Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Crop Circle Marketing

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A few months ago a huge and very nice formation appeared in Chungnam Boryoung City, South Korea, which could be the first “crop circle” in the country. Now it turns out it was part of the marketing campaign for the new album of local singer Seo Tai-ji:

Note how he actually call these a lie. There are some other clips of his marketing campaign on Youtube.

I saw this over on Francesco Grassi’s blog, of CICAP, who also posted about Mathew Williams’ 2001 reproduction of the 1995 Longwood Warren formation. People over at Crop Circle Connector think Williams’ reproduction seems to be proof human-made crop circles are clearly different from "authentic" formations, but they forget to mention how this is usually so only in retrospect. Just see how they presented the Koren formation.

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In Spain, just last month, several formations like the one above appeared around the country. They received a fair amount of media attention, and the inevitable references to a mystery. Spanish skeptic Luis Alfonso Gámez, on a tip from Eduardo Martinez, soon revealed that it was actually part of the viral marketing campaign for Bacard’s new "Seven Tiki" rum.

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It bothers me that these clear explanations of who and how these crop circles were created do not get as much attention as the first reports. It’s as if people prefer to be fooled by viral marketing than to expose these marketing ploys. For instance, people to this day debate the infamous 2002 alien disk formation:

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What they almost never mention is that that particular style used to create the alien face image, with a series of parallel lines with different thickness, was the real novelty here (even more than the giveaway use of ASCII code to bear a message).

And what they never tell you is that just a few weeks after this first appeared, the Circlemakers team applied the exact same technique in several commercial crop circles:

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The one above was for the Richard and Judy show, and they also made several ones for Orange. Note that the Circlemakers do take authorship for these commercial formations.

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