3. 9 million views – that’s a lot of of eyeballs for the Youtube commercial of a German logistics company.

“Trojan Mailing” is the name of this video in which German logistics giant DHL allegedly pranks some of its competitors into delivering huge boxes with invisible DHL ad slogans right in the middle of German city centers.

If you believe the story, the invisible slogans becomes visible after the temperature of the deep-frozen boxes increases, triggering a chemical reaction that reveals the headline ‘DHL is faster’. A communicative trojan horse (coincidentally the logo of the agency behind the video).

Just in case you have been living under a stone last week, here is the video once again.

Nice idea?

Yes, but unfortunately it seems to be another completely fake Frankencampaign if you believe this Consumerist report. After doubting the authenticity of this video, Consumerist called up at DHL HQ. The result:

‘We were correct to doubt the authenticity of this “prank.” A rep for DHL tells Consumerist that while the shipping company is aware of the video, DHL did not actually pull the prank or have anything to do with the actual production of the clip that has already been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube.

“This was not something that was initiated by DHL,” a rep for the company tells Consumerist in an e-mail. “The video was created by an external agency for their own internal competition. We were aware in advance of the intention to use it for this purpose. We were not aware of any plans to share it externally.”’


Jung von Matt (the agency behind this video) creates perfectly produced campaign training videos to exclusively use them internally? Not externally? Seriously? Really? 

If this story develops as I expect it to develop, it is in fact just one more proof for the eroding relevance of so called creative agencies. It would in fact be just another deeply cynical symbol of an industry that keeps on revolving around itself.

So called ‘gold ideas’ are created in ‘creative laboratories’, using fake clients, fake business cases to explain fake brand stories. Their only purpose is to convince as a PR vehicle for the agency itself.

Frankencampaigns only mission is to serve as part of award show videos. They are self-reflexive and create a self-fulfilling-prophecy where the means justify the end. And whoever remembers the Stolpersteine award case, might agree that no ethical boundaries seem to exist anymore.

Unless we see some surprising new developments here, it is in fact just another creative freak. Stuff that makes people wonder about the role of ad agencies in the future. Me included.

But maybe it’s not a fake and this was just a big misunderstanding…