Round-up of the week’s odd marketing stories

  • Anti-Religion ad banned: Last month the South African Advertising Standards Authority banned an ad from a church for claiming miracles, this month UK’s ASA banned posters from the British Humanist Association asking people to check the “No Religion” box on census forms. The reason? They had the “potential to cause widespread and serious offence.”
  • 575-pound spokesman for Heart Attack Grill dies: ‘Heart Attack Grill is an unabashedly unhealthy restaurant – the menu consists of huge burgers, milkshakes and fries cooked in lard – and having such a big man as a spokesman was part of its tongue in cheek “glorification of obesity.”’
  • LA Clippers celebrate Black History month after Black History month ends: Not surprising really. As AdFreak points out “given [team owner Donald] Sterling’s standing as a poster boy for racial intolerance and bigotry, I’m amazed he missed it by only two days. By all accounts, this meathead is about as racially progressive as Archie Bunker. This is a guy who paid $2.73 million in 2009 to settle a federal lawsuit that claimed he discriminated against blacks and Hispanics when renting apartments in L.A.”
  • Del Monte unveils individually plastic wrapped …bananas. In case that wasn’t silly enough, the company claims the biodegradable wrappers are part of a “green initiative.”
  • Aussie schools sell booze for fundraising:  “The Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) has written to every school principal in the country asking them to reconsider the sale, use and promotion of alcohol products when raising money. In the open letter, chairman Dr John Herron said there were concerns students were being used as "couriers" between school and home for advertising material, forms and payments for alcohol as part of fundraising activities.”
  • Pizza chain offers cheesy apology for insulting LeBron James

    In an effort to have their vaguely pizza-like product and eat it too, Papa John’s “issued an apology to Cleveland and the Cavaliers for making T-shirts with LeBron James‘ number and the word ‘crybaby’ under it.”  On Thursday Cleveland residents will be able to get a large, one-topping alleged pizza from the chain for 23 cents, James’ jersey number. The company is also kicking in $10K to a charity sponsored by the Cavaliers.

    Second prize is two Papa John’s pizzas for 23 cents.

    Yes I know there are places in this nation where Papa John’s is considered good pizza. I weep for those places. In Boston we have places that have already been closed by the Health Department that make better.

    Three stories by me from Brandweek

    First, the one that won me the coveted Satan beat: Companies Have Devil Of A Time Denying Rumors

    16th minute logoNext is this week’s installment of The 16th Minute: Pet food recall catches brands with their product down.

    Then there’s the full-length story on the problems with marketers and Second Life: Are marketers dying on Second Life?

    Can ballerinas dunk?

    I was not aware of how much I needed the answer to this question until I saw this truly excellent video by the Charlotte Observer’s Jeff Elder. I suspect the test is a little rigged via lower-than-regulation-height basketball hoops. Either that or Mr. Felder is much more athletic than he looks. However it is worth it to see this cross of jete and jam.