LOS ANGELES (CN) – A woman says a “terror marketing” campaign that Saatchi & Saatchi created for Toyota made her believe a drunken English soccer hooligan with a pit bull would show up at her home expecting to crash on her couch. She says the defendants sent her a series of anonymous emails in which a fictional man claimed he knew her address and planned to “lay low at your place for a bit. Till it all blows over. Bringing Trigger.”
Amber Duik says she was terrorized by the “nontraditional promotion” called “The Other You.” In her Superior Court complaint, Duik says the anonymous series of emails left her “constantly in tears and shaking and sobbing in emotional distress” during the entire month of April 2008.
The “terror marketing campaign” consisted of a series of emails that purported to come from Sebastian Bowler, a fictional 25-year-old man, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, who loves soccer, drinking, and getting into trouble (www.myspace.com/bowlerbowler).
“Nowhere in Mr. Bowler’s MySpace page did it identify him as an agent or employee of Toyota,” Duik says. She says she was “in a serious long-term romantic relationship” when she began receiving the upsetting emails, and “showed these emails to her boyfriend immediately upon receipt.”
In the defendants’ emails, the fictional man acted as though he and Duik had long been friends, and several times he told her that he would soon be arriving at her house and that he knew the address. Other messages mentioned fights he’d had with hotel clerks and run-ins with the police.
The first message said: “Amber Mate. Coming to Los Angeles. Gonna lay low at your place for a bit. Till it all blows over. Bringing Trigger.”
The second message included Duik’s address, followed by the comment, “Looks all right mate! Nice place to hide out. We don’t need much though. Just a couch and a telly. Trigger don’t throw up much anymore, but put some newspaper down in case.”
This was followed by messages in which Bowler described trashing a hotel room and run-ins with police.
The final message stated: “Amber Mate. Had a brush with the law last night. Anyway, hopefully I will have lost them by the time I get to your place. Can’t wait to see you.”
The message contained a link to a video showing Bowler watching a drive-in horror movie.
On a desk in one of the movie’s scenes there was a picture of one of Duik’s friends.
Eventually an actor in the “movie” revealed that the entire ordeal was a hoax, and that Duik had been “punked” by Toyota as part of a marketing campaign for its Matrix automobile.
Duik says she was so terrified by the emails that her boyfriend began sleeping with a club and Mace,.
She says she was convinced that “a violent criminal on the run from the police both in England and the United States” was making his way down the California coast to her home.
Duik seeks $10 million in punitive damages for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive advertising, emotional distress, consumer law violations and other charges. She is represented by Nicholas Tepper.