Game proves satire is world’s most dangerous marketing strategy

The War on Terror is still terrifying people. And in this specific case I mean the boardgame, not the George Bush Desert Classic. As readers will recall, War on Terror: The Boardgame was released in November of ’06 (though I was reporting on it in July of that year HAH!). The satiric game seems to be what would have happened had Randy Newman designed Risk.

“The ‘War on Terror’ was once just a violent hobby for greedy imperialists. Now, courtesy of TerrorBull Games, it’s also a boardgame! That’s right, now everyone can experience the thrill of waging war on an abstract noun – and liberate the world in the process.”

Components include an Axis of Evil spinner, a balaclava with the word “evil” printed across the forehead and a “Suicide Bomber Gift Certificate,” bearing the legend “thank you for funding the War on Terror.” I really think one of those should be given to every US taxpayer.

While I doubt it’s been a huge seller it has certainly been a PR bonanza for TerrorBull Games — one that just keeps on giving. Initially it was decried by every UK news organization with a slow news day and then banned by the big toy store chain over there. Also the company wasn’t allowed to even rent a booth at the London Toy Fair. More recently the game was cited by the police as evidence that a bunch of UK treehuggers at the Camp for Climate Action had a “sinister weapons cache.”

… on Monday night police found a stash of weapons that included an assortment of knives, a pointed throwing star, shields and chains hidden in trees and undergrowth around the site.

Also seized — and featured prominently in press coverage — was a copy of guess what boardgame? (Note to the UK cops: a throwing star? There is no less dangerous weapon in the world — except to the person using it. The damn things are nearly impossible to throw with any accuracy.)

Now the damn thing is once-again getting banned by stores. According to the game’s publisher:

When Zavvi ordered 5,000 copies of War on Terror, independent publishers, TerrorBull Games, thought their luck had changed. After a year of obstruction and rejection, they finally had a high street outlet. However, the celebrations were short-lived when the games were recalled the very day they went on sale. A Zavvi spokesman strangely claimed that “poor sales” lay behind the same-day recall, but TerrorBull Games suspect differently. Apparently, while many at Zavvi were backing the game, MD, Simon Douglas, was unaware of the deal until the moment he saw War on Terror on the shelves of his own shop. Douglas reportedly “kicked off” and the games were promptly pulled. Zavvi then refused further delivery and became reluctant to pay for games they suddenly decided they didn’t want. A protracted legal battle ensued that, while almost bankrupting TerrorBull Games, ended in victory for TerrorBull as they got to keep half the games as well as getting paid in full.

In order to make more hay from this the company is going to be “giving away over 100 board games on Oxford St in London to draw attention to the fact that no High Street chains will dare sell the game.” Apparently High Street is a big thing over there. It’s so cute when the Brits act like they’re a real country!

One of these days I really want to actually play this thing.

Chickens becoming threat to national security?

Two headlines from the always excellent Obscure Store & Reading Room:

Coincidence? I think not. Memo to self: Be more specific when ordering steak bomb at sandwich shop.

Image via mellow creme pets

Bush gave up golf for families of Iraq war dead

“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf,” Bush said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

My head hurts from this quote.

Dear George, you want to show solidarity with these families? How about you visit each and every one of them. Maybe explain why neither you nor your children have served in this or any other war. How about adequate funding and administration for the Veterans Administration? How about not being an idiot? How about not starting wars on fictitious grounds?

Good Lord.

McCain? Hillary? Obama?

I’ll take any of them over this fool.

Not Huckabee, though. I can’t live through another administration that views facts as malleable.

Gitmo guards take Lord of the Rings script from inmate

Guards are required to search detainees’ possessions for contraband and seized the box of documents because it contained items Khadr was not permitted to have, including the “Lord of the Rings” script, pictures and Internet news articles, the spokesman, Lt. Col. Ed Bush said.

Dude, you sooooo totally have to read the books.

I hate it when they’re funnier than I am, Part 2: Social Terror Networking

Damn you, BOROWITZ!!!

After successfully sponsoring several of the presidential debates, Facebook is spreading its wings once more, announcing today that it would become the official co-sponsor of the United States’ war on terror.

In snagging the coveted anti-terrorism sponsorship, the popular networking site beat out two of its rivals, MySpace and YouTube, who had also vied to co-sponsor the global struggle against Islamic extremism.

As if that wasn’t enough to piss me off, he’s also written:

Obama Wins Country Music Entertainer of the Year … Coming off a weekend in which he racked up victories in Nebraska, Washington, Louisiana, the Virgin Islands and Maine, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) extended his amazing winning streak today by being named the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year. For Mr. Obama, who is not a country music entertainer, the award represents a significant upset since it had been expected to go to longtime country favorite Kenny Chesney.

Oh, hell … stop reading me and go read him. I surrender. This blog will now be devoted to knitting and those few other topics I know even less about than politics, marketing & humor.

War On Terror brand suffers major setback as UK ends partnership

File under: Declare victory and go home.

The words “war on terror” will no longer be used by the British government to describe attacks on the public, the country’s chief prosecutor said Dec. 27. Sir Ken Macdonald said terrorist fanatics were not soldiers fighting a war but simply members of an aimless “death cult.” The Director of Public Prosecutions said: ‘We resist the language of warfare, and I think the government has moved on this. It no longer uses this sort of language.” … His remarks signal a change in emphasis across Whitehall, where the “war on terror” language has officially been ditched. Officials were concerned it could act as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, which is determined to manufacture a battle between Islam and the West.

NO WAR ON TERROR? But what brand will you use to scare the electorate with????

add to del.icio.usDigg itStumble It!Add to Blinkslistadd to furladd to ma.gnoliaadd to simpyseed the vineTailRank

Maryland opens Homeland Security High School

The comedy of terrors continues…

microphoneJoppatowne High School in Harford County, Maryland, is first in the nation to offer a 75-student magnet program centered on homeland security. The program, called the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Magnet Program, focuses on “preparing high school students for careers in disaster response, high-level computer science and law enforcement” and begins in the fall. Students “will be given limited security clearances to enable them to perform internships at nearby Aberdeen Proving Ground, where the military develops and tests conventional and biological weapons.” Selected students will study “public safety, border control, religious ideology, geospatial technology, cybersecurity, and threat identification.”

What’s the school mascot? A microphone? A metal detection wand?

Anyone who plays on the football team is guaranteed a job in the N.E. Patriots front office.

add to del.icio.usDigg itStumble It!Add to Blinkslistadd to furladd to ma.gnoliaadd to simpyseed the vineTailRank

U.S. escalates war on concepts: “The enemy is extremism”

pogoIn an interview on NPR Gen. David Petraeus showed that logic is not a required course at the Army War college:

Q: A simple question that many in America are now wrestling with: Who is the enemy and what is the U.S. fighting for?

A: The enemy is extremism, we think, and it is extremism that comes in various forms.

I forget, is it the infantry or the artillery who are trained in extreme combat?

Isn’t moderation the best weapon against extremism? But if you do it too well you run the risk of being extremely moderate.

If the enemy is extremism does this mean we’re about to attack the X Games?

Maybe we could attack marketers who use the word extreme when ever they want to appear “hip” and “down” with the kids these days?

I look forward to the Armed Forces blowing up statues of Sen. Barry Goldwater who famously said that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

Isn’t going to war a very extreme act?

One definition of extremism is “any political theory favoring immoderate uncompromising policies.” Invade the vice president’s office immediately.

This reminds me of something George Bush the elder said during the first Iraq contretemps: “We are fighting to prove that might does not make right.”

The war on extremism makes the war on terror look good.

Bad brand ideas: Gasoline promises to be “terror-free”

Next time you’re in Omaha, Nebraska, take a quick stop by the corner of 129th & Q. There you will see the first location of Terror Free Oil, a new company that promises to only sell “Oil that does not come from the Middle East (Persian Gulf) or other countries whose regimes and/or populations are hostile towards the United States and its allies.” Which basically means the US and Canada, unless the Canadians get uppity. (Why do I think that for most of us the phrase “terror free gas” means it sells for less than $2 a gallon?)

Should you not have the fortune of living in Omaha but still wish to avoid terrifying gas, the TFEC maintains a list of oil companies that it believes only buy domestic dead dinosaur. These include Hess, Sunoco and a wonderful brand that I didn’t even realize was still with us: Sinclair.

I’m not sure exactly how you discern the provenance of petroleum. Does the 2007 Alaskan Sweet Crude really taste different than the same vintage from the Mid East? The TFEC itself admits that it can be difficult to make sure all their gas is devoid of corruption: “Oil is a fungible commodity, and gasoline from the international community gets mixed into the pipeline.” That said they do buy all their gas from Sinclair which the Dept. of Energy says only uses home brew.

Doing some driving abroad and want to top off with Good Guy Gas? In Brazil it’s safe to use Petrobras. Oddly, Yukos has also received the TFEC seal of Clean Living. Are we talking about the same Yukos that the Russian government basically took over? I don’t mean to speak ill of an ethnic group I’m descended from, but if Yukos isn’t paying off terrorists and mobsters to do business then they are the only such business in The Motherland.

Also, if this seems like an incredible business opportunity TFEC is offering the most reasonable franchise opportunities I’ve ever seen. Franchise fee: $1. In addition to only selling Good Guy Gas, franchisees must donate 1% of revenues to a counter-terrorism organization. Dibs on the CIA!

I feel safer already.

When Wonderbras are outlawed, only outlaws will have wonderbras

It is once again safe to wear gel-filled bras on airplanes.The TSA pretty much HAD to do this as it realized the only other move would have been to ban breast implants as well which would have shut down LAX.