Back in 1995 during the heyday of the war on Big Tobacco, anti-smoking groups created what they thought was a clever marketing campaign. They contrasted the powerful warning labels for cigarettes in other countries with the weaker labels here in the United States.
To illustrate the point, the clueless crusaders sent sample labels to every member of Congress and to journalists like me. There was just one problem: The labels were on actual packs of cigarettes. Activists who had dedicated their lives to kicking tobacco’s butts had become charity tobacco distributors for a day. Free smokes for everyone!
That irony came to mind today when I saw this “public service announcement” against guns:
“What the ad-makers are encouraging is highly illegal and invites danger,” The Daily Caller noted in describing the ad. “The boy would be guilty of weapons theft, illegal concealed carry and carrying a weapon on school property.”
That last point is the most outrageous when you think about the senseless zero-tolerance atmosphere that anti-gun zealots have inspired in public schools. Children can’t even use their fingers to simulate gun play or shape a pastry to look like a gun without being punished severely.
Who’s the ad wizard who thought it would be a good idea to tell students to sneak actual weapons, and presumably loaded ones, onto school property?!
That’s actually a rhetorical question. Her name is Rejina Sincic, and she is standing by her creation, to the point of calling people “cowards” for not sharing it. Thousands of YouTube viewers have voted the video down, compared with a handful who actually like it, yet she still can’t see the hypocrisy of it all.
That’s what happens when you’re blinded by a superiority complex.
Update, Dec. 27: The backlash against her video, including the Hit & Run blog calling it “the worst anti-gun PSA of all time,” prompted Sincic to make private her original upload, which I had embedded here, and block all comments about the new version, which is now embedded above.
Filed under: Advertising and Culture and Education and Hunting & Guns and Video
As a tee-totaling redneck, I’ve always been annoyed that beer brands make some of the most clever TV ads. But you gotta give props where props are due, and Keystone Light has a winner in my book with its fishing ad that glorifies the lowly worm:
I’ve always been partial to the worm as bait. During my high school years, I earned some hefty pocket change catching dozens of nightcrawlers a night in my hometown and selling them for 50 cents to 65 cents per dozen. My biggest problem as a businessman was not using the inventory myself in the Ohio River and its tributary streams on the West Virginia side of the river.
Some of my fishing mentors and companions razzed me over my choice of bait. Even the hillbilly hollers have their share of anglers who look down their noses if you use live bait, and especially nightcrawlers, instead of tying a fly, a spinner or some other lure on the end of your line. Dough balls, corn and even stink bait for catfish ranked higher in their minds than dirty worms.
“A River Runs Through It” memorialized this brand of redneck elitism in a scene where the bumbling bait fisherman showed up late and drunk, with a coffee can full of worms. The uppity fly fishermen, the movie’s main characters, found him hours later, naked and sunburned because he fell asleep in the grass with the hussy he brought with him.
But no matter how much mocking I endured, I never wavered from the worms. I also usually caught far more fish than my friends who were loyal to their lures, as did the fishermen who came knocking on my parents’ door for bait — sometimes to the tune of 20 dozen or more at once.
The pinnacle of my fishing youth came on the day when the man who taught me the most about the sport asked if I’d share my worms with him. He had been fishing all day with his favorite lure, white Curly Tail Grubs from Mister Twister.
For every bass he tricked with those lures, I hooked two to three with my nightcrawlers. They were biting within seconds after my bait hit the water. His “luck” improved dramatically when he swapped the plastic for the natural.
My mentor was a teetotaler, too, but if a non-alcoholic version of Keystone Light had existed back then, he just might have bought me a brew to toast the worm for the win.
Filed under: Advertising and Business and Family and Fishing and Rednecks and Sports and Video and West Virginia
Two funny animal videos made their way into my Facebook feed this morning. The first illustrates the difference between mama dogs and mama cats:
The second is a commercial from 2010 that looks like it’s sure to infuriate the “animals are people, too” crowd but ends on a happy note for the mouse:
Both videos made me laugh, which is a good way to start the weekend. Enjoy yours.
Filed under: Advertising and Business and Just For Laughs and Pets and Video
My wife remembers with much amusement the first time my Mom and I fried a turkey for Thanksgiving. Mom had done so much research into the safety hazards of the cooking technique that both of us were terrified of catching the house or ourselves on fire.
We placed the fryer on the very outer edge of the concrete patio in our backyard to put as much distance as possible between the fryer and our house. We stretched the gas line that runs between the propane tank and the burner as far as it would go and then stood as far away as our arms would reach to light the flame. When it came time to lower the turkey into the boiling vat of oil, we would have used a 10-foot pole if we had one, just to ensure our safety.
We were quite the spectacle as my wife watched from the kitchen window.
But hey, at least we didn’t end up like Si Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame in this warning video from State Farm:
Be careful out there this Thanksgiving, all you enlightened rednecks with deep fryers!
Filed under: Advertising and Family and Food and Holidays and Redneck Humor and Video
Seventeen years ago when my wife and I moved to Manassas, Va., this ink-stained wretch found himself in the heart of a newspaper boom town. With a population of less than 35,000 at the time, Manassas was the target audience of three local daily newspapers, the Manassas Journal Messenger, Potomac News and Prince William Journal. The Washington Post also had a small local bureau in the city.
The Internet revolution was in its infancy then, but as the news editor of Congressional Quarterly’s BillWatch legislative database, I had transitioned into the digital space and was an early convert to the gospel of digital media. I wanted to believe that daily print newspapers had a future but was skeptical. The move to Manassas gave me hope.
My hope for daily newspapers, at least as we old-timers know them in newsprint, died on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. That was the last day of publication for the News & Messenger, the product of an Oct. 13, 2008, merger between the Journal Messenger and Potomac News.
World Media Enterprises, owned by Warren Buffet, who has been buying newspapers across America for two years, blamed the demise of the News & Messenger on bad business conditions. “We do not see a long-term viable way to maintain a daily news operation here,” the company said upon announcing the decision in mid-November.
So Manassas is starting the New Year without its own daily newspaper, ending an era that dates to at least 1869 when the Journal Messenger started publishing.
“We can only hope that the existing papers among us ratchet up their daily coverage of our community in our sudden absence,” the News & Messenger said in its farewell editorial.
My friend Mark Tapscott, who once served as editor of the Prince William Journal and who now serves as executive editor of the Washington Examiner that absorbed the Journal Newspapers in 2004, shared his thoughts with me on the closing of the News & Messenger. “The biggest puzzler here,” he said, “is how a county of 400,000 people doesn’t have sufficient demand to support at least one newspaper or website devoted to local news.”
The good news is that we may. While we in Manassas won’t have our own daily newspaper anymore, the larger Prince William County will have two weekly newspapers and two websites covering local news in the future.
Filed under: Advertising and Business and History and Media and News & Politics and Social Media
The question in the headline is rhetorical. Anyone who would corrupt the sweet Oreos combination of chocolate wafers and vanilla cream with the horrid flavor mix that is candy corn obviously is perpetrating a vicious Halloween trick on American consumers.
Unfortunately, Candy Corn Oreos are not an imaginary nightmare on Main Street. They are about to become a reality at Target stores thanks to some evil marketing genius with a sick sense of humor.
The news is all over the Internet today, and I knew before I read it that someone covering the story was sure to use the phrase “outside the box,” which too often is synonymous with bad ideas.
I’ve explained my animosity toward that phrase before. Now, with the introduction of Candy Corn Oreos, I’ve decided to revive my regular ridicule of the concept with a new feature on this blog. Consider this the first official installment of “Outside The Box.”
While we’re talking about nasty attempts at sweet treats, enjoy comedian Tim Hawkins’ take on the subject to start your weekend:
Filed under: Advertising and Business and Food and Holidays and Human Interest and Just For Laughs and Outside The Box and People and Video
Does this make you want to eat Little Baby’s Ice Cream?
I didn’t think so. But it did make more than 2 million people want to watch the ad on YouTube. The ad clearly accomplished the goal of introducing more people to the Little Baby’s brand — enough of them that President Obama’s campaign paid to build a preview of its “Blatant” ad into the video pre-roll, which is what played when I just watched the Little Baby’s ad.
But few consumers are likely to rush out and buy ice cream pitched as the key to “glistening skin” and “clean and clear pores.” Just the thought of eating Little Baby’s now makes my stomach turn. All I see are scary eyes and hairy cream.
Filed under: Advertising and Business and Food and Just For Laughs and Video
Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, either inadvertently or perhaps intentionally, became the pitch woman for a line of redneck jewelry last week. After an appearance on Fox News where she wore a necklace made of a .50-caliber toothpick holder, her fans asked what it was and where she got it. The answer: the Etsy store of a Pennsylvania craftsman whose nephew is a Marine.
Malkin posted a link to the store on her Facebook page, so I decided to visit. Every redneck should click there as well to see the abundance of creative products. My favorites are the .50-caliber toothpick holder, redneck sippy cup and antler candle holder.
I could have done without the Wolf Pack necklace advertised on a hairy chest. That’s not the best way to market a product.
Filed under: Advertising and Business and Hunting & Guns and People
I was born more than a decade before West Virginia University football players started sporting the current logo on their helmets, but I don’t remember seeing what came before the “Flying WV” we Mountaineers cherish today. Now I know the story behind that storied logo, which has made WVU “one of the top royalty-producing colleges in the country.”
Jake Stump of the WVU Alumni Magazine unearthed the details in what he called “hardnosed, investigative (ahem) journalism.” It all started in 1979 with the arrival of new football coach Don Nehlen to the campus. The old football uniform, helmet and logo, with “WVU” overlaying an outlined map of West Virginia, had no pizzazz, so Nehlen commissioned one to make a statement.
The details of the logo’s past remain murky even after Stump’s research because Nehlen and the other people behind the vision and the design don’t remember events exactly the same. But the story is fascinating anyway (at least for Mountaineers fans like me). Here’s the heart of it:
Filed under: 1980s and Advertising and Business and Culture and Human Interest and People and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: 1 Comment
A few weeks ago at my company’s blog, I sang the praises of social media as the best communications tool for getting satisfaction after bad consumer experiences.
Lodging complaints via Facebook and Twitter is far more effective than using the telephone, I said. “Why endure that grief, which often yields no satisfaction, when I can spur a major corporation into action by tweeting 140 characters or by posting an embarrassing photo to Facebook?”
Days later, I unintentionally proved my own point during an infuriating phone encounter with Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning. Both my wife and I had to endure an obnoxious lecture from an employee more determined to “educate” us about the realities of gutter cleaning than to abide by the guarantee that our gutters actually were clean.
We’ve been customers of Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning for several years, ever since we moved into a three-story home whose gutters are beyond my limited ladder reach. We’ve been pleased with the company’s service most of the time, but we have had occasional problems, including our neighbor once witnessing Ned Stevens Gutter employees failing to clean all of the gutters on our house. When we reported that incident, the company sent a crew back to the house to finish the job.
Ned Stevens Gutter often sends workers to our home when we are not here to witness the cleaning, so it takes a certain measure of trust to believe its teams do the work effectively. We hadn’t had any major problems except for the one episode, though, so Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning had earned our trust. The company lost that trust in a big way two weeks ago.
Filed under: Advertising and Business and Family and Social Media
Comments: 1 Comment
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