic greed.

Re:Yep (-1, Troll)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | about 5 years ago | (#29762247)

Oh, and how European is it to assume her fright is solely because of her alleged illegal activity? FFS comments like these make me hate Europeans regardless if the poster is actually European. Please, please come take away our guns and please tell me that my fear is caused by my non-compliance with the established laws. I will be one of the dead men that you will be prying a gun from my cold hands.

I'm over 35 (5, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29762061)

Saatchi & Saatchi told the marketing magazine OMMA last year that it had developed the campaign to target men under 35 who hate advertising.

I'm over 35 and I really hate advertising now. If I did something like this, I'd be in jail awaiting trial, my name would be smeared all over the place, and my life as I know it would be over - even Saatchi & Saatchi wouldn't hire me.

Toyota? Nothing.

Saatchi & Saatchi? They'll probably get more business because the dipshit MBAs will think that "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

Assholes.

Re:I'm over 35 (5, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#29762129)

Lawyers are suing marketers for trying to out-douche them.

Re:I'm over 35 (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 5 years ago | (#29762293)

Saatchi & Saatchi? They'll probably get more business because the dipshit MBAs will think that "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

I had forgotten the existence of the Toyota Matrix until I read this article.

When it comes to brand recognition, there IS no such thing as bad publicity. Brand association, on the other hand...

I'll be buying a commuter car in the next year. I was leaning toward a small Honda anyway -- but this gives me one more reason to not buy a Toyota.

That said, when it comes down to it, it'll be about prices and reviews anyway. And if this article helped me remember that Toyota offers a commuter car, then the PR campaign worked.

Re:I'm over 35 (2, Interesting)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 5 years ago | (#29762573)

And if this article helped me remember that Toyota offers a commuter car, then the PR campaign worked.

I already new that Toyota makes cars of all sorts -- is there anyone in an industrialized nation that does not know that? I did not know that they found it acceptable to engage in psychopathic behavior.

I've owned a Toyota before and was happy with it. I was considering a Matrix when my Impreza gives up the ghost -- but that is no longer an option, at least not unless Toyota apologizes and makes amends for such outrageous behavior.

Re:I'm over 35 (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 5 years ago | (#29762449)

Saatchi & Saatchi? They'll probably get more business because the dipshit MBAs will think that "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

The people in advertising firms make MBAs look well-grounded in reality by comparison.

Re:I'm over 35 (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#29762513)

Those girls are hot, though. Crazy, but hot.

Re:I'm over 35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762595)

How about negative advertising? They know you hate ads, therefore company X pays for ads for company Y to be directed at you.

Re:I'm over 35 (2, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | about 5 years ago | (#29762621)

I think Toyota should be issued a restraining order to never contact this person again. Next time a flyer with a Toyota ad in it arrives at her door...jail time for the execs.

Seriously though, people in the company need to be held personally accountable. As you pointed out, litigation clearly isn't effective to prevent companies from doing things like this.

The Toyota and Saatchi marketing directors really should be dealt with as if they had stalked this woman. Similarly, those responsible for IKEA's "let's spray paint 'this space could be beautiful' on public and private property" campaign should be formally charged with vandalism.

Re:I'm over 35 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762681)

Well, I don't like it either. But unfortunately, to them either good or bad publicity IS publicity.
"There you go Toyota, you have a front page article on ABC News and Slashdot."

I'm not pretty sure how it'll work out, but I'm positive someone is going to find a good opportunity from this other than the distressed woman.

Opted In (5, Funny)

inglishmayjer (1417713) | about 5 years ago | (#29762083)

Yes! I'd like to receive death threats, disturbing messages, and other items of a stalking nature from Toyota Motor Corporation.

Re:Opted In (3, Funny)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | about 5 years ago | (#29762123)

Could be worse, Apple could be threatening you with replacing all your operating systems with Windows ME.

Re:Opted In (0)

idontgno (624372) | about 5 years ago | (#29762417)

But, the difference is that Apple fanbois would willingly sign up to that or worse, as long as Saint Steve asked.

Well, maybe not Windows ME, but they did agree to Snow Leopard. That's in the same ballpark.

Re:Opted In (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762635)

Well, maybe not Windows ME, but they did agree to Snow Leopard. That's in the same ballpark.

Ha, funniest thing I've seen on Slashdot in ages.
You are unquestionably a twat.

Re:Opted In (5, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29762457)

Apple has been running a very creepy campaign recently where they get people in berets to sit in corner shops with Macs and sneer at potential customers.

Oh, sorry, I've just been informed that that wasn't a marketing effort at all, those were just regular Mac users.

Re:Opted In (1)

bcmm (768152) | about 5 years ago | (#29762209)

It seems that it was just a general "receive spam from us" opt-in. Toyota apparently believes that if you give somebody your number, you're asking for them to stalk you.

Re:Opted In (1)

captainbeardo (868266) | about 5 years ago | (#29762223)

Me too! Anything to get $250 of that sweet Yaris I've had my eye on down at the dealership.

Re:Opted In (1)

schon (31600) | about 5 years ago | (#29762321)

Anything to get $250 of that sweet Yaris

So, you're saying you want one of the wheels off it? Why don't you want the whole thing?

Re:Opted In (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 5 years ago | (#29762629)

Oddly enough, there's a chance that this was actually contained in the click-through agreement.

I'd like to see it.

Prosecute them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762095)

Ah, marketers. Scum of the earth.

Screw lawsuits, whoever approved that marketing campaign should be prosecuted.

Is it April 1st Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762113)

First I read a story in the NYT that said the Saudis are demanding compensation from other countries that want to cut back on fossil fuels. Now I hear a major company is sending strange messages to people and using some bullshit legal fuckmenot babblecrap to justify it?

It's like we're in permanent April 1st mode. Did someone at the World Brain Organization forget to turn the dials?

Advertising these days... (5, Interesting)

vekrander (1400525) | about 5 years ago | (#29762133)

Advertising gets weirder and weirder. I don't understand how this is supposed to get someone to buy a car. The only thing I could think of is she didn't had a car so maybe she's supposed to buy a Toyota so she can get the hell away? I think it's lost on me.

Re:Advertising these days... (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | about 5 years ago | (#29762401)

It's not designed to get the stalkee to buy cars. It's designed to get the friend that set them up to buy cars. The friend is now in collusion with Toyota, they share a dirty little secret, they're friends now...

Re:Advertising these days... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 years ago | (#29762603)

Behold, all you unwashed, the spectacles of "service economy". What you expect? We can't all be scientists and engineers and film producers.

Re:Advertising these days... (1)

fireball84513 (1632561) | about 5 years ago | (#29762625)

I think it's less to do with creating a good image of Toyota and more to do with getting people thinking about Toyota. Just look at the hype this stupid prank has created. If some guy out there is thinking of buying a car but hasn't the first clue of what he should get, he will probably see this story in the news and the next thing you know he will be thinking "Toyota" the rest of the day and might actually get one.

I don't understand advertising (4, Insightful)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 5 years ago | (#29762137)

How does this in any way make anyone want to buy a Toyota?

I get that companies all want to 'push the envelope' these days so you see them over the competition, but this is just ridiculous.

I guess that's another benefit to marking every email I don't recognise as spam.

Re:I don't understand advertising (5, Funny)

mshannon78660 (1030880) | about 5 years ago | (#29762239)

Maybe they were hoping for Stockholm syndrome to set in?

deception psychology experiment waiver (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#29762149)

This reminds of a psychology experiment a few decades ago, where the consent form was something like:

I agree to *insert a bunch of things here* including "I agree to be deceived."

Then you became the subject of an experiment that appeared to be one of the other things, but in reality, you were being deceived as part of the experiment.

Re:deception psychology experiment waiver (3, Interesting)

pz (113803) | about 5 years ago | (#29762647)

This reminds of a psychology experiment a few decades ago, where the consent form was something like:

I agree to *insert a bunch of things here* including "I agree to be deceived."

Then you became the subject of an experiment that appeared to be one of the other things, but in reality, you were being deceived as part of the experiment.

I'm a behavioral scientist. An experimentalist. When working with behaving subjects one of the things that's harder than anything else is to understand the experiment that you performed. This was brought home during a lecture I saw being given by a very senior faculty member who was describing an experiment that didn't seem to have gone very well at all. After reviewing the not very encouraging and somewhat confusing results, he said, "it took us quite some time to realize that although we had designed and performed this experiment in good faith, the experiment we ACTUALLY had done was quite different than what we intended." The difference was one of how the subjects had interpreted the non-verbal instructions. Viewing the results in the new radically different light made far more sense. Sometimes, it's the experimenter who is the one being deceived!

Re:deception psychology experiment waiver (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762669)

That kind of clause is necessary for a lot of good science...can't do proper medical trials without a placebo.

Is this for real? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 5 years ago | (#29762151)

Or am I swept up in an extremely elaborate episode of Punked?

Its really getting to the point that I can't tell anymore.

Person's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762163)

let's say she is due something - my bet is loss of work productivity is not worth $10M - surely this value has to be justified somehow?

Read the damn EULA (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762167)

Not to be pedantic, but it's all right there in the EULA. See below (emphasis mine):

Limitation on Scope of Content
The Toyota Web site, toyota.com, contains information regarding Toyota and its products and promotional programs. The Toyota vehicles described on this site contain uniquely American specifications and equipment and are offered for sale only in the continental U.S.A. The promotional programs described on this site are only available in the continental US and may be limited to particular states as described by the program. All pricing information referred to on this site is in U.S. dollars.

No Representation or Warranty
Toyota reserves the right to modify the information contained on this site at any time without notice. While Toyota makes all reasonable efforts to ensure that all material on this site is correct, accuracy cannot be guaranteed and Toyota does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of any information contained on this site. By viewing this site, you agree to release and indemnify Toyota from all legal responsibility arising from sending you emails, hiding in bushes outside your house, picking through your trash and dry-humping your dog, cat and/or hamster(s). This site and all information and materials contained herein, is provided to you as is without warranty of any kind.

Re:Read the damn EULA (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 5 years ago | (#29762643)

I knew I should have read the fine print. They had no right to do that to my weasel... Poor Whiskers...

targeted marketing (1)

bugi (8479) | about 5 years ago | (#29762179)

Is this what we can expect from targeted marketing, now that They have more information on each of us than we do of ourselves?

Here is How to Stop This Kind Of Trash: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762235)

By replying to this message, you hereby agree that you will never buy any kind of Toyota vehicle ever again. Forever.

Possible CAN SPAM implications (4, Interesting)

Shishio (540577) | about 5 years ago | (#29762269)

So either she didn't see the opt-out links or address of the company, or the email didn't have these. Unless they got really creative with the opt-in, this sounds like a violation of the CAN SPAM act. A $10M lawsuit from one woman is the least of their worries.

Dear Toyota Marketing (3, Insightful)

jim_v2000 (818799) | about 5 years ago | (#29762281)

What the fuck?

Props to Toyota as long as the Formula holds true (1)

ViennaSt (1138481) | about 5 years ago | (#29762343)

Creative marketing scores free publicity from a major news network (which will be copied by another, another I'm sure.) Most companies might pay 10 million for that. Applying the (Durden) formula -

A new marketing campaign built by my company punks people over the email. Someone gets offended, looses sleep even, and decides to sue for damages. But, the new marketing strategy also spreads word of mouth, people go check it out sign up, stories get posted on major new sites that ones that post stuff that matters.
Now:
should Toyota initiate a recall of their marketing campaign? Take the number of punked ads in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, Toyota doesn't do one. (ie. If the cost of potential mitigation over crazy lawsuits is still less then the revenue generated from increased public awareness of their product-ego-props to Toyota.)

Re:Props to Toyota as long as the Formula holds tr (1)

Zantac69 (1331461) | about 5 years ago | (#29762633)

The Durden formula would have to be modified and simplified to:

If the total cost of out-of-court settlements, is less than value of publicity that results in increased sales, Toyota doesn't do one.

Unfortunately for Toyota - people checking out this ad are likely all going "WTF was Toyota thinking - and how would this relate to selling a damn car? The ad execs must be cracked!"

IMNSHO, $10M (which I would feel is justified since that is the only way you make corporations hear you) >> the publicity that translated to new car sales.

So it was okay because it was fake? (2, Insightful)

Megane (129182) | about 5 years ago | (#29762357)

Tell that to people who pull out a fake gun when robbing a bank, or when confronted by a cop.

Scared? (-1, Troll)

Alarindris (1253418) | about 5 years ago | (#29762373)

What is with the 'victimization' culture these days?

Grow a pair and just ignore it, or call the cops if you're really that scared of junk mail.

I think if she isn't in some sort of self defense class now, the court should throw her case out as she obviously wasn't scared enough to change anything about her life. Seriously, if she was ACTUALLY scared of some random person from Europe, what about the thug around the corner? Surely she'd want to learn to protect herself.

But of course she won't because she wasn't actually scared.

She's just as pathetic as the advertising company IMHO.

Re:Scared? (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | about 5 years ago | (#29762609)

Uh... they created a MySpace page with all her details! I'm not really surprised she freaked out.

Oh, incidentally, as she's a female I don't think she really needs to "grow a pair".

work performance (3, Funny)

wealthychef (584778) | about 5 years ago | (#29762387)

she suffered sleeplessness, poor work performance...

Unanswered question: how was her work performance before the emails? Was it really that much worse?

Really? (2, Insightful)

RsJtSu (569959) | about 5 years ago | (#29762391)

This is wrong on so many levels. Next we will have companies sending us letters from Nigeria telling people they have millions of dollars and all they need to do to get it is to buy a new car. I for one am sick of companies using deceitful(all advertising is) tactics to trick/scare/lure people to their products and then when they get caught they use the "but its advertising so its OK!" line. If they would have made it clear that it was from a company and it was an advertising campaign(yes it would lose its intended effect) then I think it would be a bit different. But for them to make it appear as though a real person was traveling overseas who was in legal trouble was coming to visit a person is incredibly wrong.

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

RsJtSu (569959) | about 5 years ago | (#29762489)

I also think that it is funny that they stated in the article that this marketing campaign failed....but they use pretty words like "It did follow our projected timeline."

LOL

$10M - Sounds a bit Low (4, Insightful)

gpronger (1142181) | about 5 years ago | (#29762433)

I'm not quite sure how you'd word an "Op-In" agreement that would effectively cover this; "I consent to receive life threatening emails, harassed, etc."?

In other words anything that would, in plain English, explain what you were agreeing to, no one would sign.

And regarding $10M, though this may seem like a lot of money, the point to this type of suit is deterrent, and at $10M, I doubt that it is.

The Game (1)

IorDMUX (870522) | about 5 years ago | (#29762479)

Reading things like this, I am often reminded of The Game [wikipedia.org] , though the film describes an 'interaction' which is on a totally different level than these e-mails and faux web pages.

... I always wondered what the legal consequences would have been of a Game ... er... "gone bad". What protection does the law provide for a person who signs an endless legalese document without reading it, thus opting in to something well over their heads?

Uhh, more info? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 5 years ago | (#29762507)

I read this before but haven't seen jack shit in terms of details. What was in the actual mail? Was it obviously fake/advertising or was it real-seaming? Why anyone would pay attention to random shit they get in email I'll never know, but does anyone have a link to the actual mails?

Is your husband home? (2, Funny)

jeffyboz (1027792) | about 5 years ago | (#29762525)

Here's their IM campaign: toyotamarketing: *heavy breathing* ambermate: who the hell is this? toyotamarketing: what are you wearing? ambermate: i'm calling the police toyotamarketing: is your husband home? ambermate: 9-1-1 toyotamarketing: they can't stop me, i'm driving a prius with the all new Pre-Collision System ambermate: you crazy f%^k, i have a shotgun toyotamarketing: i have Driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System ambermate: FUCK OFF!!!!!!!!! toyotamarketing: lol--tell you what? i won't come over if you come down to the dealership tomorrow... i'll make you an offer you can't refuse ;-)

Hooliganism (0)

sweatyboatman (457800) | about 5 years ago | (#29762627)

A young, british male wandering around the US, lamenting on his MySpace page that there's no good soccer?

Not sure where the plug for the car was supposed to be, but I am betting this was supposed to be targeted towards fanatical soccer fans (pardon my redundancy).

The quotes in the article make it sound like the guy is touring around the country and maybe looking for places to crash. Perhaps with sympathetic fellow soccer lovers.

Unless there are some quotes that weren't included in the article, I'd say the menace this woman felt when reading these emails was entirely of her own making.

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