Video blogger Nate “Blunty” Burr has admitted that he was in on a marketing stunt for BlackBerry when he shot a video of the “Wake Up” protest at Sydney’s Apple Store which has now gone viral.
Blunty – who is one of YouTube’s most subscribed Australian bloggers with more than 180m views to date – gave the impression in the video that he was at the George Street store by coincidence.
However, he has now admitted that he had signed a non disclosure agreement before the event and an agency working for BlackBerry’s parent company RIM had organised for him to be there. He insists he was not paid.
The Wake Up campaign – now revealed to have been masterminded by agency Tongue – raised intrigue when an ad went up on news websites on Anzac Day with a link to a countdown website. Mumbrella wrongly linked it to a similar countdown site in the UK for the Samsung Galaxy and embedded Blunty’s video after it featured on the Bannerblog website.
In the video, Blunty told his viewers: “I was in the Apple Store having a poke around.” He claimed he had “stumbled across” a microphone accessory and decided to buy it and immediately try it out. “So I’m outside the store when… all of a sudden a big black bus pulls up, a bunch of people dressed in black pour out of bus with protest signs and they start screaming ‘Wake up’.
“I had my camera out, I was testing the microphone out and I thought ‘why not?’
He also claimed he was “kicked out” of the Apple Store.
Despite knowing the campaign had nothing to do with Apple, he suggested in the video “Perhaps its some form of guerrilla marketing for a new Siri feature.” Siri is the virtual assistant feature on the Apple iPhone.
The video – which has now accumulated nearly half a million views – was then picked up globally as Apple fan sites debated the relative merits of Samsung and Apple offerings.
On Monday, Samsung denied it was behind the campaign.
On Tuesday, BlackBerry confirmed it was behind the campaign after the website Mac Talk discovered code on the countdown site linking it to the brand.
On Wednesday Blunty uploaded a new video admitting he was in on the stunt.
He suggested that some of those who joined the debate were “colossal morons and trolls and backbiting little bitches.”
Addressing the question of how he had happened to be at the Apple Store, Blunty said “Rightly so – you should be suspicious.”
He described as “bullshit” a suggestion that he had previously worked for BlackBerry.
“Yes I was involved in it. No I wasn’t paid to be a shill for Blackberry. They came to me about a week before the whole thing kicked off and said ‘Sign this NDA’…
“I wasn’t sent out to spread any particular message. All they wanted was exposure and that’s why they tipped me off.
“It’s working because they’ve got a whole lot of attention now.”
He also contradicted a couple of claims he made in the first video. Rather than stumbling upon the microphone, he said he had intended to go to the store to get it anyway. And he said that he was not in fact kicked out of the store.
He added: “I never lied. I never claimed I was there by coincidence.”
“If you think I’m a shill for BlackBerry, so be it… and you can bugger off.”