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Virgin pulls web challenge

Boys at B3ta see off marketing muppets

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Virgin was hoping a competition on B3ta.com would bring in some funky viral advertising to get 'em down with the kids on the internet.

Instead, it got a bunch of rude pictures of company founder Richard Branson.

B3ta is a popular site where design types let off steam and post offensive animations and pictures.

Virgin Money was offering "a handful of Xbox 360s and PSPs for the winners" and wanted pictures on the theme of "what would happen if you said 'yes' to everything?".

Amazingly, B3ta users decided to "say yes!" to being rude about Virgin founder Richard Branson.

The site is famous for its slightly twisted humour - it recently published a book of sick jokes and runs sickipedia - a Web2.0 collection of offensive humour. Entries for Virgin's competition included doctored pictures of the Soham murder victims and an apparent snap of Richard Branson relieving himself over site founder Rob Manuel, wearing a toddler's pink dress and chained to a radiator.

A thread on the site's message board from Rob Manuel says:

"Yep, they pulled the challenge. Yep, they were told before they opened it exactly how it would play out. Yep, they asked us to delete it. Yep, I think the whole thing is funny."

The whole thing is either very, very dumb marketing or a devilishly cunning plan... ®

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