The 6:30 AM news update on CNN started with Japan followed by the latest on Charlie Sheen. Click here for BBC World News America.
Image courtesy of the Great Gregory Marlowe
The 6:30 AM news update on CNN started with Japan followed by the latest on Charlie Sheen. Click here for BBC World News America.
Image courtesy of the Great Gregory Marlowe
Well, probably not. But it’s up there, that’s for sure. As Steven Colbert explains, the name is the result of a horrible combination of Federal regulation and Kraft’s desire for something trademarkable™. According to the Feds, if a “wing-shaped” or “bite-size appetizer product” doesn’t contain any “wing meat” it cannot be labeled as a “chicken wing.” And Pizza and Nuggets sounds like a kids meal. Memo to the fine folks at Kraft’s marketing department: You really didn’t need to ™, ®, or © the name. No one else will ever use it.
Here’s another issue: How do you order one of these? (We’ll leave the question of why for another day.) Is it a Wyng™? Or is Wyngz™ itself the singular and the plural is Wyngzes™? Also, these are described as “boneless Wyngz™.” Does that mean there is a version with a Wyngz™ bone still in it?
The problem with doing a Top 10 list of the year prior to the end of year is you run the risk of something else happening before you run out of calendar. Take this year, for example. No sooner had I posted the 10 Dumbest Marketing Moves then good friend Jim Forbes sends this to me:
Dark chocolate faces, big white eyes and huge pink lips, all happily singing. What could possibly be wrong about this? Please watch the whole thing to the end as the final image seems like something out of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled. The name of the ad, BTW, is Hip Hop Cupcakes. Which is just … well … icing on the cake of all this idiocy.
It’s impossible for me to think that Duncan Hines did this intentionally. I cannot believe a major corporation would choose to damage themselves in the marketplace to no advantage. That does NOT excuse this: Action matters more than intent. The only reasonable explanation is that they are morons. Going out on a limb here but I’d bet actual money that most of the marketers at the corporation and the agency are Caucasian. This disaster was so easily foreseeable and avoided it’s pathetic it happened in the first place.Yet another reason why diversity in the workplace is a bottom-line issue.
Online anger has forced the company to do the right thing and pull the ads. Yowsa.
This year it was a race for 2nd place because the top honors were nailed down before the rest of contestants were even out of the starting gate.
1) BP & Tony Hayward
Under the astute guidance of now former-CEO Tony “I want my life back” Hayward, BP proved time and time again why it so wisely decided to can its positioning as the environmentally friendly oil company. Here’s just a few of Tony’s finer moments:
But Tony didn’t win this award all on his own. No he had help from literally thousands of BP execs like BP spokesman Randy Prescott: who said, “Louisiana isn’t the only place that has shrimp.” While space prevents from listing all the asinine things the company did, here are a few of the lowlights:
Of course these last two would not have been achievable without the aid and support of the US government. Reporters calling The Coast Guard about their inability to go look at the ocean were (and maybe still are) ROUTINELY referred to the BP press office. So BP gets to enforce the 1st Amendment. Ahh, the watch/lap dogs of government.
Dishonorable mention for its actions also go to: Rep. Joe Barton and The House Conservative Caucus for apologizing to BP. They called the President’s pallid pursuit of the company a “Chicago-Style Political Shakedown.”
2) Christine O’Donnell
In The Great Book Of Political Campaigns the first rule is “Never Have To Deny That You Are A Witch”. Coming up with the other best quote of the year (“I am not a witch.” Like you needed to be reminded) was but one in a cascade of highlights for Delaware’s GOP candidate for Senate. She also thought that an ad pointing out she had never been to Yale would be a good thing. Instead it merely highlighted the fact that she hadn’t actually graduated from college at all – despite her claims to the contrary. But, in the silver lining department, all the hoopla around her claims did get her to finally finish up the work on the degree she had begun working for 17 years earlier. Two weeks before election day she was awarded a BA in English from Fairleigh Dickson University. Despite having a degree in English it turned out that reading was not her strong suit shown when when she claimed that the separation of Church and State was not, in fact, a part of the constitution.
Not content to go quietly into the good night, O’Donnell returned to the public stage earlier this month, telling a gathering, “Tragedy comes in threes. Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards’s passing and Barack Obama’s announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits.” Tragedy may come in threes, but in this instance stupidity is singular.
3) TIE: Sharron Angle/Alex Sink/Libby Mitchell
4) Summer’s Eve says, “Want a raise? Wash your vagina.”
The literal and metaphorical douchebags at Fleet Labs ran a full page ad in Women’s Day that opened with the headline, “Confidence at Work: How to Ask for a Raise.” It then listed eight steps to getting more money out of the boss. Number 1? “Start with the usual routine and all things you do to feel your best, including showering with Summer’s Eve Feminine Wash or throwing a packet of Summer’s Eve Feminine Cleansing cloths into your bag for a quick freshness pick-me-up during the day.”
5) Montblanc regrets “honoring” Gandhi with $24K fountain pen
Either Montblanc’s execs have a brilliant sense of irony or they’re complete idiots. I’ll report, you decide. Whichever is the case, they have “unconditionally apologized” to an Indian court about it – at least until the court rules on whether the company can continue to sell the pen. The pen was marketed as a way of honoring 140th birthday of the brilliant spokesman for the poor.What, you may ask, justifies the $24,000 cost of this ink delivery system?
“The gold and silver limited edition pen includes an engraving of Gandhi and comes with an eight-meter golden thread that can be wound around the pen, representing the spindle and cotton Gandhi used to weave simple cloth.”
Montblanc made only 241 of the handmade pens, one for each mile Gandhi walked in his famous march against salt taxes in 1930. It should be noted that the company did think of the needs of the less affluent consumer when producing this pen. They are also offering ballpoint and rollerball versions for a mere $3000 per.
6) Drake University boasts about being a D+ school
Let’s pretend you are an institution of higher learning. Let’s say the name of your institution starts with the letter D. Now you want something special for your marketing, something that talks about the special magic that occurs when a student comes to your university. So what do you call it? Anything BUT “D+.” Well, unless you’re Drake University. Much to the school’s surprise, some have taken the now-dead recruitment campaign amiss. Go figure. Maybe they needed a better slogan. How about, “Drake, the ultimate safety school.” I sure hope the faculty are smarter than the admissions office. The only thing dumber than the campaign is the school’s effort to explain it away.
“In hindsight, introducing the concept and the testing that was conducted with the target audience may have minimized some of the concerns that have been expressed, and we are very sorry that many of you were caught by surprise as a result.”
They used 42 words to say “Mistakes were made.”
“Our experience in the survey and in the field suggests that the kind of students whom we want to attract to Drake easily understand and appreciate the irony of the D+.”
Ahhh, irony the last excuse of the incompetent. Or, as Calvin Trillin once said, “I never did very well in math – I could never seem to persuade the teacher that I hadn’t meant my answers literally.”
7) Medal of Honor video game shoots itself in the foot
Simple marketing rule: Don’t include a feature in your product that directly contradicts the name of your product. Case in point: The Medal of Honor video game from EA games. In this first person shooter, players get to pretend they are soldiers. I assume it lets you pretend you are a US soldier since those are the only people who can actually win a Congressional Medal of Honor. The latest version of the game — coming out next month — includes a feature where you can play as a member of the Taliban … and thereby shoot US soldiers. Here’s the brand disconnect: Shooting US soldiers is definitely NOT going to let you get a Medal of Honor.
Surprisingly, many people and organizations were upset by this. A lot of those people are the families of soldiers who have been killed in the war. Who could have seen that coming? Also upset is the commander of the US Army and Air Force Exchange Service (that’s the group that runs the stores on military bases), who has decided that they won’t sell the game. That will hurt because, as Sgt. Big Brother CollateralDamage can attest, military folk LOVE games like this. It will also hurt because it will make Walmart and co. think twice about stocking the game. Congrats, guys, on a blunder that could have easily been avoided.
8) Sperm Logo Sneakers
I can’t top what Rebecca Cullers wrote over at AdFreak:
Do you wake up in the morning wishing you could wear shoes with a picture of a sperm prominently displayed on them? Well, now, with Gravity Defyer sneakers, you can! The Web site refers to the sperm logo as the ‘Slick Seed of Life Logo,’ and says it’s there ‘because it’s cool!’ As you can see from the full-page advertisement … wearing these shoes is like pouring an energy drink on your feet. At least, I’m assuming the can (also covered in sperm pictures) that’s splashing liquid on the shoe is supposed to be an energy drink. In a press release, company officials explain how, despite a couple of retail partners who’ve pulled out due to the logo, they intend to keep it: “Our logo is deliberate. … There’s no shame, there’s pride,” they write. In my mind, there’s a big gap between not being embarrassed by sperm and wanting to have it all over my shoes.”
9) Video game lets players bomb illegal immigrants.
Spain’s conservative Popular Party launched the video game, Rescue, on its website as part of the party’s campaign for regional elections in Catalonia.
In the game, Alicia Sanchez-Camacho – the president of the PP branch in Catalonia – is depicted riding a white seagull called Pepe. She is dubbed Alicia Croft, in a reference to Lara Croft, the heroine of the popular video game Tomb Raider. Points are awarded to players when they direct the bird to bomb aircraft containing illegal immigrants or symbols of Catalan nationalism.
The game was taken down within hours and the party of course found someone else to blame for it. In this case, it was the developer who allegedly failed to follow directions. Instead of bombing the immigrants, the PP claimed, the seagull should have targeted the organized crime groups that traffic them.
Hey, who hasn’t made that mistake?
10) Magazine industry spends millions preaching to the choir
On a list of industries with too much money the leader would clearly be banking followed probably by oil. What about magazine publishing? While it is certainly ahead of typewriters (repair & manufacture of), I don’t think it would crack the top 1000. Despite this, the industry has collectively decided it is time to waste some of this precious resource. Thus the just-announced multimillion-dollar ad campaign touting the “power of print.”
The campaign, funded by five leading publishers, seeks to convince people that “magazines remain an effective advertising medium in the age of the Internet because of the depth and lasting quality of print, compared with the ephemeral nature of much of the Web’s content.”
And how are they going to get this message across? “Nearly 1,400 pages of the ads will be sprinkled through magazines including People, Vogue and Ladies’ Home Journal this year.”
Let me get this right – you’re going to tell magazine readers that reading magazines is a good thing? Maybe it’s just me but I’m pretty sure they already know. Aren’t the people you want to reach the ones who aren’t trying to discern the difference between the ads and the articles in GQ?
SPECIAL BONUS: BEST UNINTENTIONAL MARKETING MISTAKE OF THE YEAR
From TwinCities.com: Managers at a St. Paul sports bar have apologized to American Indian groups and pulled a Thanksgiving-weekend marketing campaign after receiving complaints about a racy poster that invited patrons to "drink like an Indian."
Since running the ad the bar has been – justifiably – on the receiving end of a lot of anger. What gets me about the ad is that in addition to being offensive it makes no sense. What does “Party like a Pilgrim” mean? The Pilgrims as a group were ostentatiously severe when it came to celebrations. Their idea of a big party was extra church services followed by a discussion of religious tolerance – which they were against.
American Apparel’s brand promise was a unique mix of “clothes made in the USA” and porn. The company alleged it manufactured things in a responsible way. (Mass layoffs earlier this year of the illegal workers who made their product in the USA did away with that one.) AmAp’s approach to marketing is best described as an NC17 version of “nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s.”
For most businesses this would have just been another horrid example of sex sells. For AmAp it seems to have been a reflection of CEO Dov Charney’s “issues.” Charney, who took most of the pictures of company employees used in the ads, was the defendant in so many sex-harassment law suits that you couldn’t keep track of them.The wonderful practices didn’t stop there – no surprise. AmAp was also accused of firing employees who weren’t attractive enough and, Gawker reported that,
Charney "made store managers across the country take group photos of their employees so that he could personally judge people based on looks. He is tightening the AA ‘aesthetic,’ and anyone that he deems not good-looking enough to work there, is encouraged to be fired."
Happily Charney’s management style seems to have come back and bitten him in the ass. Today the Times reported that the company’s woes continued as it raised "substantial" doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern and warned it could breach a loan covenant, sending its shares down 22 percent to a lifetime low. This follows a Federal inquiry into AmAp finances which was spurred when the company’s auditor quit after warning of problems with the company’s financial reporting and the reliability of the company’s financial statement for ‘09.
BTW, Charney is the company’s largest shareholder. Huzzah. Justice, oddly enough, is served.
It took some time but Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co. finally realized what a bad idea buying Hummer would be. Yesterday the Chinese company announced it was pulling its offer to purchase the brand. From the start, the attempt to dump Hummer has been another testament to the company’s ineptitude. GM began trying to sucker someone into paying for the brand in June of 2008 – when gas was averaging $4.10 a gallon.
The Hummer’s greatest success may be as a metaphor for the past decade. It was a bloated, self-indulgent vehicle with no purpose other than to say, “Look how much debt I can take on just to show off how much debt I can take on.”* It proclaimed a belief that markets never go bad, in this case that gas will always be cheap. However it isn’t much of a stretch to say a similar belief permeated the minds who thought real estate could only gain in value.
The Atlantic is floating the scary idea that Hummer may not yet be dead and that someone may yet come along and revive the monster. Get the pitchforks and torches! Let us storm the castle and cut off the beast’s head and drive a stake through its transmission! For capitalism’s sake, follow me!
See also Hummer, slang meaning of.
*I know there are farmers and others who actually used the damn thing for work purposes, they are exempt from this metaphor.
Hysterical story in today’s journal headlined: Twitter’s Value Is Set at $1 Billion
Twitter Inc. is nearing a deal for as much as $100 million in new funding that would buy the fast-growing Internet-messaging company more time to figure out its business model, according to people familiar with the situation.
But the punch line comes in the 3rd graph:
The investors are valuing Twitter – which has yet to generate more than a trickle of revenues – at more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the plan. That’s more than triple the valuation Twitter received during its last round of capital raising in February, underscoring how quickly the company has grown.
So let me see if I understand, the companies who are giving $100M to Twitter say Twitter is worth more than 10 times that amount. Hmmm. Well they are certainly an unbiased source.
By the way, CollateralDamage.biz is worth more than $10 million so you should want to buy it while the price is still this low, say people familiar with my bank account.
So we now know it takes about 10 years to forget the lessons of a bubble burst. Remember the .com bubble?
Companies with no way to generate actual money were suddenly worth absurd amounts because … well … because. As far as I can tell Twitter’s business model is to be bought by Google. To date Twitter has proven to be a very popular supplementary application. People use Twitter and all there other methods of communicating. It isn’t supplanting either email or blogs AND (this is big) it is NOT popular with the teens to 20s demographic, which means it doesn’t have a future.
This just got added to the WSJ site:
SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)–Micro-blogging service Twitter Inc. said Friday it had closed a "significant round of funding," a deal that will give the wildly-popular startup more time to develop a business model.” Twtter said investors included Insight Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price (TROW), Institutional Venture Partners, Spark Capital and Benchmark Capital.
There’s gotta be a pony in there somewhere, right guys? Hey, anyone seen my Kozmo.com messenger bag?
The politicians in Tennessee must think the state suffers from overcrowding. How else to explain the recently passed bill allowing handguns in bars and restaurants.
Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson, the main sponsor of the bill, said state Safety Department records show handgun permit holders in Tennessee are responsible.
Sans booze many people are considered responsible. Perhaps the good senator thinks the bill addresses the issue because while you can bring a gun into a bar – it is still illegal to consumer alcohol while carrying one. So only the designated driver can pack heat? Who gets to enforce this one? Because the only way you’re going to know that part of the law has been violated is when you find out you have a drunk armed guy to deal with.
Kind of redefines what it means to order a shot at the bar.
Supporters no doubt point to the fact that the new law still allows owners to ban weapons from their establishments. But I have to wonder how many bar and restaurant owners are going to think people are going to want to go to a joint that has to post a sign reading, “No guns allowed.” Either you’re a namby pamby who thinks the place has a problem with guns or you’re cowboy-wannabee who doesn’t want to go anywhere his pistol isn’t welcome.
Hmmmn, how about “No shoes, no shirt, no Smith & Wesson, no service.”
I would love to know A) What problem this was supposed to address?; and B) What kind of condition Tennessee is in that the legislature would make passing this bill a priority?
OMG – here is a truly sobering fact: Tennessee is the 37th state to adopt such a law.
Question: Is it legal to bring guns to AA meetings?
I write this as someone who actually has no problems with people owning guns. While I do not own any myself, during a six-week summer vacation with the US Army I actually learned one the lesser acknowledged facts of life: Machine guns are fun. I can say with no false modesty that I have killed my fair share of skeets. My problem is not with guns it is with a basic fact of the human condition: People are stupid. If everyone were as diligent and responsible gun owners as either SFC Big Brother Collateral Damage or the population of Switzerland (there is literally a sub-machine gun in the home of nearly every adult male in the country) then I would have no problem with NRA’s guiding policy of “Guns for babies.” But until then …
MEDIA ADVISORY, April 20 /Christian Newswire/ — In a book released today, on Hitler’s birthday, Author Joe Keysor combats the growing charge that Christianity fed the Nazi purge of the Jews and Hitler’s hatred in his book "Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible: A Scriptural Analysis of Anti-Semitism, National Socialism, and the Churches in Nazi Germany."
Many Christians are unaware that their faith is being painted more and more as the reason for Hitler’s hatred for the Jews and the cause of the Holocaust. "New" Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are doing their best to depict all religion as dangerous and Christianity included. Other secularists have continued this train of thought by asserting that Hitler was a Christian.
Press release of the day (emphasis added):
Billionaires, Multi-millionaires & Real Estate Gurus & experts have joined together to help one another and make more money than ever. Lawrence “LG” Loik, the president & founder of The Real Estate Investor Network states that “these entrepreneurs & experts want to give back to society” and are showing anyone from any economic environment how to “get back on their feet & beat the recession.” Loik announced the opening of the “SuperCamp Series” in Los Angeles on May 2-3. The Official name is, The Deal Maker Summit & Masters of Real Estate Marketing SuperCamp.
They want to give back to society by taking money from it.
One of the speakers: Donald “King of Bankruptcy” Trump. I’d rather listen to Rick Wagoner.
Blackwater Worldwide — the “security” firm known for its employees shooting at least a dozen Iraqi civilians — is trying to rebrand away its notoriety. It will henceforth be known as Xe. That’s pronounced zee, as in “zee idiots in marketing thought of it.”
Blackwater president Gary Jackson said in a memo to employees the new name reflects the change in company focus away from the business of providing private security. “The volume of changes over the past half-year have taken the company to an exciting place and we are now ready for two of the final, and most obvious changes,” Jackson said in the note.
One of those changes probably has something to do with getting out from under those damn subpoenas. Hopefully rebranding means there will be a sale at the Blackwater USA Pro-Shop (not making it up). Although at $10 each it’s hard to get a better deal than these adorable teddy bears. Just the thing for your favorite toddler!
Yeah, there’s a lot more than 10 here. What can I say? It was a very good year for very bad things.
(PS: If you liked this would you mind going here and voting for it on Digg?)
Special Jury Awards
Co-Branding That Shouldn’t Have Been
The Alpha & Omega of Over-reaching
The Penguins Of Irony “Oh NO You Din’t” Awards
Previous years’ lists
They’re going to do a remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show. What a horrible idea — although it is in keeping with the Return to the 1970s thing that has seized the zeitgeist — inflation, gas you can’t afford to buy, ABBA, to name just a few of the current phenoms.
It is impossible to think that anyone will be able to fill Tim Curry’s garters, let alone have a voice nearly as fabulous. I mean how do you top having Susan Sarandon AND Meatloaf in your movie??? Please.
The original was THE initial coming-out event for many of my friends (“Oh, mom, I’m just dressing up like the guy in the movie … why are you reading so much into this?”). It is also beloved by three VIPs in my life: Mrs. CollateralDamage, Mother CollateralDamage, and my late great wrestling coach, Jack Peckett.
The man had seen Rocky Horror Picture Show more times than anyone I had ever met. Why? He just loved it. One time as we pulled up at a tri-meet (wrestling being what it is you can have several teams wrestle at once) vs. the US Merchant Marine Academy and some other school we had no chance against, he looked up at the school and back at his van full of wrestlers and asked without a trace of irony: “Whatever happened to Fay Wray?” He had a knack for always knowing the right thing to say.
Personally, I prefer the soundtrack to the actual movie but that’s just me.
How much will this movie suck? Oh, beyond all measure.
Joe Winiecki, of Largo, Fla., boarded a Southwest flight in Columbus, Ohio, wearing a T-shirt for a fictional dishing shop which featured the words, “Master Baiter.” Winiecki said he was in his seat when an employee told him he had to change his T-shirt, turn it inside out, or get off the plane.
Earlier this year a Southwest flight attendant/waiter told a woman in a tank-top that she must either cover her cleavage or get off the plane.
Just a note to Southwest: Fashion police is a good brand differentiator if you’re the Queer Eye guys, not if you’re an airline.
Wonder if my readers from Trout Underground know which bait shop this is?