Mrs. O Is Not What You Think It Is

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On this last day of 2008, the most tumultuous year we've had personally and collectively, we come to find out that a blog we've linked to, read often, found interesting and informative is an ad-agency blog. Yes, Mrs. O is not a random site done by a Michelle Obama enthusiast. It's bankrolled by advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and written by Mary Tomer, one of the company's account planners. Tomer had come up with the idea and, instead of blogging on the side, had asked her bosses to pay for it.

Now, we have to say that was rather ingenious of her, but we also aren't so sure we can read the site in quite the same light. It's difficult to separate the blog from the author, and we thought Mrs. O was an obsessed fashionista, much like ourselves. But for the site to be a marketing tool, something to show future clients as a possible product, well, that makes us feel slightly icky. “They [Bartle Bogle] will be able to use Mrs. O to say, ‘Here’s what we did,’” George Parker, an advertising consultant and writer of AdScam, told the New York Times. “It demonstrates an expertise that’s outside the old parameters of what ad agencies did.”

But there's more than just using the site as an example of what the agency can do. “There was a realization that there was a bigger idea here that was a very viable business opportunity,” Tomer told the Times. And with a book deal, tote bags, and other merchandise in the works, it seems Mrs. O has cashed in. Had the site been independent and achieved this level of success, we'd be saying kudos. But right now it appears like nothing more than a marketing ploy and we're slightly disheartened that a blog we liked is just an agency site.

Ad Agencies Fashion Their Own Horn, and Toot It [NYT]