How to get a piece of the government bailout

My latest from BlownMortgage:

At this point in the economic down-turn there’s really only one question on most of our minds: How can I become a commercial bank or an automaker?

Old friend Helen Kennedy put it succinctly in The New York Daily News: “Two more pillars of the American economy are coming to Washington hat in hand: American Express and Detroit’s Big Three. The struggling New York-based credit giant reportedly wants a $3.5 billion bailout. American Express got permission to become a bank holding company this week, making it eligible for a piece of the $700 billion bailout.

The Federal Reserve gets to make the decision about who gets to be a bank. Since the Fed has already decided to leave us all holding the bag for bank companies, it seems only fitting that we should also get a chance at being a bank holding company as well.

Use the following checklist to see if you qualify:

  • Do you need to cut borrowing costs?
  • Are your main sources of funding in danger of going away?
  • Do you need access to government money?
  • Has your inability to get credit endangered your fiscal health?
  • Would the ability to issue government-backed bonds keep you solvent?
  • Are you willing to take deposits from both consumers and companies?
  • Is your current role in the financial system mostly watching your investments lose money?

If you answered yes to all these questions then CONGRATULATIONS!!! You clearly meet all the essential qualifications needed to be a bank holding company.

Not sure of all that it takes to become an American car company but I do know I can fulfill one of the basic obligations: I guarantee no one will want to buy a car I build.

Is it just me or does the plan to throw more money at the car companies give new meaning to the phrase “Grand Theft Auto”?

Death is the hottest trend in marketing

Oddly enough, sports leads the pack in making a buck by showing how to truly be a die-hard fan.

It started a few years ago with the advent of coffins with sports logos on them but mere licensing wasn’t enough for one soccer/football team. Next month, the Barcelona-based Primera Liga club — aka Espanyol — will open a repository for 20,000 fans’ ashes at their new stadium Cornella-El Prat. “The columbarium will occupy 1,000 square metres over three floors in a corner section of the stadium. There will be 5,000 niches available, each capable of holding four urns.” The team expects to make $6.9 million over the next 15 years from this. As gruesome as this sounds, it has to be noted that sports teams didn’t come up with this idea. They are simply responding to demand from the fans.

It is a tribute to the marketers everywhere that an increasing number of people want their brand identity known even when they are forgotten. Thus, the Hello Kitty headstone.

Sorry, but I think Kuromi is more brand appropriate.

Coffins and urns are clearly the co-branding channel of choice here. A gentlemen in Illinois pre-ordered a Pabst Blue Ribbon casket. Look closely at the picture and you will see he has a fondness for more than just PBR. This should make for an interesting discussion should he ever arrive at an AA meeting.

If you cannot find the brand of choice, contact Creative Coffins in the UK which offers a line of customized (or “bespoke”) coffins. Some of their offerings:

More after the jump…

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O.J. Simpson named Worst Marketing Idea for 2nd Consecutive Year

Last year, you will recall, “The Juice” was at the center of Judith Regan’s down fall after she brilliantly decided to publish “I Did It,” his theoretical depiction of the murders that we’re sure he didn’t commit.

This year, Simpson is at the center of a marketing effort for “All-Pro Football 2K8,” from Take-Two Interactive Software the company behind “Grand Theft Auto” and “Manhunt 2.”

“All-Pro Football” features the likenesses of 240 retired National Football League players, including Simpson, whom game users can assign to fictional teams with preset names, one of which is “The Assassins.” As previewed on a Web site for video game promotional trailers, the team mascot is a hooded figure who makes stabbing motions with a large knife in the end zone when the Assassins score. Simpson does not have to be assigned to that team, but he was in a clip shown on the Game Trailers Web site.

Here’s the best part of the story, though:

Take-Two has declined to say how it obtained rights to Simpson’s name and likeness but said he was compensated. The company also has issued a statement saying the knife-wielding Assassins mascot is “not specifically associated with O.J. Simpson, and the game does not promote any such connection.”

Wow. Exactly what pharmaceuticals you have to be on to be able to write a statement like that? And when they wear off, how do you look yourself/wife/children in the eye? I’d rather work for a cigarette company.

The good news, such as there is, a judge has already ordered Simpson to cough up any cash he got from the deal. I wish he could issue a similar order against Take Two.