How Not To Burn: Commodifying Burning Man

Some people just don’t get it. It is sad and upsetting for Burners when brands ignore our cultural expectations and try to pull marketing stunts on the playa, and worse yet when they pretend it’s not happening.  Due to diligent staffers and volunteers, we usually find and stop these marketing stunts, and protect our community, before the commodifiers make it into the city.

The scene. Photo by Peg Ortner.

But some slip through.  This year, one company tried literally to bottle up the Burning Man experience, and turned it into a product shoot. They amplified their marketing efforts by co-opting some major publications to publish articles with photographs that violate our core principles and media policies.  They knew what they were doing, but they did it anyway.   We are sharing this story in explicit detail in order to keep the community alert to these transgressions, and to deter others who are eyeing our event as a place to launch or promote products or companies.  Let us be clear: this is not the kind of marketing activity that raises brand value. Our culture just won’t tolerate it, and it often backfires. (Burners, remember this brand, and perhaps you’ll want to weigh this as you choose your next bottle of champagne.)

In this instance, Krug, a centuries-old luxury champagne house, and its publicity machine, staged and hosted an elaborate dinner party at the trash fence on Friday night of the 2011 event. Pre-event, Krug’s PR agency pitched members of the media to photograph and report on the staged dinner for publications such as Town & Country and W Magazine. They invited society bloggers to the “exclusive” champagne dinner with the expectation of getting even more coverage, and pro photogs to shoot it. And it worked.  The organizers of this event brought paid photographers to the playa and had them falsely register with Media Mecca saying they were there to cover general art and playa happenings, instead of telling the truth;  that they were there to act as representatives of Krug – obviously knowing that if they had told the truth, they would not have been allowed to photograph.   They then pulled the dinner off entirely under the radar, had the dinner covered both by their captive media and the general media, and managed to get product placement articles published.

My friends and I came across the scene of the dinner on our art car, The Slug, en route to explore the deep playa late on Friday night. We slowed down to check out the remains of what appeared to have been a fantastically fancy party staged on a long constructed dinner table, lit by large hurricane lanterns. The stained tables had empty water bottles and other party residue strewn about.  And it was right along the trash fence. What a great place for such a dinner, we marveled. But was anyone going to clean it all up? Not a soul was around.  Krug just took their commodified photos and left the mess for us.

After Burning Man, a few attendees at the dinner came forward to share their experience with this event. They told BMHQ that the organizers lured them there by saying that it was a “birthday party,” and that it took them until about halfway through the dinner to realize that they were being photographed drinking the Krug for fashion magazines.  Once they caught on, they left in disgust.

We later found evidence of who was behind this, and why.  First, the brand boasted of the event right on their Facebook page.

 

Ew. Just ew.

For the brand, this was just another fancy promotional dinner held in an exotic place. They provided cases of the champagne. Their representatives hired caterers and executed a bi-coastal PR effort to promote and obtain coverage for the event. Town & Country magazine took the bait and published a photo spread replete with product placement in the print version.

It’s hard to measure what’s worst about this situation, as the many clear boundaries that were blatantly ignored makes a pretty long list. Ironically, the reporter for Town & Country even cited the 10 Principles in his story – but if you know the 10 Principles, it’s obvious that Krug and its marketing minions cared not one iota about our values:

–       Radical inclusion-  perhaps some curious passersby were invited to join the dinner, but from the looks of it this was a VIP party held for people who are on the Krug VIP email list and participants of Zoo Camp who hosted the catering company and the “Krug Art Bus” (Yuck! A branded art car?)

–       Decommodification- It is made clear to the media that registers with Media Mecca, and indeed to every participant, that “commercial sponsorships, transactions or advertising” are not welcome at Burning Man. The photographer and writer sent from Town & Country obviously knew this, which explains why they failed to mention upon registration that they had been pitched by a PR agency to cover this blatantly commercial dinner event.

–       Leaving No Trace- the original ePlaya thread on this topic was posted by a random participant wondering who was behind the big “party mess on deep playa” – the same messy scene I saw that night. That the scene of the crime was left unattended and messy shows further disregard for this practical main principle on the playa.

–       Radical Self-Reliance- These people were provided with animal costumes, shuttled from Zoo Camp in the “Krug Art Bus” to the dinner, fed, offered expensive branded champagnes and shuttled back. It’s notable that there were several Ranger interactions regarding noise complaints about this same vehicle.

Don’t get me wrong; this is not a strategic slam against “the 1%” coming out to party on the playa. In fact, it’s awesome that all 100% of us can come together at the Burn and live it up, side by side; an extreme level of beautiful decadence is constantly being created and shared at Burning Man, whether involving $150 dollar bottles of champagne or not. I support that. This isn’t a rant against an upper crust scene at the event – radical inclusion, and all.  The problem is that the Burning Man experience was co-opted by a luxury brand for marketing purposes.  And I think they deserve to be called out.

Krug, its marketing team and the PR agency they retained for this project treated Burning Man as a backdrop, throwing just another exclusive party for their brand loyalists who were personally invited to attend, in order to create marketing material commodifying Burning Man.

The attitude here is easily summed up by a direct quote from the brand director at Krug who oversaw the dinner. When interviewed by the The New York Times and asked about Burning Man, Krug’s Carl Heline says, “It’s not that different than Fashion Week.” If Burning Man is no different than Fashion Week, Carl, you’re doing it wrong.

Burning Man allows media members to publish photographs in the weeks around the event, so long as they are published only for editorial purposes.  Branded articles and product placement do not fit within that permission.  After the event, we found that W Magazine had published a photo essay of the dinner.  We approached W Magazine about this transgression, and it had the good sense to take their photo essay on the dinner down.  But not before a whole rash of fashion and foodie blogs picked up the story (now all links to it are dead). And this was the story that was retweeted by the catering company and Krug’s corporate Twitter accounts. C’mon:

Krug Champagne @KrugChampagneUS: Beautifully captured thnx2 @heartforaneye RT: @TarynCoxTheWifeThe dinner I attended at Burning Man! AMAZING!wmagazine.com/parties/2011/0…

Town & Country Magazine contacted us post-event for photo review and permission.  By that time, we had found out that this was not a real Burning Man event, but a product placement story, and we refused permission for Town & Country to publish any photographs from the event. Sadly, they sent the story to press anyway, very much in violation of the photographer’s agreement with Burning Man which prohibited any such publication.  Unfortunately, the timing was too short for us to file a lawsuit against them enjoining the publication.  That’s what BMHQ does to prevent this type of commodification.

So this tactic has made Burning Man even more alert.  Town & Country is no longer welcome at the event, for their part in this subterfuge, and for their violation of the user agreement signed by their photographer.   If Burning Man participants refuse to buy Krug champagne because of this, there will be an economic cost to them, and others who try the same shehanigans.  Thanks to Krug and its merry band of lotus-eaters, Burning Man will crack down harder on any branded cars or camps it sees.

And all of you are necessary to protect our event.  My call to action: If you see suspicious marketing activities like this going on at the event, subtle or not, every participant should feel empowered to contact a Black Rock Ranger or any organizer to report the activity for investigation. Media Mecca is also here to help follow up on these occurrences, and you can report it if you see it post-event via press here: press (at) burningman.com . The organizers work hard to keep Burning Man from turning into another commercialized, sponsored event, and we’re grateful that most participants are willing to help keep eyes out for this unwanted activity.

 

Holding the line,

Evil Pippi
Evil Pippi, aka Candace Locklear, helped form the current Burning Man media team known on playa as Media Mecca in 1997 and remains a loyal participant.

 

 

About the author: Evil Pippi

Evil Pippi, aka Candace Locklear, found out about Burning Man from her cab driver upon moving to San Francisco from South Carolina in 1996. She ended up joining the then tiny media team to help form and grow Media Mecca and now owns a boutique tech PR firm. She loves Clowns and Santas, but not equally.

357 thoughts on “How Not To Burn: Commodifying Burning Man

  • I’m actually a little RELIEVED this was a stunt. When I came across the Town & Country article with the photos of the beautiful, well-groomed people in couturier costumes, I threw up a little in my mouth. While their methods were despicable, somehow a gross, deliberate violation of the principles seems better to me than a gradual erosion of them.

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  • taryncoxthewife.com has published the pics from this defiling of the event and continues to be quite proud of them.

    You might want to drop her a note and ask her not to come back to the playa. The hypocrisy in her piece is overwhelming.

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  • Total douchebaggery. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Burning Man has become so mainstream, there will be more of this.
    “The place has gotten so crowded, nobody goes there any more.”
    –Yogi Berra

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  • “If I EVER see this kinda shit happening while im there Im setting the crap on fire.”

    Thats what Paul Addis said.
    -and it didn’t stop anything.

    Its as pointless now to continue to expend energy clinging to finer and finer points of difference between official BMorg-approved commodification and other companies’ commodification as it is to continue to expend energy dragging all that stuff up that mountain.

    Burning Man became mainstream long ago. Let go, and do something new.

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  • Just wonder how this exclusive Kickstarter temple “reward” dinner on the playa is radically inclusive at $500.00 a pop.

    “Pledge $500 or more
    4 Backers • Limited Reward (16 of 20 remaining)

    An Invitation to a Celebration! Enjoy a once in a lifetime feast–dinner on the Playa with David, The Temple Crew and Rev. Billy Talen, Savatri D & the Church of the Stop Shopping Choir– a night to remember.
    Estimated Delivery: Aug 2012″

    Fundraising is OK? ….OY

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  • So that’s what that shindig was! I have photos of the aftermath and believe me, it was UGLY. I’ll be posting the photos on my (totally non-commercial) blog. Click on Foxfur above…

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  • a simple websearch on Krug and Burningman reveals the catering company who put the feast on, and left it all to blow away.. silkstonenyc.com/food/dinner-in-the-desert/
    Plan your parties appropriately.

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  • Oh please! You have created a product that has gone completely mainstream and now you are angry at people for doing something mainstream. Agree that leaving the trash behind is thoughtless but do you really think BM embodies the same principles it did 10 years ago? I would strongly say no. Its turned into a giant party drinking drugfest with some art and most people pretending to play along. Its not the same and never will be. Getting mad at people for using it as a backdrop for an ad is ridiculous. It happened because now everybody knows what BM is and its a good marketing idea. Get over it.

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  • Shame! I’m an educator who will not get to go to Burning Man until I retire, five years from now. Every year this event occurs on the first week back to school. This is not the week to miss, if you know what I mean . I am crossing my fingers that this wonderful opportunity will still be an option in 2017. As for Krug. I am an avid wine drinker and will not be purchasing from this company again.

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  • evil pippi (and andie grace, if you see this) –

    ive been waiting to see whether another concerning incident from bm 2011 is also discussed publicly. is there a good contact email to use to report an incident?

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  • Aw shit. We had no idea this was some commercial bullshit. We ended up there after making it to point three (that’s the far point in the 6:00, Man, Temple line) and seeing it far off down the fence like a glittering city. Except I knew there was nothing that was supposed to be there, and so we biked nearly a mile to it. Turned out to be this installation, which looked like a New Year’s party where everyone had left, complete with half eaten fake food. Ok, I was probably on something and I only poked at one plate and assumed it was all fake.

    I guess it was fake, all of it because if someone is going to set something like this up for a photoshoot, they aren’t likely for clean it all up. And because it wasn’t on the official Art map, it’s a bit more likely to have not been checked during Playa Restoration. I’m on that crew, and we take pride in what we do. But when someone sells out the event, they are selling out a lot of volunteers and low-paid crew.

    If a commercial entity wants to do a photoshoot in the Black Rock desert, they can get permits from the BLM to do so. They don’t need to exploit our efforts and community good will to do so.

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  • I think the original premise of BM being a brand, that can be protected, is ironic given the cultural norms of gifting and inclusion. All brands should be invited to spread the word and culture, at no cost, with proper guidance. Philosophy aside, it’s free advertising.

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  • Sent by me to Krug (and a similar one to Town & Country)

    RE: Your product in the Town & Country article, Social Network: People, Places & Parties – Desert Tribes / Burning Man 2011

    Krug Champagne,

    I am disgusted by your blatant disregard and commercial exploitation of the Burning Man Culture. You are the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. As if your shameful and uniformed representation of our unique and sacred gathering wasn’t bad enough, you furthered the insult by using it as a crass marketing platform.

    To engage in such activities in a place that not only clearly prohibits such behavior but also in a way that runs completely counter to the obvious sensibilities of the event and its participants displays a staggering level of disrespect.

    You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    You have ruined your brand to me. I will no longer be a consumer of your product (Ha! I haven’t had a drink in over 12 years! – ed). In addition, I will ACTIVELY encourage everyone I know and meet to boycott Krug.

    Sincerely,
    (my real name)

    Apologies to those who already saw this on the Burning Man facebook page.

    Hugs!

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  • Hi everyone,

    My name is Oli. I am the creator of the Zoo camp.

    I have been to BRC for the past four years. On my first year I was still living in France and heard about BM from friends in the US. That was 2007. At the time nobody in Europe knew about BM. On 2008 I finally hit the playa with 3 friends, knowing nothing about it. We discovered the playa, its amazing people and its values… a life changing experience.

    On my second year we decided to create a camp and share this experience with other Europeans who didn’t have a clue about BM. On that second year the camp had 75 members and 70 of them were virgins on the playa. Burners were saying we were crazy to bring so many virgins but everything happened perfectly… playa’s magic!

    On the third year the camp had 110 people, 60 virgins amongst them, and last year 130 people with at least 50 virgins. I mention this because I want to outline our passion for BM’s values and our passion to share these values with new people. Every year we have tried to bring more to the playa, more creativity, to give more time and energy.

    Now please allow me to clarify the incident that you are talking about as I think it is worth explaining. You have shared what you saw and felt, please let me share with you what really happened.

    Ben and Phil, two 27 years old amazing British guys who created a restaurant in New York (The Fat Raddish as you mentioned it), are our friends. They proposed to take care of the food of the camp, budget which has been divided within the camp members, as many other camps do. Everyday they prepared the food of our camp and also organized the dinner on Thursday night for my birthday. My birthday dinner on the Thursday night has been always been a tradition of our camp.

    Carl, who is also a friend for many years, proposed to bring champagne to celebrate my birthday. The champagne he brought was shared at the beginning of the dinner with everyone who was there. The dinner lasted all night and over 700 people joined what was a great night.

    Unfortunately it happened that Carl decided to publicize the fact of having bringing his Krug to the desert. When Carl offered to bring the champagne he clearly stated it would not be with any promotional intent. This has been done without Zoo’s approval. Had we known it was going to be used that way we would have refused it BIG TIME!!!

    And yes, I personally saw photographers who were friends of Carl and who were taking pictures all night. I never imagined pictures would be used for press. In fact it was only after BM, once we saw the article in the press, that we learned they were used in a commercial effort.

    In regards to the location, we were granted a permit for the construction of this incredible table at this location. Everything was cleaned up after the dinner and the rest was finished in the morning light. The only thing not removed immediately was the dinner table.

    The table was incredible, it was built by Phil who is a fantastic architect. On Friday afternoon, when we came to dismount it, it was being used by dozens of burners who were using it to have lunch and dinner so we left it there until the end of BM. Over four days hundreds of people used this beautiful table. Phil and Ben even received a medal from the BM organization for its construction.

    Now, how can you say that our Art cars were Krug art cars? Our Art Cars had nothing to do with Krug… nothing at all! They were built by the members of our camp, amongst them many burners who participated in the construction of the Waffle. That’s why it had the look with the wooden sticks that many people on the playa recognized.

    I am deeply sorry for this incident. What was supposed to be my birthday dinner gathering friends on the playa has ended up being used outside of BM for commercial purposes. This was completely unknown to me and to the Zoo and the concept of it is against our will. We are sorry and can only regret.

    However, I do not think the Zoo camp should be blamed as much. For 4 years the Zoo has integrated hundreds of virgins, coming mainly from Europe and the 4 corners of the world trying its best to promote the values ​​of Burning Man.

    Our camp is deeply in love with Black Rock and respect its values. To condemn hundreds of people who have participated in this camp because one person has crossed the borders seems very unfortunate.

    I am the creator of the camp. Blame me if you must, condemn me if you must, ban me if you must. I take full responsibility. But please, do not deprive the rest of our members. During the last 4 years they have brought happiness and color to BM and it would not do justice to put on them the blame created by the act of one person.

    We understand your concern, we agree and deeply regret that a border has been crossed. We have been living with it since last year and I tell you it has been a heavy burden on our shoulders.

    We have always striven to do our best for burning Man, but sorry to have fucked up on that one.

    PS: After four years and a lot of sweat for BM… I didn’t get tickets at the lottery this year…. maybe justice has already been done!

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  • Oli – see my comment, above – it seemed that it could be possible most of the camp didn’t know what was going on. Curious to hear more from you. Contact me at actiongrl@ this domain – let’s talk.

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  • Unimpressed… I came upon that party scene and new it just was not right. The setting was nice, but the photographers seemed too eager and my burny-sense was tingling in the negative. Fascinating piece of shittery.

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  • I totally agree with Andy Grace ! Those quick judgements are unfair … Krug as surely forced the rules of BM but who knows it was agreed with the zoo camp ? This dinner party even got awarded by BM’s founder himself ! STOP JUDGING THAT FAST IT’S DANGEROUS…

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  • Oli,
    I can appreciate that perhaps you and the rest of your camp mates had no idea that your friend intended to use your birthday for promoting his company. However, the party was NOT cleaned up. I came upon the party, similar to Tomcat – DPW, seeing the lights from afar. What I found was a very strange scene: the remnants of a dinner party. Empty Pellegrino bottles were strewn around (though interestingly not a single empty Krug bottle), broken glass, broken lanterns and paper napkins. Honestly, I felt like it could have been an art installation to make you feel like you just missed a great party. But the broken glass and the carelessness of how things were left made me think there must have been another story behind it. I’m sickened by the learning the real story behind it.

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  • Want to make this right Zoo? Its easy. Hire attorneys, and SUE THE SHIT out of Krug and this magazine for illegally publishing photos without signed consent forms. See how easy that is?

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  • Anyone see the new Absolut Vodka commercial? Totally Burny….sigh
    Oh well….
    this quote still rings high in my mind:
    “Time to take Burning Man to the world instead of the world to Burning Man”

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  • @Oli I’m just not buying it. I don’t think you were totally in on it, but claiming you were completely ignorant doesn’t feel right. For fucks sake people say there was crew trying to cast attractive burners to the party! Fess up and take more responsibility than that. Nobody is that dumb, I hope.

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  • BMORg now censoring this blog. Thanks Big Burner! My original post was deleted: “BMOrg upset someone is commodifying Burning Man? LOL! Hypocrisy at its best!”

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  • Oli — thank you for the explanation. As the self-stated camp organizer, you do bear a burden of responsibility for what happened, just as you bore the joy from all the good the camp did.

    Burning Man is a participatory event, with a long history of incredible projects, gifting, and of being a “bring it if you want it” event. In that vein, I suggest that you, your friends Carl and Phil, and your camp decide what you can do to apologize to the city at large for this occurrence.

    Don’t mouth empty apologies for 2011. Make it right in 2012. And do so in a manner which exemplifies the 10 principles which so many of us feel were selfishly, shamelessly violated.

    I would consider it an act of contrition if you donate skills, time, and energy and gift something incredible to the city: another table, perhaps, and champagne and meals provided to anyone who wanders up. And by “gift” I mean precisely that — no photo’s, no self-promotion, no sense of entitlement, no mention on Krug’s website. A gift freely given.

    Otherwise you have only yourselves to blame for the disdain and disregard for being nothing more than a talking head spouting mea culpas.

    Terry

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  • Oli, maybe not everyone in your camp knew, but how in the hell could someone with your background, with your experience, with your expertise in promotion/branding not see what was happening around you?

    You are neck deep in the cross promotional world of PR companies and websites in NYC (like https://www.thecools.com/) and party clubs in France doing business/cross marketing events with Moet Hennessy http://www.institutbonheur.com/
    http://thecools.tumblr.com/post/13205321097/yosuzi-sylvester-and-olivier-van-themsche-of-the

    And someone could draw some pretty strong conclusions from the fact that Institut Bonheur promotes mostly Moet Hennessy spirits at its events, that Antoine Arnault (son’s of the owner of LVMH) owns a part of your businesses in the USA, that your business partners are Pierre Raygot (PR manager) and Elie Riachi (Artistic-DJ director) for the Zoo camp/Institut Bonheur.

    Seems like this dinner was a way to thanks shareholders and business partners at
    no cost for Olivier, Pierre and Elie. Then Moet Hennessy can use BM’s
    trendy image to promote Krug as a trendy champagne (See Also: pre-sold article to W, referenced here http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=189&t=50492 but taken down, and the pre-sold article to Town & Country )

    So Olivier, either you are not being honest, or maybe you don’t know your promotional business as well as one might expect.

    Friends, the playa is like the subway: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. Go to Media Mecca at Center Camp, or tell a Ranger. The Media Team at Burning Man has kick-ass PR pros and lawyers on site and available around the clock to respond to this sort of thing. It’s attempted often, VERY few slip through like this one. Don’t let it happen again.

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  • Oli, the stick art car was from Zoo Camp too? Reading the thread about the New Sound Policy over on the Mutant Vehicles section of ePlaya, that stick thing was universally loathed and almost single-handedly responsible for the new sound restrictions.

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  • where are we going with all this hate people ? This isn’t burning man either !!! Why all that I don”t understand ? Krug fucked it up OK but that’s it ! Why all this hate on people who were just trying to enjoy BM not trying to enforce the rules !!!

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  • “I have to say, I feel for Oil. Did he really SIN? When we see all the things that happen around us with war, crime, politicians – in the scheme of things, is this really the worst thing that’s ever happened at Burning Man? Can we blame everyone at Zoo Camp? Isn’t Burning Man about love, a world without hating and blaming? Sure, it’s clear someone hooked up PR and sponsorship for this party. And it wasn’t BMOrg. But it seems like they did get permits and approvals. And no-one’s saying money changed hands on the Playa. It was a way to fund a party, it seems like a great dinner, wish we were there.”

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  • Wow. I saw the T&C article on the photog’s blog a few months ago, after someone posted the link online.
    I didn’t even notice that it was product placement; I was just pissed about the feather headdresses!
    In fact, I had meant to write T&C and tell them that feathers aren’t welcome on the playa, and that their readers should know not to bring them, if they show up to b’man.
    I’ll gladly boycott all those brands. Some of those are very tasty, but there are plenty of other delicious products in the world!

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  • Oli seems to be comfortable lying. He was neither the first European to come to Burning Man, nor do I believe for one second that with his job, he didn’t know what was happening.

    As a 4-time Burner over 8 years (and now-former Fat Radish regular), I’m grossed out. It’s a shameful thing, and though I never cared much for Krug, I’m done with Fat Radish because of it. Marketing is my whole work life, too, but can’t one f’ing place for one f’ing week not be bastardized for marketing?

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  • You know — lots of vitriol here about very legitimate stuff.

    I would like to add that OMG feathers! “Moopy-Moopy-not-reading-the-manual-attendees”

    Come, play, Read the manual, twice, then listen to it on tape in your luxury jet. I don’t come to your fancy uppercrust parties without behaving to match your sociocultural norms, why do you think its ok to not return the favor?

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  • seems like the only numbskill still not redacting or apologizing for their publicity of this stunt is this random anti-feminist sparklepony blogger who has made a business out of celebrating the repulsive 1950s. i threw up in my mouth when i read her ABOUT ME
    “Taryn’s role models draw upon the influences of iconic ladies of the 1940’s and 1950’s, who unfalteringly flaunted their femininity and proudly cared for their homes, husbands and children. These ladies are stylistically inspired by Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy and June Clever. The Wife enthusiastically upholds the romantic ideals of the home-maker.”

    people like this still exist????

    i doubt she’ll approve the comment i left on her blog so i’m repeating it here.
    <>

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  • oops my aforementioned comment on her site http://www.taryncoxthewife.com/?page_id=2
    is as follows:
    “cool how you violated the 3rd principle of DECOMMODIFICATION by attending corporate-sponsored party and posting photos online, carefully mentioning KRUG. then again, despite being female, your whole business identity glorifies the pre-feminism (and pre-civil rights!) 1950s era of oppressive misogynistic domesticity, so i guess you are no stranger to hypocrisy.”

    sigh… a feminazi’s work is never done…

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  • Oli,

    I’d like to hear your response to ‘Calling You Out’. I was ready to give you some benefit of the doubt, but he makes a compelling case. It looks as though you’ve disgraced yourself, and your camp mates. I’d say Krug disgraced themselves as well, but I doubt they even care.

    At least Paul Addis was acting with some sort of integrity, misdirected as it may have been.

    “By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising…kill yourself. Thank you. Just planting seeds, planting seeds is all I’m doing. No joke here, really. Seriously, kill yourself, you have no rationalisation for what you do, you are Satan’s little helpers. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show. Seriously, I know the marketing people: ‘There’s gonna be a joke comin’ up.’ There’s no fuckin’ joke. Suck a tail pipe, hang yourself…borrow a pistol from an NRA buddy, do something…rid the world of your evil fuckin’ presence.”

    Bill Hicks

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  • Well I think the Burner thing to do here is have about a dozen Krug-mocking camps and events in 2012! Get pictures all over the web of Krug-themed circle jerks. Krug piercing rituals. Krug-branded port-potties. Naked, vomit-encrusted Krug Klowns staggering through passed out ravers.

    They want their product to be associated with us? Really?

    Let’s make them regret that move…

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  • Oh, get a life – you want to have an event that is “known” but when someone wants to take advantage of that “being known”, you boohoo. It’s the big wide world, not just a desert fest…

    This is not unlike the “Occupy” Idjits, who eventually couldn’t even agree as to what it was they were complaining about..

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  • @ Shaolin Monk – WOW ONE person with some sense and perspective in this thread really that people dont seem to be able to see this:

    “Ok so this was a strong piece and words well placed and delivered….clearly Krug had it coming and the folks at Zoo fucked up…

    BUT

    WE HAVE TO STOP THE INTERNAL BURNER DRAMA BULLSHIT NOW!!!!!

    These comments calling them douchebags etc is totally uncool. By doing this you are fucking up the vibe at BM worse because you are negative camp branding and hating on other people who have worked just as hard and busted there as just as much as you to make it to the burn….”

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  • Look, when we got to this thing the first time sometime before 2am Friday morning, we dropped our bikes nearby and people leaving from sitting there said ‘you can pretend you were at a party’ and that’s what we thought it was, an art piece where people were having a party then disappeared. Paper plates with chicken bones and stubbed out cigarettes on them, discarded paper party horns, empty bottles and glasses all down that long, long table. It was a huge mess.

    That’s something you aren’t accounting for, Oli, and shame on you. You had a party and then left the mess. Then you came back to clean it up *the next morning* and left the structure up for others to make a mess of.

    See, and from my perspective I wonder about this ‘permit’ you claim to have gotten and if there is possibly a disconnect here between whomever gave it to you (did they tell you their name was Ranger Nine?) and how the process works for Art Installations. From my understanding, having a half-dozen Playa Restorations under my belt, Art that gets placed is GPS’d so that post event we can go and check each Art site after the event and make sure there isn’t a huge mess behind that requires further attention.

    I have had the honor of doing this very job before. You go out to the coordinates, you walk around a bit, in a wide circle. Can’t take too long, there’s lots of sites to cover. Sometimes you see where the artist built their sculpture, you can see the screws and bits of wood chips. Sometimes you can see where the foot traffic, perhaps where participants sat or laid down (ala the Cubetron) was because there’s all that ‘fell out of pocket’ trash. Mostly though, you read the dunes and the playa and can tell where the Art was (because GPS isn’t tremendously accurate) and you find no trace because the artists have left no trace.

    I’m mentioning this Oli because the folks in the office will read it and note the concern, that if the Artery folks are gave you a ‘permit’ — and no one is against unplaced art — did they realize just how huge your installation would be, and also, that you were going to glibly leave it there for the rest of the event? Did you tell them you planned to leave it as I saw it at later that first night, after your dinner? With the plates of half eaten food and empty champagne bottles?

    You haven’t addressed the mess you Zoo folks DID leave. You planned to leave that all out there overnight? That’s horribly irresponsible at best, and I wonder how you could possibly take sole responsibility for that, when your whole camp it seems just got up and left. You couldn’t have taken the trouble to bust out a trash bag and pass it down the line? You were too looped up on free champagne that you all just wandered off like a pack up filthy hippies?

    If there had been weather this year there would have been an unholy debris field left behind in your wake. I’m sorry, left behind in your birthday party. That Oli, is something that every person in your camp who was at your party should be ashamed of.

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  • Thanks for the post! And kudos for making it a balanced, thoughtful article.

    Here’s hoping Krug learn a powerful lesson about community and social media from the feedback I hope they’re going to get…

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