Pherotones have the potential to transform a friend into something more.
Several weeks ago, Dr. Myra Vanderhood was interviewed by Bruce Stewart for O’Reilly Emerging Telephony blog about the potential of using ring tones to attract members of the opposite sex. Pherotones are the audio equivalent of pheromones, in which people and animals are attracted or repulsed by upon receiving a fragrant whiff of a potential mate. Dr. Myra Vanderhood discovered that sounds can have a similar effect and is testing her discovery on ring tones.
The interview with Stewart linked to Dr. Vanderhood’s blog as well as to a wikipedia article (since deleted) on Pherotones and it didn’t take long for the blogosphere to weigh in with fascination and controversy. Once it was discovered that the wikipedia article had been written by McKinney + Silver (the Ad Agency behind Art of the Heist), there was a justifiable frustration over the manipulation of one of the internet’s best resources for commercial and advertising purposes. And, despite their best efforts of hiding their involvement (going as far as to obscure the registration information for the pherotones.com website), it brought McKinney Silver into the fold. When confronted by this, Dr. Vanderhood explained that someone on the board hired them for promotional purposes (great thinking on your feet!) and added a new “Is this a marketing campaign” question to the website FAQ.
There is still no word on the actual client, though rumors have it ranging from Qwest (a client of McKinney Silvers) to Stephen King’s latest novel, Cell. We do know that the website will be updating (and a wiki of sorts will appear at some point), though the depth of the campaign is still to be determined. However, with the possible interaction (Dr. Vanderhood will chat on AIM and has replied to emails) and the great quick thinking we’ve seen so far, if it goes very deep it should be a fun and well thought out ride.
ARGN verdict: pherotones have the potential to transform the spring gaming season into something more.