1. "Confessions of a sponsored content writer
In the case of Maxim, Casper naturally hoped for something in return for its largesse. After the mattresses went mostly unreturned (one of the company’s selling points is that you can send back a mattress you don’t like), a PR rep began probing Maxim, asking where the coverage was. The site’s editorial director asked a gathering of staffers if any of them had accepted the free mattresses. About ten hands went up, representing nearly $10,000 in gifts. That was too much, the editorial director decided. They would have to write an article. Eventually, the site published a Q&A with one of Casper’s founders.
It probably didn’t matter to the innovators at Casper that they had doled out so much money for what was essentially one web article. The VC-backed company was looking to create brand awareness through any method possible...
In addition to its giveaway initiative, Casper had a little something going on the side. After the mattress haul, three Maxim staffers were approached by the same PR firm to find out if they wanted to interview for positions at Van Winkle’s, a new website dedicated to “smarter sleep and wakefulness.” In May, Matt Berical, a Maxim editor, decided to jump ship for the new venture. It is not immediately clear who sponsors VanWinkle.com, but if you poke around, you’ll land on a familiar name: “Van Winkle’s is published,” says the site’s About page, “by Casper Sleep, Inc.”
2. "The amazing story
of Donald Trump’s old spokesman, John Barron — who was actually Donald Trump himself"
Trump kept up the charade for a full decade, as reporters unwittingly quoted Barron as if he were a real person.
Trump might have gotten away with his ruse even longer if not for a lawsuit in which he testified, under oath in 1990, that “I believe on occasion I used that name.”
The suit dealt with Trump’s employment of undocumented migrant workers from Poland on his Trump Tower project
that the business magnate borrowed the phony-spokesman trick from his father, Fred Trump, who sometimes posed as a "Mr. Green."
3. Rocket pop-flavored protein powder