[Updates 5/18/2012, 5/19/12 added further comments from Oli, Bob Stahl, and links to PR analysis, Bloomberg, Bummer Hummer, hate sites; 5/20/12 added Absolut video, directors comments that video is not Black Star beer commercial, ePlaya discussion]
[Update 5/22/12 – the controversy continues. Most recent discussion here]
There’s been quite a passionate response across the Burner Community to the Naughty Krug affair.
Here’s a breakdown of the meltdown, a great timeline analysis of Krug’s PR faux pas.
In general, it seems the thing that pisses everyone off the most, is that they Left A Trace – the caterers didn’t clean up immediately after the dinner party, they just abandoned the dinner after their Town and Country photo shoot. MOOPs be damned.
Sign the petition against Krug here (thanks Burner Moishe). So far 25 people have, out of a goal of 10,000. It’s not clear how much Krug those people bought in the last 10 years. A recent petition, against scalpers, after a few months has only obtained 326 signatures of the 10,000 sought.
Here’s a list of some of the other brands owned by LVMH, for those who feel this is offensive enough to warrant a boycott:
Moet, Veuve Cliquot, Mercier, Hennessy, Glenmorangie, Belvedere, Ardbeg, Domaine Chandon, Fendi, Donna Karan, Pucci, Givenchy, Kenzo, Berluti, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, Celine, Thomas Pink, Acqua di Parma, Christian Dior, Guerlain, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Zenith, Hublot, Chaumet, Ruinart, Sephora, 10 Cane, DFS, Le Bon Marche.
Is Krug really to blame here? It doesn’t seem like Krug has been using Burning Man to promote their products, they just donated some champagne to a party and got a brief mention in a Town and Country story on a popular event. There is no Krug or Burning Man logo in sight, in the story or the photos. Google gets as much brand placement in the story as Krug. There’s no evidence (yet) that Krug did anything to promote their brand’s association with Burning Man, other than supplying 5 cases of champagne for Oli’s birthday party. There are no Burning Man themed Krug ads, no press releases or video commercials, no special temporary stores made by Burner artists. OK, when W magazine wrote about it, Krug put a link to their story on their Facebook page; it doesn’t seem like they did that for Town and Country, Silkstone, or any of the bloggers. It seems to me that the organizers who threw the party (Zoo Camp), and the caterers who failed to clean up (Fat Radish) are the ones who really fucked up here. Silkstone, parent company of Fat Radish, were the ones trying to promote their connection with Krug (now removed from their site, but cached here) – not the other way round. Town and Country shouldn’t have printed their story if Burning Man refused permission after their contact, but that’s nothing to do with Krug.
If Grey Goose donates a case of vodka to your camp, and your camp throws a birthday party in which people show up in cheesy head-dresses and leave MOOPs everywhere, is that Grey Goose’s fault? Maybe so, if the invites say “Grey Goose Exclusive Burning Man Dinner”…
Isn’t this video from Aboslut Vodka a much more blatant attempt by an alcohol brand to cash in on Burner culture? Krug certainly didn’t do anything like this, so why aren’t Burners upset with the largest alcoholic spirits brand in the world?
Here’s some video of the Krug event as it took place – no Krug signs to be seen anywhere:
Burner Marty has suggested a new addition to the Burner vocabulary:
1: a person who defecates directly onto the playa
“Last night, I almost ran over some krug with my art car in deep playa. It REALLY upset me, because by the time I got the car turned around for a second pass, they were gone.”
2: a person who flagrantly and intentionally disregards the ethics of Leave No Trace.
“Our neighbors were such fucking krugs that they left behind an entire sofa covered in mayonnaise. At least, I think it was mayonnaise.”
Krug’s Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia pages have already been updated to reflect the affair:
In 2011, Krug, with the Silkstone events agency, shot a marketing campaign at the Burning Man festival in Nevada. Festival-goers were told they were attending a birthday party, but were filmed and photographed as part of this campaign. The Burning Man organization posted an exposé on their blog, rebuking Krug for breaking many rules of the festival both in letter and spirit, including product placement, photography for commercial gain and leaving behind a mess. Members of the Burning Man community denounced the campaign and Krug in various social media..
Burner Emkay came here to share with us this beer commercial (thanks for that!) If this is really a commercial, it’s as much for the iPhone as it is for Black Star Beer. [Update 5/20/12 6:42 pm the Director has contacted us to say emphatically that the video is NOT a Beer commercial, he made it for his friends:
It seems like the Burner Fundamentalist witch-hunt has accused an innocent victim. Next Fleetwood and El Monte RV will be in trouble for all the YouTube videos their brand is in! I’m leaving the link up because it’s great]
I have to say it’s one of the better ones I’ve seen. It is definitely not in your face marketing, it seems to be compliant with Burner culture, it’s well made and the soundtrack is wicked. Made me want to try Black Star beer, a Montana microbrew. The video’s worth watching just for the shots of Root Society, it was filmed entirely on an iPhone 3Gs.
Burner Bob Stahl has an interesting insider take on things, throwing some blame back in the direction of the BMOrg who allowed this to happen and benefitted from all the publicity – more so than Krug. Were any of them invited to the dinner, we wonder?
I’ve worked DPW a few times. Frankly, this kerfuffle seems pretty minor compared to the hassles of dealing with certain funded artists and the trash their installations generate during the event and what they leave behind after the event. And pretty indicative of the long-standing miscommunications among the various departments, and of inconsistencies in enforcing the most basic requirements of the permit.
Seems apparent, or at least likely, that *somebody* with the org told these people it was okay to build their long table in the art space. Somebody with the DMV approved all of their branded party bus rentals, somebody else blithely signed off on the media credentials of the writers and bloggers and photographers involved, somebody else looked the other way when they drove their catering truck out there, and somebody else didn’t follow up on the after-dinner mess.
Of course, I could be wrong that the org is just shamelessly trying to cover their asses and make this a *community* problem.
Halcyon has provided a “Decommodification Report” vlog to the official blog of Burning Man on the matter, in which he talks about giving out free coke and corporately sponsored ice cream:
Some of the vitriol is showing the ugly side of the Burner community. It’s not all peace and love, there are some passionate haters. Someone’s even gone to the trouble to create a snarky “Hate Page” on Facebook. And then we have this video:
Take a chill pill, people. Remember it’s a party. The reason to go is entertainment, to have a good time. To forget about all the dramas of the Default World for a while. If you get a spiritual experience out of it, great – but does that justify hating and a lack of forgiveness? Most religions teach the opposite, to rise above those negative emotions. We’re all friends in Black Rock City. Spending large parts of the year upset, because of something that happens during a crazy week of fun, seems self-defeating to me. That is not the attitude that’s going to make the world a better place.
Burner Wolfy expressed his concerns about this very well, in the comments of the BMOrg blog:
As someone who saw the before and after of this party honoring the zoo camp founder I can honestly say that everyone – as always – had different levels of respect for BM. Such is life, tolerance for others and allowing people their own experience is part of life and part of BM. I commend The zoo founder for speaking out and saying sorry but not for blaming Carl from Krug, you accept the gift of a party and drinks then you accept the backlash of opinions of others, krug isn’t the first or last brand to donate or pay for their product to have presence that’s just how life goes – reading about people saying death to ad or marketing people or sue a magazine that wrote what seems to be a nice story about the art and luxe side of brining man is sad and judgmental. There are tons of people who have millions taking jets to BM and others who have no cash and Sleep on dirt. Just like real cities in real life BM had all types of people and ur doesn’t seeming anyone lied, they did a party and took photos a story ran in a magazine that affluent people read and if those people go to BM they will probably get upscale rv’s and segways and have chefs and eat and drink fancy foods and wines, what’s the crime in that?
Town & Country registered with BM and did a story about this dinner and the style and art and various components that they saw relevant for their readers just like the new York times wrote about the upscale rv’s that had been in display or the bar that had people read porn to get served and posted on their personal Facebook which promoted their local bar in the city they’re from.
Despite everything said or done there’s plenty of judgement here which isn’t why I love BM I thought we were creating a city that allows everyone to be free from the usual judgements of life outside this city,
If the crime is not cleaning up then make sure to clean up but I’ve seen a million things done wrong and that’s human nature we need to address that everyone respects the rules but also one another and calling out people for doing their burn their own way is wrong unless it’s hurting another. I’m sad by all of this as I thought burning man fellows were family and you don’t treat family this way
A lot of queen dramas over here. A majority of people here reminded Oli about the spirit of BM but forgetting that forgiving is also part of the spirit.
Some folks are saying things like “burn them all” “destroy their lives” “banish them” for what is a shocking but a unique incident over 4 years for the Zoo Camp.
We all have idiots friends and this Carl guy seems to be Oli’s idiot friend.
As you may notice, it’s only Krug that used the phtoso for marketing purpose. As mentioned above, Oli seems to have a company of his own and if he is the bastard you all think he is, he would have promoted his own company instead of Krug. By the way, it’s inelegant to accuse people that have no relation with the incident as as Calling You Out did in his post. What’s the DJ has to to with all of this ? It’s clearly Krug that is the only beneficiary.
As for the cleaning part, may be the BRC staff can help everyone see clearer by telling us if the location used by the Zoo Camp was cleaned or not.
Spread the Love guys, try to find a human solution to this incident. The important thing is this not happen in the future, the past is gone now.
First of all thanks to those who have tried to understand what happened, are open to forgiveness and ready to move forward. As some people were saying, we have learned our lesson, and we are ready and willing to be better. Next time will be much more careful.
To Ivan and Stauntino, of course you are right, we were not the first europeans to hit the playa and never meant we were, I just meant to say that at the time BM was not as known and recognized in Europe as it is now…different times.
Now I am really sad to see so many nasty messages and a continued aggressive tone; it is really far from what BM is. When I read people saying they would burn everything, when I read people saying some people should kill themselves… sorry but I am really disappointed, this sounds like extremists messages, people who want to make justice by themselves… it scares me and it feels really far from the love BM has given me all these years.
Now to answer to a few points:
To calling you out: Your conspiracy theory goes way too far from reality. You are mixing many things that have nothing in common. It is as if the people who were in Eric Schmidt’s camp were responsible for having a mobile network at BRC this year. Actually in an other camp I know someone else who works at At&T… should I blame her instead? Sorry but this is ridiculous.
To Thatdude: about our art car, yes we had a big sound system such as some other art cars. It was created along the rules of BM and it was approved by the DMV. This year, the Sound Policy has been changed and again like previous years we will follow the DMV rules.
To the messages about the 1%: I never felt BM was a place of financial conflict. Actually BM is about giving. Everyone gives what they can or want to give. Some people give a lot of their time, some people give a lot of money, it is how it is and it is precisely one of the beautiful concepts behind it, to give whoever you are, whatever you own. On my first trip to BM the theme was American Dream. I was right next to a camp dedicated to US strippers. The guy organizing it flew some strippers from LA, flew his chef in his private jet (BM has an airport for this planes in case you’re not aware) and gave open dinners every night to any burner who wanted to share his love for striping. Wowww… for me, freshly coming from Paris, it was a shock! I thought it was totally insane. Was it good, was it bad… I don’t think it is the point… It was not my style but i totally respected this guy taste and craziness. People are different and hopefully will always be, that’s the beauty of mankind and that’s what BM reminds us every year… you have the right to be different.
Shall we condemn big RVs because other people live in tents? So shall we condemn the orgie camp because it hurts some people’s beliefs? Shall we condemn art cars with big sound system? Shall we condemn art cars with flashy colors? Shall we add more rules because this one likes this and this one likes that? I like to see BM as an open place for creativity, love and positiveness… it is a dream open to everyone where people try to experience a freedom that doesn’t really exist anymore in our society.
It has nothing to do with the financial means involved. That’s my point of view. Cause if money has to be a taboo at BM then we’ll live the biggest hypocrisy ever! Come on, how do you think BM and its community create the 3rd biggest town of Nevada just for a week… and then leave no trace. Climb on the roof of an RV at night… it looks like a city of one million people… built only for a week!
Be realistic, BM involves spending huge money. Let’s not be foolish. Is it a waste? Could we save lives in Africa instead? Yes. So who do we do it? Because it’s worth it because it serves a fantastic unique cause: to build the last utopia, the last world where almost everything is permitted, a world of freedom, because it saves our souls… and that is totally worth it.
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 (likehttps://www.thecools.com/) and party clubs in France doing business/cross marketing events with Moet Hennessy http://www.institutbonheur.com/
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.
Oli does cross-marketing and promotional work for Krug.
Oli works for Carl, Carl is Krug’s brand director.
Krug hired Oli to organize and publicize the dinner and photo shoot.
Oli and Krug hired Silkstone to manage the dinner, Silkstone owns Fat Radish.
Oli and Krug pre-sold the magazine and photo shoot to Town & Country and W Magazine.
Oli and Krug invited professional photographers to shoot the dinner.
Oli and Krug invited and arranged for brand loyalists and society bloggers to attend the dinner.
Oli and his team built Zoo Camp as a staging area for dinner “guests.”
And then Oli, Zoo Camp, and SilkStone left a gigantic mess for Burning Man to clean up.
This was not a mistake, or an oversight, or one person’s spur-of-the-moment idea. This was a carefully coordinated, expensive, and well-planned marketing campaign, and its directors and participants worked carefully to hide the campaign from the Burning Man organizers.
And then Oli has the gall to say he’s “open to forgiveness and ready to move forward.” I’m sure he is. Whether the Burning Man community is ready to forgive Oli remains to be seen. if Oli truly understood and cared about Burning Man, he’d respect our rules and principles instead of breaking them and lying to us. The “human solution” is to ban Oli and Zoo Camp from all future Burning Man events.
The ePlaya discussion on this party has heated up again after being dormant since September ’11, with this amusing image from H G Crosby:
And 5280MeV shares some information on G360, an educationally-oriented Plug-n-Play camp that Zoo is “in synergy” with for 2012 (tickets here):
Very interesting – part of the “Stiglitz” school of leadership and creativity. They offer the Dreamer’s Camp as an adventure classroom of sorts. Camp dues were about $1350 in 2011 (875 pounds). Closely linked to some sort of wealth creation guru – Dr. John Demartini – who offers trademarked methods and expensive 3 day seminars and cruises.
Burner Elorrum’s image is a classic (who’s Billy Jack?)
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Re: difference between Absolut ad and Krug PR stunt.
1) The Absolut ad does not mention Burning Man at all.
2) The ad was not shot at Burning Man in any way – those are SALT FLATS it is filmed at, not the playa, even.
3) Yes, the Absolut ad invokes burneresque imagery, but it is displaying things that are not “Burning Man” itself, but rather things that one might see AT Burning Man. The difference is subtle, but it’s not like Burning Man has the lock on steampunk, electronic dance music, desert imagery, or crazy costumes. There are many raves. There are many raves in the desert even. But not all raves in the desert are burning man.
So in sum, we can look at an ad like the Absolut ad, and definitely see a correlation. We know what they are trying to do, and we can laugh at it and say, “pretty cool ad, and look, they are trying to copy us, lol.” We don’t get mad or offended, we just note it and move on.
but the Krug PR stunt was filmed AT Burning Man, mentions it by name, uses it to promote itself (free rider, trademark violation), they signed documents and did this all at a private event where it is explicitly forbidden (copyright violation – the documents and TOU forbid what they did). They also did it by using people who DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS GOING ON (deceiving and lieing to the community). And they left their trash all over the playa.
That’s the difference.
And there was a good reason Krug didn’t hang up a big Krug sign at the event. They would have had to take it down or be removed from the event. It would have drawn attention to what they were doing, and what they intended to do AFTER the event, which might also have resulted in removal, and would have put the legal process in motion on site to restrain them from printing any pictures without prior approval.
all good points. Absolut is cashing in on Burner culture just like Lexus; I agree that the key difference is the LNT, and what happened on vs off Playa
@Valdemoort Very good explanation of the difference.
@burnersxxx No amount is listed on the website for the fees except to list what it includes.
Additionally, there is a blog post of one of the attendees who said she was invited (pre-playa) “to the exclusive Krug Champagne Dinner held at Burning Man”. That sounds like a branded event to me
see speculation above on “would it be Grey Goose’s” fault. There’s a link to the invite you mention. Seems to me like the Krug brand ambassador invited her to the Krug Exclusive dinner. Did Krug pay for the food too? Or did they have to pay camp fees to Zoo Camp, which included the dinner?
Seems to me that the Zoo’s apology is hollow since they already have an event of similar nature planned for this year. The BM event is being sold and packaged for tourists. It appears there is no intention for those tourists to coordinate a gift to the community or any mention of the 10 principles. Their sales pitch website: http://stiglitz.com/arts-and-culture/g360°-the-dreamers-camp-burning-man-2012-2/
I agree with the tone of this blogpost. Sets everything out in a balanced way. After reading some of the information on Facebook, I went looking around online and found this very slick advertisement for the Dreamers Camp. I cannot accept an insincere apology from the Zoo. The lesson hasn’t been learned. In fact, it’s to be bigger and better for them this year.
I’d like to know how much revenue was generated in each of their marketing/catering/events companies in all previous years, then I’d expect a gift to BRAF in that amount. As for the Burner community offering forgiveness to Oli or Zoo for our reaction to an abuse of our core principles? Not on my behalf, please.
We build a place that is radically inclusive and defined by the gifts from ourselves or from our talent/abilities or our wealth. We do this with no expectation of a return – except a revitalization of our souls. The combination of all of our gifts builds something unique in the world. Events at Burning Man aren’t invitation only, it is open to whoever is in the city who wants to participate until the resources of that event/camp are depleted.
It is the exclusivity of invitation only “gifts” that offends me. In my opinion, to package and market as Stiglitz is doing in partnership with ZOO for the benefit of a handful of wealthy tourists is an appropriation of the gifts of each of us for the profit motive. It is theft of all the resources of the city, given freely by its citizens to each other. With the exception of camp-oriented planned meals held within the private areas of our camps, taking food or drink together is a communal event that is part of the city, open to all.
As one person has pointed out on Facebook, Burning Man’s future is in its regional events. If the main event is for tourists, it won’t last because the builders will be in their regions spreading the ten principles. Sadly, the Stiglitz marketing site illustrates that Burning Man’s Temporary Autonomous Zone has become the Permanent Autonomous Zone. Jumped the shark? Possibly. Is our reaction, mine included, a grasping to hang on to our temporary, fluid Autonomous Zone? Good question.
Any idea what their camp fees are? I think we all need to just accept that Plug-n-Play camping and off-Playa fundraising are here to stay. They’ve been here for many years already, and they are not going to go away – unless BRC turns into some sort of fascist state, raiding RVs looking for undocumented slave girls.
A better approach I think is to just embrace it, allow it, and focus on the participation component – because that’s what really makes the party. If these camps don’t add to anyone else’s experience, what can we do to encourage that? Krug did it wrong, Lexus did it right; how can we share those lessons with regionals and other Burners for the future. I don’t know about Zoo Camp but I know Overkill, they build some of the main stages and bring several art cars, they might have people on the Playa for several weeks getting paid to do the hard work and people paying camp dues to get meal tickets, but they are hardly commercializing Burning Man. It is actually much more energy (and waste) efficient to provide 1 kitchen and 1 generator for 100 people, than 20 RVs each doing their own thing.
Camp fees were $1300 last year
thanks Bruna. In a way it is a typically French/Eurotrash kind of behavior…
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Oh, and I love the new definition of KRUG. Education and Intervention will stem the tide of Krug onto the Playa…. I was all for a good ass-beating for whomever let this happen. Thanks to all the discussion, I’ve calmed down and am looking forward to seeing them on Playa. I’ll be looking for them.
merci, thank you, and Brava! You pretty much said it all without resorting to the violence of the branch I’ve been perched upon since learning of this. In true BRC tradition, you’ve managed to call Zoo Camp to account for the mess they’ve created without drama. Thank you for saying it right…
Kinda surprised that nearly 50% of voters in your poll said banishment. Everybody fucks up. But we all deserve a chance to learn from our mistakes and make the future better