This morning while working on a design I went to grab some ‘dummy text’ also known in our industry as Lorem Ipsum from our trusted friends www.lipsum.com. Lorem Ipsum is described on their site as ‘…simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.’

We use “Lorem ipsum” text in our designs as a placeholder – as a replacement for readable content. It’s written in a similar way to English, in terms of the length of words and sentences – and in a way, it mimics the way real English text looks. This way, clients can pay attention to the design to begin without being distracted by repetitive sentences or meaningful text. From this we can give clients the correct word counts to stick to. They can then follow the word count guides and provide “real” copy after.

Anyway, getting off track a little…

So usually I go and copy my paragraphs of random text (aka. Lorem Ipsum) from the site and I paste it into my design and all works just fine! However, this morning when following the usual procedure I was surprised to find that my usual lorem ipsum paragraphs were missing and had been replaced by this ‘Do your layouts deserve better than Lorem Ipsum? Apply as an art director and team up with the best copywriters at Jung von Matt: www.jvm.com/jobs/lipsum.’!

WHAT?! What is this? And where is my Lorem Ipsum?

After copying and pasting a few times with a very confused look on my face I finally decided to Google ‘Jung von Matt’ (I try not to click on sneaky hidden links, I did it once and my Twitter account was hacked and so I have learnt my lesson). Jung von Matt is an advertising agency from Stockholm who appear to have won many awards and are very well recognised in the world of design and marketing.

So why is Jung von Matt on the lipsum.com website?

Well that part I can’t answer, but the funny part about all this is that the symbol for Jung von Matt is that of a Trojan Horse! You know, that huge wooden horse that allowed the Greeks to enter the city of Troy during the Trojan War. Now that was one sneaky way to get into the City of Troy. According to Wikipedia these days a Trojan Horse has “Metaphorically come to mean any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space. It is also associated with “malware” computer programs presented as useful or harmless to induce the user to install and run them.”

That may explain my hesitation when it came to clicking the Jung von Matt link. But this doesn’t appear to be a nasty Trojan Horse, this is a pretty darn cool one – irritating as it may be that it took me a while to figure out how to get my beloved Lorem Ipsum off the lipsum.com site I still can see the kinda cool, kinda humorous side of this.

Friend or Foe?

Jung von Matt say that “Communication should be a gift like a Trojan Horse!”. I have tried to see if this was a hack or if lipsum.com allowed this but can’t find anything on the web about it yet.. (I’m sure it’s coming). And does Jung von Matt even know about this?? But whether they do or don’t all I know is that Jung von Matt snuck onto my screen today in their own little Trojan Horse and I love them. They are cool, sneaky (dependent on whether they know about this or not), edgy and I think their media work is inspiring and a gift to the world of marketing. I could however suggest a few website tweaks they could make…

You sneaky Trojan Horse you!!

PS. This does not mean I approve of hacking and I hope Mr Lipsum.com allowed this to be done to his website.

Your Comments

  1. Hey, look at the source code of the page !

    There is an id called “invisible”, it is just an ad…

    • Thanks for your comment! We did look at the source code and we saw how it had been done.

      So perhaps it is just clever marketing. Still, I wonder why lipsum.com allowed Jung von Matt to add this to their site – especially seen as it says “Do your layouts deserve better than Lorem Ipsum? Apply as an art director and team up with the best copywriters at Jung von Matt: http://www.jvm.com/jobs/lipsum

      Which in my opinion is saying – Lorem Ipsum isn’t very good, use us instead.
      Seems a detrimental advertisement for lipsum.com to allow on their website. What do you think?

      I see the code has been removed.

  2. I thought it was removed too, but I do not think so.

    We are talking about it, it is a sure sign that this is a good marketing ! And it will affect a lot of people too… But we cannot say if it is voluntary or not, I am not here to speculate, maybe they are related to each other, or maybe it is hacking (that would not be the first code injection in history, isn’t it ? ^^)

    Why don’t you ask them ?

  3. It’s not clever, just annoying.

  4. @Amy: it’s not detrimental because everyone understands that lorem ipsum is NOT copy, it’s placeholder.

  5. Just happened to me moments ago, so the code is still there. I agree with you, Amy, that this would not be good for lipsum.com. Seems strange and out of place to me.

  6. Chrome > Settings > Under The Hood [Bonnet] > Privacy > Content Settings > Javascript > Manage exceptions button.

    Block js from lipsum.com

  7. Hmmm, wonder what the real intention was here and to whose benefit….

  8. I just emailed info@lipsum.com to see what their response was. In the mean time it’s time to find another lipsum generator.

  9. This is the response that I got after I contacted the owner:

    The site hasn’t been hi-jacked by the guys at JVM, the ad is deliberate, although it will only be there for another 6 hours or so. The site costs a fair amount to run, and the costs aren’t covered by the banner advertising alone. JVM approached me with the idea of putting a job advert into the cut-n-paste for a one week period, and offered to cover the running costs for 3 entire months. The site has been a free service for nearly a decade now, and it’s grown in that time to serving nearly 2 million unique visitors a month, and over 20 million pages a month, as a lot of those visitors use the site numerous times every month.

  10. I think the guy pulled a clever stunt, although cheeky. As long as it goes back to normal, it’s ok.

  11. I had always thought that lorem ipsum was latin? Good to know the actual origins!

    That is by the by though, the real item of interest here is on the ad. Caleb’s comment shows what was going on with the site, and I think that’s fair enough, but a whole week without users being able to get to their lorem ipsum text (which is why they were there in the first place) could be very detrimental to the site as users go elsewhere to find their placeholder text.

    What would have been smarter is having the ad, and then some sort of ‘no thanks’ link with text like ‘Just give me my lorem ipsum, dammit!’, so site visitors can go straight there if they wanted to.

    • Thanks for finding out about that Caleb! That’s nice of JVM to have covered the running costs for 3 months – especially seen as the site is free.
      I do however still think it was slightly annoying.

      Tamsin, I later found out that it was the JVM advert and then a few blank lines down it had the usual lorem ipsum. I hadn’t realised that initially as I was pasting the text into a small text box in Photoshop and so I was only seeing the first few words. So at least you could get your normal lorem ipsum… after a few confused tries.

  12. Even though it was a little inconvenient for the people trying to find their lorem ipsum text, it has raised interest in both companies, which is valuable marketing. Very clever.

  13. Great post Amy. I agree – its a clever ad – and I learnt a little bit about behind the scenes in the design world. Thanks for sharing!!
    L :-)

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