blog: the prettiest PR bunnies stuck in a spam trap

by Guy J Kewney | posted on 23 July 2006

There aren't very many PR thrashes in London which are famous in their own right - normally, journalists are really only interested in the client. But the annual parade of PlayBite Bunnies is the exception. Except... this year, they may go unnoticed.

The reason is simple: spam. The PlayBite invitation is a blank email. Now, why would anybody send out a blank email?

Good question!

PlayBite is an event. It's an annual one, and the "PlayBite" moniker is derived from the undoubted fact that the executives at Bite PR usually include more than their fair share of young women with nice figures (and, though this is beyond my competence, I'm assured that the young men meet the appropriate standards, too).

It's an exhibition, mostly of gadgets that will ship for the Christmas shopping season. It started out as a quasi-satire on the Playboy theme: get the agency's clients all together in a big room, remind the journalist community of the youth and beauty of the Bite staff, and see who shows up.

Answer: lots.

This year's invite refers to "the hottest technology innovations" and "the PlayBite Mansion" as usual - and it lists the clients as "3, Dolby, Samsung, Toshiba, Sonos, ViaMichelin, Vonage and others..." - and it's a safe bet that if it actually reaches the in-tray of the average gadget journo (youngish, male, susceptible) he will go. Pretty girls, toys... what else could you ask for?

Details, is what you could ask for. Venue, date, that sort of thing.

Presumably this year's thrash, August 17th, is in a smaller than usual venue, because Bite PR has apparently decided to make the invite a secret. Either that, or Bite has not heard of spam protection, because the invite is not text. It's a graphic.

About the first thing you do if you want to avoid some of the most obvious spams, is set your email client to display text only. Many email clients do this automatically, for the very simple reason that graphics are normally not embedded in the mail, but have to be downloaded from the host server - and this betrays the IP address of the machine.

So the PlayBite invitation appears as a completely blank email this year. At the bottom of the blank email, there is nothing to be seen except:

"No virus found in this incoming message. Checked by AVG Free Edition. Version: 7.1.394 / Virus Database: 268.10.3/394 - Release Date: 20/7/2006"


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