Monday, September 11, 2006

"Lonely Girl 15" real? Not sure, but it looks like a marketing ploy

Just An Online Minute... Jig Is Up For LonelyGirl's Creators

by Wendy Davis, Monday, Sep 11, 2006 2:15 PM ET

ONE OF THE BIGGEST WEB 2.0 stunts is hurtling towards its conclusion, as whoever's behind YouTube's newest starlet, the vlogger "LonelyGirl 15," appears poised to come clean. This spring, videos of "LonelyGirl 15," a supposedly home-schooled 16-year-old, surfaced on YouTube. She detailed her so-called life in a series of high-quality clips. "LonelyGirl," aka "Bree," made videos in which she spoke about her made-for-TV religious father, a lazy eye and her friend "Daniel."

But the popular videos--they racked up around 1.5 million views by the end of August--seemed fishy. The quality was just a little too good; the story arcs a little too Hollywood.

People began to wonder whether the videos were Web 2.0's first "Blair Witch" campaign--a promotional effort for a movie masquerading as user-produced content. But the very things that lent the 1999 "Blair Witch" campaign an air of authenticity--the grainy video and shaky camera work-- were suspiciously absent from the LonelyGirl 15 oeuvre.

By the end of August, the videos had been viewed around 1.5 million times, drawing worldwide media attention. The U.K. paper The Times ran a credulous article, "Worldwide fame for a lonely girl," which included an e-mail from Bree explaining that she found vlogging more fun than her usual routine, in which she found herself "stuck studying the Treaty of Versailles or Occam's razor." The article even included an expert weighing in with the opinion that people post video logs as a form of therapy.

Click here for more.

More on "Lonely Girl 15"

Advertising Age on Lonely Girl 15

Lonely Girl 15's YouTube (profile and videos)

Lonely Girl 15 on MySpace

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