Written by: J. Xavier Marcus (“Very Small Doses”)
He was hard to miss, floating up and down the halls during the keynote addresses of Howard Lindzon, Creator of WallStrip and Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision3. He turned up in some of the smaller sessions throughout Friday and Saturday, but was also seen sitting at an empty table in the exhibit hall as well.
Some people speculated that he was special security for the expo, or perhaps even secret service or the FBI (given the twirly ear dongle he had on).
Those who were brave enough to approach him were offered a choice of 1 of 5 red envelopes, interestingly marked “CLASSIFIED.” It’s generally not known if all the envelopes contained the same message, or variations, but they made oblique references to a website, “Red-Monday.com,” and a password needed to access it: “Gabriel.”
Obviously a marketing stunt of some kind
But shortly after the 2nd keynote address on Saturday, several people saw Tim Bourquin, the Founder and CEO of the expo, approach and grab this “mystery agent” by the shoulder in the main hallway. Based on the tone of the conversation, it appeared that Tim was upset about what he was doing. The “agent” did, however, show up again later at the exhibit hall.
There, another group of people saw a different (unidentified) member of the expo staff approach the mystery man at his desk. By now, there were a conspicuous number of red envelopes in people’s hands, and some buzz floating around about the whole thing.
After a quick discussion with this new staff member, the agent was ejected from the expo floor and reported to security. The reason for these confrontations? According to Tim, he “frightened several women who were concerned enough to contact show management.” I guess one should never underestimate the power of a scary black man wearing reflective sunglasses, because there is no evidence he verbally or physically threatened anyone.
Of course he didn’t. I should know. The agent guy was me
Even after the expo ended, Tim has made it a point to follow me around the ‘net, informing me of how I am the “perfect example of marketing gone bad.”
He’s absolutely right. If you try a marketing stunt that gets enough attention from attendees and staff to have the expo organizer himself talking to you and helping to create buzz for you on the web… then you obviously failed miserably at your job. 😉