Did someone say, “Bikinis with push-up tops for 8-year-olds?”

Abercrombie & Fitch is selling the ‘Ashley push-up triangle’ top  which features thick padding in the cup to give the illusion of a larger chest size. What’s news about that? It’s for girls 8 to 14.

Yes, for a mere $24.50 you too can pimp out your not-yet-tween girl and remind her that its all about the cup size.

Ambercrombie bikini

It’s good to see that old A&F (where my grandfather once went to kit-up for safaris) is keeping true to its newer brand promise of making money off the sexual exploitation of children. (If they’re going to do that shouldn’t they be a division of American Apparel? Here are the details on the latest in a long line of sex harassment suits against CEO Dov Charney.)

A few other things A&F has done to live up to its brand promise:

  • Ads that feature shop assistants in lieu of models, often posing semi-nude.
  • An ‘Impact Team’ to ensure all employees comply with its ‘look policy’.
  • Paid $2.2 million to settle a suit over allegations it forced its employees to buy and wear its clothes while on the job.
  • Paid $50 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by pretty much every non-Caucasian who made the mistake of getting a job with A&F.
  • Paid $13K to an employee forced to work out of site of the public because she had a prosthetic arm

Japanese PSA explaining Nuke disaster for kids is a whole new level of weird

Video featuring cute characters trying to avert nuclear disaster. The explanation of Chernobyl Boy is especially notable.

Because nothing in Japan is allowed to happen without its own cute icon.

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.”
  • Tarted-up Perry The Platypus wins Toy group at Wesminster Dog Show

     

    Last night an alleged “Pekingese” named Palacegarden Malachy won the Toy group at Westminster. HE IS AN IMPOSTER! As the pictures below prove “Malachy” is in actuality Perry The Platypus in shag carpeting!

    J’Accuse!

    ch palacegarden malachy

    perry-the-platypus-from-phineas-and-ferb

    My suspicions were raised when Mrs. CollateralDamage pointed out that someone had entered a cube of fur in the competition. As all right-thinking people know, the only cube-shaped animal is the brilliant co-star of the great Phineas & Ferb show. (See here for more photographic proof.) A little too appropriate that he won the Toy competition. I suspect the invisible hand of Disney marketing.

    At least we finally know the answer to the eternal question, “Hey, where’s Perry?”

    Disney puts straw in exactly the wrong place on this Princess™® sippy cup

    princess-pecker

    I’d ask “What were they thinking?”,  but I’m pretty sure thinking wasn’t involved in the process. Or, as Mrs. CollateralDamage put it over at her widely read blog BrokeHoedown

    I do not even know how to caption this. I found it difficult enough to just write the alt text for the image.

    Wow.

    Is DiGiorno Pizza’s “Wyngz” the WORST product name ever?

    wyngzWell, 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?

    FDA announces recall of “Toxic Waste® brand Nuclear Sludge® Chew Bars”

    2699393_370

    NOMINITAVE DETERMINISM IN ACTION!

    There’s really nothing you could possibly add to that headline but if you want to read the FDA announcement go here.

    Vogue’s hot, new fashion trend: Sexually exploiting children for fun and profit

    Here’s what Xeni Jardin said at BoingBoing and I can’t do better (click here if you want to see one of the pictures.):

    The December issue of French Vogue, edited by Tom Ford, features an extensive spread of child models presented more or less like whores. The girl above is 6. Lemme spell that for you: s-i-x! I’m a big Tom Ford fan. Or, well, was. Artistic freedom and everything, and no, this shouldn’t be made illegal—but I believe this is Totally Not Cool.

    Apparently French Vogue is where they run all the most appalling stuff. They managed to hit #5 on 2009’s list of Top 10 Marketing Blunders with a salute to black-face featuring a photo spread of the very Caucasian Lara Stone painted head-to-toe in dark make-up. Keep up the good work gang! It’s going to take a lot of work to keep them out of 2011’s Top 10.

    American Girl’s Hawaiian doll is a Caucasian

    Hawaiian my assWhen last we checked in with American Girl™®© they were selling a doll which they described as homeless for a mere $95. But that’s so 2009. They are kicking off this year with their 2011 Girl Of The Year®, Kanani Akina™ who “loves welcoming visitors to her Hawaiian home.” No big deal if it weren’t for the fact that Kanani has dark blonde hair, brown eyes and a skin color that suggests a health-minded approach to tanning. In other words, she doesn’t look in the least bit like actual native Hawaiians who usually have black hair, black eyes and a darker skin color. It is especially odd that American Girl™®© decided to call American Surfer Girl Hawaiian at a time when The World’s Most Famous Hawaiian (and Leader of The Free World™®©) is known for his surfeit of melanin.

    lilo2In Hawaiian Kanani means"the beautiful one." Apparently the beautiful one in Hawaii is Haole. While her last name, Akina, may sound Hawaiian it is actually Japanese (another group known primarily for black hair and eyes and a distinctly non-Caucasian skin tone). So American Girl™®© just decided to appropriate some ethnic sounding names, put a flower in the doll’s hair and call it Hawaiian. Aznuts, as the Hawaiians say. Hell, even Disney – which has a very long history of messing up on ethnic issues — was able to do this right.

    wolf13This doll was brought to my attention by my wife, Jennifer — aka “Mrs. CollateralDamage” aka “Broke Hoedown” aka “One of Those Darn Cats” – who has spent quite a bit of time in Hawaii and so was totally flabbergasted when she came across it that her eyes did that Tex Avery thing. For that, at least, I can say, “Well done, American Girl™®©!”

    BTW, Soong-Chan Rah has a wonderful tale of a parent and child dealing with American Girl’s issues around ethnicity. Highly recommended.

    The latest word in banana protection technology … no, that’s not a euphemism

    bananaFirst there was the hard-case banana protector and now – the inflatable version. I’ve always thought bananas came pre-protected. Isn’t that what the peel is for? I’m always puzzled when I see people in the grocery store putting bananas into a plastic bag. What does that accomplish? Nor do I understand the squeamishness over a bruised banana. The bruised part is still edible, FYI. Has anyone created a coconut protector yet? There are certainly enough other fruit protectors on the market. The same company that makes this waste of plastic also makes “various designs of inflatables perfectly suited to apples, oranges and all kinds of round fruit.” ORANGES? What, pray tell, are we protecting them from?

    Court slaps Hello Kitty for stealing bunny

    miffy-copied1Sanrio has lost a cut of the oh-so-lucrative Benelux market (that’s Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, FYI). A Dutch court has ruled that

    a minimalist rabbit character dreamed up by Sanrio Co., the Tokyo-based parent company of the Hello Kitty empire, infringes on the rights of her arch-nemesis, Miffy.

    Do you love the idea that Kitty has an arch-nemesis as much as I do? A peremptory inspection of the characters appears to support the court’s decision. Given how generic they both look it’s hard for me to believe anyone deserves a copyright here. I mean how many ways are there to draw a cartoon bunny anyway?

    life in hell

    Oh, shut up Groening.

    Ronald McDonald rings opening bell on Wall St., then threatens to cut insurance for 30K workers

    These two items appeared in rapid succession in my Twitter feed:

    screen-shot-2010-03-17-at-12403-pm2 9:26 AM — @CNNLive ‘Ronald McDonald’ rings Wall Street opening bell. Live: http://on.cnn.com/cnndcl2

    9:29 AM — @WSJ McDonald’s says it may drop health insurance for nearly 30,000 workers unless a new requirement is waived http://on.wsj.com/acZl03

     

    In case you are wondering, you can follow me on Twitter at CurseYouKhan.

     

    Image is from Logorama, which won the Oscar last year for best short animation.

    penguin-seal

    Interview with a cranky guy talking about Disney, Epcot and American history

    TDC Apparently it was a slow news week on the Disney front because Mrs. CollateralDamage had to resort to interviewing me for her podcast, Those Darn Cats. Mostly I talk about how Disney screwed up the telling of American history in the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot. Don’t tell anyone but I also say a few nice things about the House of Mouse, too.

    Click here to listen or you can find it on iTunes under … wait for it … Those Darn Cats.

    Greatest product placement ever?

    A boy dropped his DS in a gorilla cage and inadvertently created the best photo op ever.

    gorilla-ds-1--article_image

    Via GamesRadar which has more great pictures.

    Drake University boasts about being a D+ school

    D 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.

    How to say “Mistakes were made,” in 42 words.

    [A] visual representation of the theme is a stylized D + graphic, which was designed to catch the attention of high school students who are bombarded with college and university materials to the point that they are often in information overload and unable to differentiate among the many institutions that have contacted them.

    Certainly no one else was saying that their school was one step above outright failure.

    When presented with a brochure cover design that featured the stylized D+ graphic, more than three-quarters of the respondents indicated the cover grabbed their attention either a little or a lot. In addition, nearly 90 percent of the respondents felt the concept was unique from other college and university materials they have seen.

    Numbers are nice but sometimes you have to use your brain.

    The D+ was not designed to stand alone or represent a grade. Instead, it was designed to be paired with prose and draw attention to the distinctive advantages of the Drake experience.

    Just because it was designed to do one thing doesn’t mean it doesn’t do something else as well. But the best is yet to come

    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.”

    Wonder what the folks who teach marketing at Drake think about this.