Pitbull Faces Alaskan Exile as Walmart’s Facebook Promotion Is Hijacked

Rapper could be headed to Kodiak store

Attention, marketers: The Internet can be kind of a dick. Drink too much of the social-media Kool-Aid, and you'll wake up at the Facebook party with your eyebrows shaved off and profane Sharpie doodles scrawled all over your face. Case in point: the response to a new promotion by Walmart, Pitbull and Sheets Energy Strips—the LeBron-James-backed startup that puts out some truly awful advertising, also starring Pitbull. They're running a campaign that promises to send the rapper to whichever individual Walmart store amasses the most "Likes" on Facebook over the course of a month. Seems like a fun way to "engage" the denizens of the Web in a "conversation" so you can future-spam them, right? Well, a couple of Internet pranksters have hijacked the process by spearheading an #ExilePitbull effort to send the brand-cozy rapper to the remote environs of Walmart #2711—on Kodiak Island, off the coast of Alaska. The store has racked up more than 60,000 Likes in a matter of days—and employees there seem totally psyched about the possibility of a visit. There's no guarantee Pitbull will honor the commitment if and when Kodiak wins. (Voting ends July 15.) Of course, if he doesn't, it will give the Internet another excuse to be kind of a dick. And it will happily oblige. Via Gawker.

UPDATE: Seems Pitbull isn't just a Sheets endorser, he's a part owner, along with James, Serena Williams, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. That according to Erik Rosenstrauch, CEO of Fuel Partnerships, a retail marketing agency that works for Sheets and helped put together the promotion. The rapper, for his part, seems to have gotten into the spirit of the thing. "I hear there's bear repellant at Kodiak, Alaska @walmartspecials @sheets #exilepitbull daleeeeeee!" he tweeted over the weekend. The Sheets and Walmart teams decided to go with the flow Sunday, said Rosenstrauch, even though the original intent was to get customers promoting their local Walmarts (rather than, you know, the universe promoting a far-flung one). That's probably a good call, given they didn't really have any choice. As for whether Pitbull would actually show up in Alaska, Rosenstrauch said he's "fairly confident we're going to have Pitbull in Kodiak"—assuming its Walmart amasses the most new fans. He declined to say which others were in the running. That may be because there aren't any: A quick survey of Walmart locations near major metropolitan areas seems to show the number of fans generally maxing out at under 1,500. Hear that, Internet? You're winning. Also, you made this product—a caffeine strip that dissolves on your tongue—about a billion times more visible.