My name is “Turok”

A few months ago, Acclaim Entertainment held a contest to promote its new game “Turok Evolution.” They offered 500 British pounds and an Xbox to five people willing to change their names to “Turok” for one year.

Apparently, 10,000 people stepped forward to apply — and now the winners are in. Five people pictured here will spend the next year introducing themselves in pubs and cocktail parties as “Turok”. According to Acclaim’s own press release, this is a new generation of shilling called “Identity Marketing”:

The idea behind Identity Marketing, which emanates from Dr Simeon Cantrell of the Institute of Science in Marketing, is that in the same way as a company might buy a television commercial, a billboard poster or a radio spot, they can now buy human identities. Acclaim UK has been the first company to embark on this cutting edge marketing route …

Shaun White, Acclaim’s UK Communications Manager said: “The five Turoks will no doubt speak to and meet tens of thousands of people between them over the next year and will be walking talking adverts for the Turok video game. We think this type of advertising is sure to take off and will prove to be a big hit for both Acclaim UK and Turok Evolution.”

Interestingly, google searches for “Dr. Simeon Cantrell”, “Extreme Marketing Inititiative” and the hilariously dubious-sounding “Institute of Science in Marketing” produce no results other than pointers to this contest. I love corporate pseudoscience!

Still, I gotta hand it to them, this is one hell of a fun attention-getter. I can only imagine the reaction when the clients of this woman Lheila Rebeccah Oberman find out that their midwife is now legally named “Turok”. Or that she did so as part of Acclaim’s global multi-million-dollar “Scent of Blood” marketing campaign.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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