The AFTERLIFE Epitaph – April 20th, 2009 #22, Vol. 1
“Being good is not enough when you dream of being great.”
A WHOPPER of bad taste?
Using humor in ads is a delicate balance. Where does one draw the line? Fast food giant Burger King apologized Tuesday for an advertisement featuring a squat Mexican draped in his country’s flag next to a tall American cowboy and said it would change the campaign.
Mexico’s ambassador to Spain said posters released in Europe for Burger King’s new Tex-Mex style “Texican whopper,” a cheeseburger with chile and spicy mayonnaise, inappropriately displayed the Mexican flag, whose image is protected under national law.
The ambassador wrote a letter complaining to Burger King and requested the ad campaign be discontinued.
Burger King said the ads were meant to show a mixture of influences from the southwestern United States and Mexico, not to poke fun at Mexican culture, but said it would replace them “as soon as commercially possible.”
“Burger King Corporation has made the decision to revise the Texican Whopper advertising creative out of respect for the Mexican culture and its people,” it said in a statement.
“The existing campaign falls fully within the legal parameters of the United Kingdom and Spain where the commercials are being aired and were not intended to offend anyone,” the company added.
A TV version of the ad shows the strapping cowboy and the pint-sized Mexican wrestler — nicknamed “Just a Little Bit” — living together as roommates. At one point, the American lifts up the Mexican to help him put a trophy on a high shelf.
Mexico was involved in another controversial ad campaign last year when Absolut vodka posted billboard ads in Mexico with an early 19th century map showing chunks of the United States as part of Mexico.
The campaign angered many U.S. citizens and was later dropped.
Also in the news is the Burger King ad for the Spongebob Squarepants toys. Aimed at and airing only at night on adult shows, the re-mix of Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby Got Back,” the ad is creative and tastefully done (considering the original song). But, as usually happens, parents who allow their children to watch adult programming are complaining about the ad. Who’s crossing the line?
At least people are talking about it and the toys are flying off the counters!
Domino’s Employees Incite YouTube Brand Scandal – never order a pizza with “the works!”
(Editors note – This was not as viral when it was tagged for this issue. I’m sure by now everyone has seen it. I chose to keep it in for the story as it shows how two moronic employees can cast a business so much. Not only the business, but if the firm suffers and business drops, employees get laid off. A business butterfly effect! As of 4/16/09, there is apparently a felony warrant out for their arrests).
Two Domino’s employees have released a series of YouTube videos in which they playfully molest food products before allegedly passing them on to customers.
In the most recent video posted on YouTube, “Michael” — one member of the duo — inserts cheese into his nose and waves salami over his backside before placing both ingredients on a pair of sandwiches.
“He just put a booger on those sandwiches!” quips “Kristy,” the other employee. “Remember the time when you sneezed?”
Between the time of yesterday’s Advertising Age report and now, views have leapt from 20,000 to 728,816. Comments from YouTube users have ranged from “I eat that crap?” to “pizza hut have done the same thing as well….” — suggesting brand damage may touch industry rivals as well.
The video is just one among a handful that Kristy and Michael have released about their kitchen shenanigans at the pizza chain. The rest have been curated by As Good As You, a blog that covered the incident.
According to spokesman Tim McIntyre of Domino’s, the employees were identified and promptly terminated. (Indeed, the YouTube video that stirred the tempest has been updated with hovering text that reads, “They have been fired.”) The franchise at which they worked has also filed a criminal complaint; Domino’s itself is contemplating civil action for brand defamation.
“Any idiot with a webcam and an internet connection can attempt to undo all that’s right about the brand,” McIntyre snarled.
“In the course of one three-minute video, two idiots can attempt to unravel all of that.” Domino’s currently boasts 125,000 employees worldwide.
The chain is stepping carefully over figurative eggshells to mitigate the damage. McIntyre also shared a letter in which Kristy apologizes for her actions and Michael’s:
“It was all a prank and me nor Michael expected to have this much attention from the videos that were uploaded!” she wrote. “No food was ever sent out to any customer. We would never put something like that on you tube if it were real!! It was fake and I wish that everyone knew that!!!!”
In contemplating the YouTube fiasco, McIntyre observed, “You can be the safest driver, you know […] But there’s going to be that Friday night someone’s drunk and comes from out of nowhere. You can do the best you can, but there’s going to be the equivalent of that drunk driver that hits the innocent victim.”
In the meantime, Domino’s has opted neither to issue a press release nor post any statements online. The chain is reportedly concerned that a “strong response” will only raise awareness for the videos that did the damage.
A number of armchair speculators have suggested that Domino’s respond in video form — a tactic employed by Southwest Airlines when, last year, two young girls publicly claimed to have been kicked off a flight for being “too pretty.”
Meanwhile, a representative from digital agency Woods Witty Dealy called the situation “a major shot over the bow of any brand. It’s amateur corporate espionage and it is deadly.”
“How do you defend yourself against a mindless anarchist that does’t seem to care what they destroy, including themselves?”
But at least one pixel pundit made a diplomatic concession in the direction of the two terminated employees. “[The videos give] a realistic view on some of the things that happen when people get bored in a repetitive job,” stated UK-based SEO contractor David Harland via Twitter — implying that, in an age where it’s easy to record and broadcast day-to-day banalities, similar damage control scenarios are just over the horizon.
Me like english good!
Winston cigarettes used to advertise “Winston taste good like a cigarette should.”
Being brought under scrutiny by American english teachers, they quickly jumped on a campaign of “…AS a cigarette should.” Certainly you see it every day in signs, ads, and even, gasp, news articles. Dangling participles, sentences ended with a preposition and other horrid stabs at our mother tongue. People complain that those under the age of 30 are unable to spell due to texting lenguage and judging by the résumés we receive, it’s very true.
So, we were delighted to see a blog that is dedicated to the lost art of the written word. Njoy!
The answer lies not in the stars but in Uranus
This Danish toilet paper dispenser is beyond wrong. Even with my love for foreign advertising ideas, I would never think of this in a million, billion, bamillion years! Trying (very hard) to get across the message that the paper is recycled…well, I just can’t disgust, er discuss this any further.
If one picture is worth a thousand words, then let this out-word count any dictionary.
This ad, showing a Jesus-figure snapping a picture of a bunch of nuns with the Samsung SL310W camera, was published in Lebanese newspaper Al Mostakbal last week.
The ad has been called “an attack against Christian symbols” but here’s the kicker — the ad agency FP7 who created it, doesn’t have the Samsung account.
Sunny Hwang, the president of Samsung Electronics Levant, said to Brandrepublic “at no time was Samsung Electronics aware of these advertisements and the company has not approved or commissioned FP7 to create any advertising campaigns.”
At the recent Dubai Lynx Awards, FP7 picked up a gold, a few silvers and even the ad agency of the year award but after this little mishap, the agency (and their work) is being investigated by the award organisers and they might get stripped of all their honors.
Now that it has become almost standard practice for companies to demand spec work from ad agencies, can they truly own the finished ad? I guess you get what you pay for — and don’t get what you don’t pay for!
Taiwanese design duo Owen and Cloud designed this piece as a statement against war, and the result is a one of a kind, striking piece.
Part of the proceeds from sales of A Peaceful Bomb are donated to “Act Now to Stop War & End Racism” (A.N.S.W.E.R.). ($49)
Live in a pop-up book!
These folding interiors are extremely convenient for those of you who live in cramped living spaces. Not only are these pieces sleek and practical, but they also remind me of a surprise bag or a giant pop-up book. From offices to kitchens, John Lewis and Atelier OPA have created unique pieces of foldable interiors for a more expedient lifestyle.
Where’s the CEO job?
“Life’s too short for the wrong job,” Isn’t that so true? That’s the tag line for these motivational career ads by German job search site, Jobsintown.de.
The visuals for the guerrilla ads are even more clever than the text! They campaign features a series of machines that perform automated services, each with a decal on them making it appear as if there were someone inside performing the coordinating task. For example, a man inside a coffee vending machine appears to brewing coffee inside the machine.
Other machines include an ATM, a vending machine, a photobooth and a coin-operated washing machine.
LEGO of life
These suicide scenarios recreated in Lego are really wrong, on every level. However, I have to admire their creativity, although I have no idea where this concept came from.
The attention to detail includes whimsical touches of pools of blood where appropriate, such as in the “wrist slashing” picture.
Bread Art Project
Where else can you make a lot of dough for loafing?
There are times, as with the Domino’s story (and that singing Scottish lady), where the viral nature of the item is about 12 hours. Weekly publication just doesn’t meet the deadlines to bring you topical stories.
In the past, as with the Marley & Me spoiler, we have made special posts. From this point on, we will no longer stick to a weekly schedule. As it hits us, we will hit you. So check back as often as you wish and see what we’ve found. We guarantee it’ll be the same innovative items, only we won’t sweat getting the kids to bed, doing three loads of wash, doing dishes and making endless peanut butter sandwiches for school lunches AND putting the weekly issue to “bed.”
Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity