Top 10 Marketing Blunders of 2008

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?)

GRAND PRIZE FOR SUSTAINED ORGANIZATIONAL EFFORT

(tie)

The John McCain Presidential Campaign

  • “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
  • Has no idea how many houses he (or his wife) owns.
  • Picks Sara Palin, the Broad to Nowhere who couldn’t find Russia or Africa on a map.
  • Campaign adviser and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Palin couldn’t run a major corporation.
  • Campaign adviser and former senator Phil Gramm says Americans are whiners about economic problems.
  • “Shutting down” his campaign to fix the bailout.
  • “Lipstick on a pig”
  • Egregious attack on Dungeons & Dragons that clearly cost him the election. (OK, maybe not so much the last one).

GM

Runners Up

  1. Ford features “Space Oddity” — a song about astronaut suicide — in new car campaign.
  2. Framingham State College  uses the word blah 137 times in a 312-word fundraising letter.
  3. Disney (multiple entries): Bans kids from DisneyWorld restaurant; Changes “It’s A Small World” to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America; and Sells “High School Musical” panties for tween girls with the phrase “Dive In” on them.
  4. Woolworths (UK) launches Lolita brand of beds for young girl
  5. JetBlue lives up to Southwest’s parody ad by charging for pillows.
  6. Russia uses smiling kids in tourism ad for war zone
  7. Residents of Lesbos sue those other lesbians over brand name
  8. Motrin gets headache from viral moms video
  9. Butcher’s ads feature “Meat Products, Fresh Service” on naked woman
  10. Hershey asks if you’ve found Mr. Goodbar

Special Jury Awards

Co-Branding That Shouldn’t Have Been

The Alpha & Omega of Over-reaching

Product Failure

The Penguins Of Irony “Oh NO You Din’t” Awards

Previous years’ lists

Penguin seal

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Obama carried all the “really” red states

My latest from BlownMortgage (with charts and facts and everything!):

Popular opinion has it that Barack Obama won because he took some red states away from John McCain. Nonsense. Obama won all the red states. And McCain won all the black states. But this has nothing to do with that stupid red state/blue state dichotomy. This is about the much more tangible difference between red (ink) states vs. black (ink) states.

As this chart from the Wall Street Journal shows, Obama carried 18 of the 20 states where housing prices have dipped into the red – according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight house price index for the second quarter. Those two that went for McCain? Arizona and Alaska – which makes their anomalous standing understandable.

Election snoozer

The press has been trying not to call this one for days. A careful reading of the stories has shown journalists who felt obliged to offer a McCain win as a plausible outcome.  The only thing at issue is the size of the Democratic victory. Given the condition the nation is in this is hardly surprising. My sympathies to Sen. Obama. I do not envy anyone who gets the job.

Who’s winning the World of Warcraft vote?

While McCain’s ad hominem attack on Dungeons & Dragons earlier this year would seem to put him at a distinct disadvantage, the poll results are surprising. And incredibly funny.

Thanks to Mike Elgan who writes the wonderful blog Raw Feed for this one!

Strategy and tactics fail at the debate

I gotta say that Friday night’s debate brought out a feeling of bipartisanship in me. I was equally irritated both of them. Obama was testy and McCain was dismissive. By the end of it I had thoroughly switched my vote: Jim Lehrer for president.

One thing in particular that irritated me was the pissing match over the definition of the word “strategy” and how it differs from the definition of the word “tactics.”

MCCAIN: I’m afraid Senator Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy.

Obama responded that he did know the difference and I’ll tell you that neither one knows the difference because there isn’t one.

Via Encarta

Tactic: a method used or a course of action followed in order to achieve an immediate or short-term goal

Strategy: a carefully devised plan of action to achieve a goal, or the art of developing or carrying out such a plan

This isn’t just some semantic nitpicking thing of mine, military types from generals to historians have had long discussions on just this topic without coming to anything like an agreement on it. The debate boils down to this: How can you tell the difference between a tactic and a strategy? In some popular usage tactics are believed to apply to smaller efforts and achieving, as the definition says, short-term goals — whereas strategy means grand plans.  Right. Even if we accept those definitions the fact is that one defines and determines the other to such an extent that there’s no real line about where one ends and the other begins.

So as McCain and Obama tried to play king of the hill on this one, I just sputtered. I knew they were either posturing, lying or wrong. What else is new?

Expert & McCain adviser says Palin couldn’t run Hewlett-Packard

When it comes to not being able to run HP it’s hard to get a more reliable source than former CEO Carly Fiorina.

“Do you think [Palin] has the experience to run a major company, like Hewlett Packard?” Fiorina was asked on a St. Louis radio show.

“No, I don’t,” Fiorina said without further explanation.

“I would just remind you that it is Barack Obama who is running for president,” Fiorina said. “Sarah Palin has more experience than Barack Obama has.”

Under Fiorina’s tenure at HP, the company’s stock went from 45.36 to 20.14.

Forecast: Mud with more mud followed by a storm of masculine bovine feces

I have no idea where he got it, but CollateralDamage Sr. sent along the following. No matter where you stand politically this seems to me to just be good comedy.

Elsewhere:

Hard to believe that truthiness — the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true –was the 2005 Word of the Year.  Can you have a repeat winner?

OK and for the record … I was right when I said Palin was a brilliant pick for McCain. I just didn’t know how right I was. And for the record, I also predicted that Obama would win by a lot. Hmmmm …