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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Looking for Chad Kroski

Who’s Chad Kroski? Depending on who you ask, he’s a bestselling author of communist works, or the lead singer in a rock band... and yet, he’s entirely fictional. He’s from a German TV spot advertising T-Mobile, who formed a partnership with Google to present their “web’n’walk” mobile surfing experience. I previously reported on this; in the TV spot, a woman (Anna) meets a man (Steve) in a bar. The man is reading a book by Chad Kroski, so she leaves for the toilet to Google this author. When she comes back, the two of them have something to talk about.

But now, Chad Kroski, aka Charaijev Alexander Kroski, the man who never existed, is starting to live a life of his own on the internet. Since July 1 2005 when the spot aired first, he’s been showing up in dozens of weblogs trying to figure out his origin (The inventor of private health insurance? Author of “Dark Shock I"?). He got his own article in Wikipedia. The homepage, registered by German T-Online, gives some quasi-official information. Some even suggest to compete in a search engine optimization contest for “Chad Kroski” – after all, millions of tv watchers in Germany saw his name and may feel like searching for him.

At this moment, a Google phrase search for “Chad Kroski” returns 72,300 results. Like this one from the German “Mediengestalter Weblog” (my translation):

“Chad Kroski indeed existed, but he wasn’t a bestselling, only a mediocre author. (...) Chad Kroski was born in Texas, USA, where he was writing socially conscious literature during the second world war. His date of birth is unknown. People assume that he was born between 1917 and 1920. (...) Even though he was American, Chad was showing great sympathy for the ideas of Communism.

Just where Chad Kroski is living today isn’t known – his novels have disappeared in equally strange manner. Some of his books may still remain in a very ordered book shelf.
The last time Chad was seen, he was travelling through Africa. If he’s indeed alive today he would be about 88 years old. Some assume he chose to retreat from the “civilized” part of society, looking for a new kind of life in Africa. Others say he has been murdered.”


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