Viral Rivalry. College Pranks Gone Digital.

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 9.10.21 AMAh college pranks! Used to be that one college stole the other’s mascot. With the advent of the Internet and social media, college pranks are taken to a whole new level–especially when the college is filled with MIT-brillant digital savvy students.

The incoming class of MIT 2017 has officially declared war on the incoming class of Harvard 2017. What did they do? They hacked the Harvard 2017 website last week by replacing all the student photos with Mitt Romney’s mug, who indeed does have an MBA from Harvard. In addition to that, they changed the individual student messages on the Harvard 2017 page to read, “I regret not going to the badass institution down the street.” Or, “Damn, I wish I had as much swag as the MIT kids.”

Harvard SwapWhile the MIT/Harvard rivalry is nothing new and in fact, has been going on for decades, the hijinks have led Harvard’s incoming class to draft a “Declaration of War” against MIT’s “Immature Prefrosh.” The statement reads:

Whereas the Immature Prefrosh of MIT has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Harvard 2017 Website and the Members of the Harvard Class of 2017: Therefore be it Resolved by that the state of war between the Harvard Class of 2017 and the Immature Prefrosh of MIT which has thus been thrust upon the Harvard class of 2017 is hereby formally declared; and the Harvard Class of 2017 is hereby ComMITted  to utilize the entire strengths of its class to carry on war against the MIT Prefrosh.

Demanding both an apology from the MIT hackers, as well as their assistance when Harvard’s Class of 2017 moves into their dorms in August and “a tribute of several varieties of cookies and cheesecake in sweet abundance,” the incoming class at Harvard is trying to declare their “Terms of Surrender” for MIT frosh students.

Not sure if the MIT students will surrender with the type of “cookies” that Harvard has in mind.

The GWH Reality Check? Digital and social marketing is so immediate in today’s world that marketers need to ensure that there are safeguards in place so that would be pranksters and hackers are thwarted in any efforts to commandeer your site. According to MIT students, the Harvard site was “was completely unprotected (open to editing by anyone with an internet connection)”. Even so, it does border on vandalism with more serious consequences in this day and age than stealing a mascot.

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