UPDATE 06/24/2013: NEW BLOG POST HERE:
UPDATE: The video was taken down from youtube, but a reddit user pointed out that it was reposted here. Also, my turner [at] aroundtheworldin80jobs (dot) com email is down, so please use turnerbarr [at] gmail (dot) com. So far, the company has not gotten in touch with me since this post went live. Check back frequently, more news coming soon.
My name is Turner Barr, the creator of AroundtheWorldin80Jobs.com, a site and web series I’ve poured my blood, sweat, tears, energy and money into for almost 2 years. Recently, I was both astonished and demoralized to find that my entire brand, image and web personality was swiped for use in a marketing campaign by some massive multi-billion dollar a year company, without ever being asked for permission or acknowledged. The video for their marketing campaign was particularly creepy for me, as even my age and personality didn’t escape the level of detail spent on creating this doppelganger (they used a paid actor of course).
This is not a new trend, and it can be seen in other recent cases of corporate insensitivity to the ideas of individuals, such as:
Imagine if this was your own idea, your passion project. Imagine if, early in John DiScala’s publishing career, his character Johnny Jet was swiped by some airline company. Or if you’re Michael Tieso of Art of Backpackingand you find out that a backpack company hijacked your blog name and style for their gain. Or if the image, name and brand of iconic fashion blogger Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist was co-opted by some fashion company earlier in his career. Our ideas have value, and corporations should be held to a standard of accountability, responsibility and integrity.
I haven’t been able to write a new post in over a month while dealing with this — my creative energy has been zapped. I’m no longer even the first thing that comes up when you Google my brand name. I’ve turned down work opportunities and put on hold any future travel job plans to deal with lawyers, long distance phone calls, corporate executives and other such nonsense — all along feeling misled and patronized. This situation has been extremely confusing for not only myself, but also for participants in company’s marketing campaign who message me thinking that I am am part of the company. With hard work I strived, and almost succeeded, in creating my dream job. I feel like my dream job has been taken from me in order for some company to promise it to others for corporate marketing gain. I have, to date, never been publicly acknowledged, compensated, credited, or apologized to, by this company. If you believe your brand ideas to be valuable and treated as such by everyone, especially corporations, please share this message in order to preserve the integrity of what we’re all doing. I believe this issue is much bigger than me — it’s about our community. Going forward we’re setting a precedent for how corporations view other young, independent online entrepreneurs like me or anyone with an idea to dream big. Holding them accountable is in all of our best interests. Tell the company behind the #80jobs campaign to #makeitright.
Turner C. Barr
Creator & Founder of Around the World in 80 Jobs