Re: Using Fictional Companies and Case Studies

Subject: Re: Using Fictional Companies and Case Studies
From: "Time Barrow" <tbarrow -at- corpedia -dot- com>
To: "Darren Barefoot" <darren -at- capulet -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2004 10:25:45 -0700

First, I belive the term that you would like to use is fictitious, not
fictional (which relates more to fiction). Then again, if your artificial
company is based in Narnia or Middle Earth, I could be wrong.

Given your need and how you are going to use this, there are a few ways you
could address this. The way that you noted is really not all that lame. I
would suggest avoiding something as obvious as ACME or XYZ Corp. This is a
good chance to use a bit of creativity to create a company name. But the
sentence is not bad. "Tachworld, a leading auto parts manufacturer, is
holding its company picnic ..." That sets up the kind of scenario that you
might be after.
OOOhhhh, Note: Although I just played on the name 'Techwr-l,' I
would strongly suggest Not doing that if you are feigning an actual company
or actual case study. Imagine putting out a fictitious scenario about a
company who risks holding a monopoly on the software industry, referring to
an actual 1999 case in which 'SoftMicron' was convicted of violating
antitrust laws. Not only will everyone else see through it, but so will the
real company who may now be your client or may be in the future.

A second alternative is to have a lead-in sentence that introduces it:
"Consider the following case study, based on actual events [based on actual
legal procedings, etc.]" Better yet, unless there is a real need, don't
even draw attention to the fact that it is or is not real. It will likely
be obvious that it is not. For what I do, this type of set-up and scenario
work well. But it may not for what you are doing.

Consider the following situation:
Darren, a technical writer for Lathorn Inc., is purchasing anvils for
his animation-based client....

I must say that I do not like a disclaimer at the beginning, which would
note the names have been changed or the compnies noted herein are not real
... it sounds like I am about to watch an ABC movie: "Not without my Anvil."

Note: I made up the word Lathorn and did a quick google for a company by
that name - nope, none. Not a perfect science, but pretty assured. You can
have that one - my gift.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Darren Barefoot" <darren -at- capulet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 2:22 PM
Subject: Using Fictional Companies and Case Studies

> Hi,
> I'm writing a whitepaper for a client, and including a fictional case
> study. Basically, it describes the problem this invented company (we'll
> call it 'Acme') has, and how my client's product solves that problem.
> We want to indicate that this is a fictional company, but I'm unsure of
> the wording. This is what I currently have, which is pretty lame:
> "Acme (a fictional company) sells large roadrunner-killing anvils..."
> Does anybody have a better suggestion? I should clarify that I am not
> using the name Acme, as that's trademarked. Cheers. DB.
> Darren Barefoot
> Capulet Communications
> Words. Words. Words.

Using Fictional Companies and Case Studies: From: Darren Barefoot

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