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I've been interested in the concept of memes since I read TheSelfishGene by RichardDawkin as a child.

I'd also written on EmailVirusesAndChainLetters as an explainatory response to people who email them to me.

Finally, I gave in and wrote my own: http://www.DumpThePubs.com This received publicity on (amongst others): Channel 4 (big breakfast - complete with Brummy-style impersonation of me); Radio 5 (Live radio interview on "The Financial World Tonight"); The Daily Star (2/3 page spread); Radio 1.

At the time, the UK news was dominated by protesters preventing the delivery of petrol (that's "Gas" in US translation), but, after several days, not much was happening in the story. The left a gap in the news agenda, which I was happy to fill.

A few months previously, there had been an highly unsuccessful "Dump The Pumps" campaign, calling on drivers to boycott petrol stations on a particular day. At the time, I thought - "Hell! I don't drive, what about the tax on my beer!" and so, Dump The Pubs was born.

The initial email was seeded by being sent to about 30 people, and a couple of (maybe 100 people) mailing lists. A secret ingredient was added which made success much more likely - if you want to run a viral marketing campaign and want my advice as to how to achieve this - track me down and pay me!

The website was continuously updated for the first week or two of the spoof. The version you see online now reveals its payload by references to the petrol tax campaign.

-- AndyPryke - 18 May 2001

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