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?

Taco Bell goes retro with “Where’s the beef?” defense

Want to know when you’ve lost the PR battle? When you get headlines like this:

Taco Bell Defends Beef, Calls Suit ‘Bogus’

tacobellTaco Bell’s real problem is that this lawsuit doesn’t sound that outlandish. It just confirms a lot of people’s secret suspicions – whether true or not. Taco Bell’s brand promise is cheap, pseudo-Mexican-themed food. Nobody looks at them and thinks, “Good food.” They think, “Inexpensive, filling and no I don’t really want to know what’s in it.” Even the company’s defense plays into this. Chihuahua HQ has put out a press release saying,

Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88% quality USDA-inspected beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture.

“88% of our meat is actually meat. No, really.” You’re not going to win a lot of hearts and minds with that one guys.

What the company needs to do is go with this instead of fighting it. How about an ad campaign with a Lenten theme – “Taco Bell, perfect for meatless Fridays.” Or, “Taco Bell – Fast food for vegetarians.”

I’m moderate as Heck! Signs proposed for the Rally to Restore Sanity

 

Huffington Post is inviting readers to create the sign they want to see at the Rally. Here’s a few of my faves:

Mencken Sign ribs

gun

odonnel

mad as hell

moderate

muslin

homer

cat sanity

pinky image

BP marketing satire failure

In an attempt to cash in on the rage at BP, the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League say batting practice has been renamed hitting rehearsal. So now we have HR instead of BP. It’s like humor without the funny part. C’mon PEOPLE! You can do better than this.

ManateesLogo Further, this quote by the Manatees GM Kyle Smith is just marketing BS: “As an organization, we feel that changing the term ‘batting practice’ and ‘BP’ to ‘hitting rehearsal’ shows that we are deeply concerned and hurt by the disaster on the Gulf coast. We hope to send a message to the community that we are definitely worried with the pollution that is in the waters off the Gulf Coast and its potential impact on the beaches here in Brevard County.”

That said, I do think the team has a great logo.

In other BP news, CEO Tony “Sticks & Stones” Hayward said he does not fear the idea that the US may look to make an example of company executives. "I’m not anxious about being arrested," he said, when asked about the possibility some of BP’s executives could end up in prison.

Because the Feds would send them to a white collar lockup I say we let Louisiana courts take care of this. Angola or bust, baby!

And finally here are two lists I compiled of the best and oddest baseball team names ever.

From my diary: How I survived the iPad launch

Friday, April 2

6:30 AM Wake up and realize that in addition to not being one of the industry/media insiders who got an early iPad, now I am also not one of the great masses who have an iPad. Consider suicide. Opt for brushing teeth.

7:00 Think that if I had an iPad I would probably whack it against my head out of frustration over trying to wake 13-year-old son. Realize I have saved myself $499 + shipping.

7:09 Wonder if iPad can make coffee. Or toast. Or maybe walk the dog.

7:15 Looking at Boston Globe and Wall Street Journal old school! Spill bad coffee and wipe some of it up with Journal Op-Ed pages. Let’s see the iPad do that! (And pleased to find a new use for WSJ Op-Ed pages now that dog is house broken.)

7:30 – 9 AM Manage to shower and dress without use of iPad. Did miss some shaving cream behind ear. Blame lack of an iPad.

9:02 Check twitter. Friend (@JPMello) is posting regular updates of his iPad’s delivery via UPS tracking. Consider referring him to a therapist, again.

9:15 Driving down town & am shocked by the amount of traffic on the streets. Figured iPad Friday would be akin to Super Bowl Sunday. Am wrong. Realized that if I’d had an iPad I wouldn’t have made this mistake.

9:30 Get out of car only to realize not having an iPad makes me feel underdressed. Wait, I’m wrong. It’s my lack of pants. If I had an iPad maybe people would stare at that and not my Hello Kitty underwear. (They were a gift from my wife, I’ll have you know!)

9:32 Put on spare pair of pants kept in back seat of car. Experience is a cruel teacher.

9:35 AM – 11:30 PM Attend Anime Boston. It’s the largest collection of nerds in the Northeast this weekend and NONE OF THEM has an iPad. Not a single conversation all day refers to the iPad. And, in a crowd that features people dressed as robots, ninjas, obscure Japanese commercial logos, Flo from the Progressive ads and several very large men in Sailor Moon costumes (they really, really need to shave their legs) – NO ONE IS DRESSED AS AN iPAD! Thanks to this insight I call up my bookie and bet all my money that Steve Jobs will be out of a job by Monday. So to bed, secure in the knowledge that I am soon to be a millionaire.

 

Originally published at EmediaVitals

Congress waffles in face of national Eggo shortage

eggohide1Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi  is calling for swift action in response to a national Eggo frozen waffle shortage. In a speech today at the International House of Pancakes, Pelosi (DNot Amused) said the nation could not wait while the nation’s children were forced to pick something else for breakfast.

“This poses a threat to the entire educational system,” she said. “The time lost to choosing another breakfast food will cause massive delays of school start times which could snowball through the entire school day.”

The issue of how to handle the shortage, expected to last until at least next summer, has further polarized an already divided, split, segmented and bisected Capital Hill.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Cranky), accused the Obama administration of having a socialist Eggo agenda that posed a threat to national security and the economy. “Eggo! Al Qaeda! Dow Jones! Eggo! Al Qaeda! Dow Jones! Eggo! Al Qaeda! Dow Jones!” he said, until Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-To The Right Of You No Matter What) whacked the back of his head.

Earlier in the day, McConnell addressed the issue on a Fox News special, French Toast Sticks: Threat or Menace? At that time McConnell blamed the liberal media before offering to wipe some syrup off the chin of host Glenn Beck.

Pelosi said she would consider a bailout for the waffle industry and a public option for either butter or margarine. In a move widely seen as an attempt to placate moderate Democrats she promised there would be no government mandate for syrup.

Pelosi shattered any possibility of bipartisanship when she decried Republican attempts to link the crisis to Rep. Barney Frank’s waistline. Frank (D-“Those” People) defended himself by saying he owed his chubbiness to Dunkin’ Donuts. “The Massachusetts’ state constitution requires every resident to start the day with an extra huge coffee, regulah, and the donut of his or her choice.” Frank, who has an aide bring him his daily serving,  acknowledged that he may have a donut problem. “I don’t care if it’s sprinkles or coconut or icing,” he said. “But it BETTER HAVE SOMETHING!”

In an unprecedented move, the Obama administration offered a straight-forward opinion on the issue. When asked about the shortage First Lady Michelle Obama sighed, rolled her eyes and made us all feel silly for bringing up the issue in the first place. Later, she was crowned queen of Europe. Her husband is reported to have done something, too.

The shortage is a result of problems at Kellog’s Atlanta and Rossville, Tenn., plants. Eggo production won’t return to normal until it until the middle of 2010, said company spokeswoman Kris Charles. Already customers are noticing near-empty Eggo shelves on the freezer aisle at many grocery stores. This has scared many shoppers until they noticed the store brand frozen waffles.

Lawyers allege being a woman not a “Pre-Existing Condition”

A bunch of lawyers, in an attempt to provoke a SOCIALIST TAKEOVER of the great and beneficial insurance industry, are claiming that having a uterus is no reason to be charged HIGHER INSURANCE PREMIUMS.

The lawyers, working for the thoroughly unbiased National Women’s Law Center, even talked The Whimpernator –  COMMIE-SYMPATHIZER & SELLOUT Gov. Schwarzenegger, to sign a law state law banning gender rating, which is the practice of charging women higher insurance rates than men for the same services.

But wait it gets worse! The NWLC (clearly an ACORN front group) now wants this same OVER REGULATION applied TO THE ENTIRE NATION! The group’s hairy-legged leader, Marcia Greenberger, told the DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED SENATE,

"Across health insurance markets, discriminatory industry practices put fair and affordable coverage out of reach for far too many women. We have heard repeatedly from predominately female businesses that have learned that their health insurance premiums are higher because of the gender of their employees.”

Note that she said, “heard repeatedly from predominately female businesses.” Well they’re just a bunch of biased whiners. And get a load of these “statistics”

  • Women are charged as much as 48 percent more than men for health insurance. (OF COURSE THEY ARE! Men don’t have those naughty bits! Naughty bits are expensive!)
  • Of the more than 3,500 plans studied, 60 percent did not cover maternity care. (Maternity care is a another plot to subvert CAPITALISM! My mother didn’t care about me and look how I turned out!)

 

 

(Waits for someone to not get this…)

BitterlyBooks does great catty reviews of non-fiction books

I have no idea who is writing BittlerlyBooks but he/she/it/they are geniuses (or a genius).

Here’s just a few great quotes

From the review of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Second Life: Making Money in the Metaverse by Daniel Terdiman:

… there is detailed information on other opportunities in the adult services industry including sex fasion, sex clubs, sex animations, and sex furniture. For example, "escorts can earn from US$3 to US$14 in an hour. Again, over time, and with volume, it adds up pretty quickly"(p.17), or you can sell "a wide range of penises and vaginas in various sizes and levels of functionality and complexity"(p.165), and "there’s also fashion for all kinds of specific subcommunities, like furries"(p.16). Other chapters cover topics such land sales and construction, but they don’t have phrases like "people whose job it is to manage the escorts,"(p.166) which is nicest way of writing "pimps"(p.167) that I have ever seen.

From the review of Healing with Crystals by Pamela Chase and Jonathan Pawlik:

What is in this book: Instructions for owning and operating crystals, which are actually a lot like housepets. Pets that occasionally ask to be buried in dirt. "Crystals like to be stored in sunlight and open spaces. They like to be used and enjoyed"(p.34). You can ask your crystal questions about where it would be most comfortable: "Would you like to be on the window sill? By the bed? Etc."(p.51) and question it about its uses: "Shall I place you in my receiving hand, on my heart, on my third eye?"(p.51).

From the review of Game Widow by Wendy Kays

Would you recommend this book to widows of U.S. servicemen who were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan? Without reservation. Ms. Kays’ description of a game widow as “a woman whose husband might as well be dead to her because he is constantly engaged with video games”(p.xii) is as respectful to their situation as it is similar. The fact that Ms. Kays’ not-dead husband has earned a living by sensationalizing the ongoing sacrifices made by the United States Armed Forces and marketing it as entertainment can only add another layer of empathy and understanding.

I could quote more but I’m pretty sure I’ve already run afoul of the fair use rules.

My only complaints:

  1. New reviews are only published on the 1st and 15th of each month. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO IN THE MEANTIME???
  2. Needs more hardcore business books. If you can stay awake through them business books are comedy gold.

A moment of silence for one of the greats … Budd Schulberg

“The first time I saw him he couldn’t have been much more than sixteen years old, a little ferret of a kid, sharp and quick.”

Sammy Thus begins Schulberg’s novel What Makes Sammy Run? A satire of the movie business so accurate Hollywood is afraid to make a movie of it 68 years after it was published.

A planned DreamWorks production featuring Ben Stiller was in development in recent years. “I have a feeling they’re not going to do it,” Mr. Schulberg said in 2006. “It’s still a little tough for them.”

At the time it was published the movie studio heads were so incensed that Schulberg was blacklisted in Hollywood. In a biography of Samuel Goldwyn, writer Arthur Marx reports Goldwyn offered to pay Schulberg not to publish Sammy.

In time Schulberg played a part in blacklisting others. In the 1950s he testified as a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee investigating allegations of Communism in the motion picture industry. He named Hollywood colleagues as Communists. He defended himself by saying he named only people already known to the red-baiting committee.

Schulberg also wrote the movie On The Waterfront – an astoundingly good look at being poor in America. As well as some great reporting on boxing gathered together in the book The Harder They Fall. He was later voted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as an “observer,” a category established for journalists and historians.

After the riots in Watts in 1965,  Schulberg co-founded the Watts Writers Workshop and edited a compilation of stories, "From the Ashes: Voices of Watts." A supporter of Robert Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, he was among the last to speak with Kennedy before RFK’s assassination in Los Angeles.

Despite the meltdown too many still think money = brains

bank-zombie-3 Turn a profit and you must be a genius, despite two successive bubbles that is still the essential view of too many.

Yesterday Goldman Sachs reported record earnings mostly because they are profiting from a government system they (or their former-for-now employees) helped create.

In the wake of Countrywide, Madoff, Bear Stearns, Enron, AIG, etc., etc., it would be nice to think a we had acquired even a slight sense of skepticism. But even many of our supposedly cynical reporters rushed to gush over Goldman winning a rigged game.

Here’s NPR’s Yuki Noguchi on All Things Considered: “Dick Bove is senior vice president of research at Rochdale Securities. He says Goldman suffered during the crisis. It shed 16 percent of its workforce in the last year. But what revived Goldman, Bove said, is the diversity of its business and its superior internal systems. So while some aspects of its business falter, the rest goes gangbusters.”

“Superior internal systems”? Is that a euphemism for no competition left standing? Nor is she alone in using effusive praise in the place of actual facts. Reuters quotes Michael Holland as saying:

What they have continued to do during the worst financial crisis in 25 years shows that they are the smartest guys in the room and, therefore, it doesn’t necessarily translate to the other people who are in the room.

“The smartest guys in the room.” Mr. Holland uses the old Enron catchphrase without a trace of irony. Here is a view from Australia:

The fact Goldman Sachs made as much money in the second quarter as it did for all of 2008 is undeniably good news. It shows markets are open for business, and given that many of its peers are dead or recovering the investment bank demonstrates the benefits of well judged risks.

The markets are open for business? Doesn’t the second half of that sentence beg a few questions of the first half?

No surprise that our elected officials are only too happy to jump on board the bandwagon. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee: "I’m not surprised. Goldman Sachs has a history of being well run and sometimes ahead of the others."

All this happy talk leads to a rise in the markets which is used as further evidence of the brilliance of Goldman, et al. It was only two and half years ago when Countrywide was considered one of the most esteemed companies in the US.

Anyone remember that?

Anyone?

Bueller?

Thankfully not everyone is falling for it. Over at the Washington Post, Binyamin Appelbaum even put some skepticism in the lead: “… as the decimation of its Wall Street rivals allowed the investment bank to romp across the financial landscape, buying low and selling high.” While Goldman has repaid its $10 billion government loan, Applebaum (and a few others) had the temerity to point out that the company “has not disclosed to what extent it continues to rely on other federal rescue programs, such as borrowing from the Federal Reserve.”

New spray gives Kindle owners genuine smell of books

This could be what gets me to buy a Kindle:

book smell Does your Kindle leave you feeling like there’s something missing from your reading experience? Have you been avoiding e-books because they just don’t smell right? Smell of Books™ is compatible with a wide range of e-reading devices and e-book formats and is 100% DRM-compatible. Whether you read your e-books on a Kindle or an iPhone using Stanza, Smell of Books™ will bring back that real book smell you miss so much.

Should I get “Scent of Sensibility” or “Eau, You Have Cats”? Decisions, decisions.

I suggest you go to the DuroSport Electronics’ web site (the geniuses behind this) and read the full story behind Smell of Books, including the press releases

Hats off to DuroSport for the best mission statement I’ve ever read:

The DuroSport Electronics Corporation is dedicated to the creation of cutting edge consumer electronics that enrich the lives of our customers while posing almost no risk to their health or safety.

How come I never heard of these guys before?

(I found out about this at the great blog The Daily Obsessional)

New game is a wonderfully bitter version of the economic mess

crunch-box-3D

“Crunch, The Game For Utter Bankers” is a card game for anyone with a distinctly gallows sense of humor:

[It] allows you to experience the upside of down. Placed in the role of a global banking CEO, you have to juggle the conflicting demands of your ailing bank and your flourishing bank account. … Each player starts the game with a number of Assets in their bank, a small workforce and a few Trust cards. Trust is essential to your bank’s survival. Not only will capitalism falter without it, but each Trust card hides on the reverse a potential Government Bailout.

card-rebrandThis  is the latest product from the fine warped folks at TerrorBull Games and – judging by the website — it is as bitter and cynical as their last number: War On Terror: The Board Game. (Does anyone do bitter better than the Brits? They have a cultural gift for angry commentary that I have never seen equaled: Waugh, Ralph Steadman, Francis Bacon, Martin & Kingsley Amis, Thackeray, Joe Orton – the list just goes on and wonderfully on. While the US has some fine satirists only Mencken really ranks for among the great acidivists.)

An average game sees you bribing your way out of government investigations, fending off aggressive takeovers and forcing debt onto the unsuspecting public. Meanwhile, reward your hard work by taking inappropriate bonuses and – when no one’s looking – brazenly embezzling your bank’s own funds and hiding them about your person. Crunch is unique in that to win, players are coaxed into cheating.

Fittingly, the game will hit stores on April 1, but it is NOT a prank.

Full disclosure alert:

  • I have not played the game yet.
  • I am being given a free review copy.
  • The company has wormed its way into my heart by sending a free copy of War On Terror to a friend who is currently deployed in Afghanistan.

That said, if the game is half as fun to play as the website is to read it will be great.

card-toobigtofail Although the problems inherent in, say, spending over a trillion dollars on a war, while your country’s exports diminish year-on-year, would be apparent to the average school child, somehow everyone seemed caught off guard by this. And, being simple people, we started looking around to find out who to blame. …

Unfortunately, you can’t bomb the economy into shape, so looking for culprits was largely a waste of time. Even when bank bosses finally came under fire, it all felt like a bit of a diversion. Like sitting in an upturned, burning car and taking that moment to try and work out where you went wrong, when the car itself has no breaks, no steering wheel, tyres made out of butter and wood instead of glass for windows. And it’s not even a car, it’s an angry lion on roller skates and you’ve been trying to drive it.

Not sure if this will be as much fun as some tar and feathers – but I have my hopes up.

10 things a satirist gives thanks for

  1. The Bush Administration
  2. GM’s “leadership” (What’s the difference between the cub scouts and GM? Adult supervision.)
  3. Sarah Palin and her handlers sarah-palin-turkey-slaughter-big
  4. The voters of Minnesota. Jesse Ventura! Al Franken! (someone’s spiked the 10,000 lakes).
  5. Jaguar Land Rover for applying for a bailout.
  6. Barney Frank: “These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.
  7. The Chicago Cubscub curse
  8. Alan Greenspan
  9. The phrase “too big to fail.” Econ speak for: About to bite the dust.
  10. Joe Biden: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘look, here’s what happened.’”

Penguin seal

Bold predictions: “Thanksgiving air travel projected to fall”

Yep, that’s the official word from the Air Transport Association of America. Can’t wait for the followup study — “Toys: Do Kids Like Them?”

I hope I didn’t startle you too much with this one.

UPDATE:

Economic group says developed world in recession

In case you were still wondering.