It’s Bounty v. Brawny as paper towel makers go back to court

papertowel-patterns Seems that P&G, makers of Bounty, and Georgia-Pacific, makers of Brawny (and herewith referred to as G&P just to make things more confusing) are once again in court fighting for paper towel supremacy. P&G filed suit against G&P last week because (quoth AdAge) the “bow-tie patterns in new-and-improved Brawny paper towels infringe the trademark bow-tie shapes in the quilts of P&G’s Bounty Extra Soft.”

This follows a lawsuit in March when G&P sued P&G over a claim of false advertising. P&G settled and agreed to modify its claims. “That suit alleged that while the quilts may have been thicker on improved Bounty, the towels weren’t.”

G&P also filed suit against Kimberly Clark (herewith K&C) because it’s Quilted Northern “prominently features a dog snuggled in a quilt with a diamond design.”

Someone needs to throw in the paper towel on this one.


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?)



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).


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

Wall Street sets record for most bounces from a single dead cat

My latest from BlownMortgage:

The markets continue to stagger around like  drunks after last call and with every bit as much connection to reality. As I write this, a half hour before the final bell, the Dow is up 11%, nearly 900 points for the day. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 are both up around 10%. All this despite reports of consumer confidence and home prices dropping faster than President Bush’s approval ratings.

Wall Street’s Queens of Denial were apparently responding to talk that the Fed will cut the prime rate by at least half a percent. This is just one more measure of how the markets are now a faith-based initiative. It doesn’t matter how low the rate is when there is no money to borrow. The system is still facing a liquidity crisis and even if it wasn’t we’d still be tanking. For better and mostly for worse consumers still drive the economy. Those of them fortunate enough not to be losing their houses are losing equity at an astounding clip. …

Pringles can designer is buried in one

Fredric J. Baur died May 4 at Vitas Hospice in Cincinnati. Baur, 89, had designed the Pringles potato chip packaging system for Procter & Gamble in 1966. Baur’s children said they honored his request to bury him in one of the cans by placing part of his cremated remains in a Pringles container in his grave in suburban Springfield Township.

There is no truth to the rumor that Pringles are people. Nor are they soylent green.

Procter & Gamble v. Amway Distributors: Original “Great Satan” has its day in court

The wheels of justice grind slowly, even if you have more than 20 billion-dollar brand-names in your corporate pocket. A dozen years ago P&G sued a bunch of Amway distributors in Utah who — it was alleged — repeated “a false rumor linking the household-products company to a Satanic church.” Closing arguments were heard Friday.

Best quote from the story:

The jurors will not be asked to determine whether the Satan-worship allegation is true – both sides have agreed it’s not – but whether the hellish rumor harmed sales of P&G products.

Too bad. I would much rather have had to decide on that first issue.

The defendants defense is also rather good: They were just repeating a rumor they believed to be true. I forget, is idiocy a valid defense?

P&G has been so dogged by this rumor that it has devoted an entire section of its website to denying it.

Snopes has a great section on the entire story, of course. All of this dates back to whenever it was that some loon or another decided he (you know it was a he) could see a 666 in the company’s man in the moon logo — WHICH ALSO HAS 13 STARS ON IT!!!

Since then the bizarre rumor has continued to resurface. Different versions have the president of P&G as saying he worshiped The Dark Prince during an appearance on either The Phil Donahue Show in 1994 or The Sally Jesse Raphael show in 1998. This is what makes the story so laughable. Anyone with half-a-brain could tell you that this sort of admission is ONLY done on Oprah.

The other thing that refutes this whole thing is also painfully obvious: If P&G were in charge of marketing the Church of Satan then the Church of Satan would now be synonymous with fun, perky and very clean. Also it would have a new smell — Goodbye sulfur, hello Firebreze®.

In the interests of full-disclosure: I have been to Mordor … er, Cincinnati … and interviewed both Saruman and Lord Voldemort several times (that’s what you get to call A.G. Lafley and Jim Stengel when they like you). So I’m probably part of the conspiracy, too. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

UPDATE: We’ll that didn’t take long. P&G 1, Amway-Types 0. Actually P&G $19.25 million, Amway-Types 0UCH.

Overly optimistic marketers think kids read

Marketers have discovered a novel way to get their word out: embedding products in books.The latest example is “Cathy’s Book,” a novel due out Oct. 2 about a teen determined to find out why her boyfriend dumps her, then mysteriously disappears. Procter & Gamble wrote a deal with the authors to include products such as Cover Girl’s “Shimmering Onyx” eye shadow and “Metallic Rose” lipstick in exchange for promoting the book on P&G’s teen Web site

While I support anything that gets more money to hack writers this is a dubious and thorougly un-needed expenditure. As Brett Easton Ellis’ fan(s?) can tell you: He lists brand names for free.

Stray thoughts posted while heading down to NYC…

  1. Headline of the (Easter Sun) Day: Episcopal Churches Turn to U2 to Pack Pews. And you thought Bono had an ego problem before…
  2. All time greatest name in marketing: Velvet Gogol Bennett of Procter & Gamble. How Ms. Gogol Bennett avoided a life as a performance artist is unknown.
  3. "A federal judge gave a ninth-grader permission Thursday to recite a poem at a state competition that his school objected to, claiming it contained profanity." No, no. Not the one about the person from Nantucket, that would have made sense. The poem: Auden's The More Loving One. The words in question: Hell and Damn. The jurisdiction in which this took place: Reno, land of heretofore unexpected moral probity.
  4. Scariest phrase of the day: litigation boutique as in "Simon Lesser PC, founded in 1997, is a litigation boutique centrally located in Midtown Manhattan." Be afraid, be very very afraid.
  5. When “Kinder Chocolate Eggs” are outlawed, only outlaws will have “Kinder Chocolate Eggs”
  6. When Chronic Candy is outlawed, only outlaws will have Chronic Candy: "Marijuana-flavored lollipops, gum balls and chocolates with names such as Hydro and Sticky Icky Buds could be banned in Alameda County under an ordinance being considered by the Board of Supervisors." Already banned in Chicago and Suffolk County, N.Y., and facing a possible ban in Georgia. Why haven't we heard from Reno on this one?