Tagged: marketing fail

Self-righteous foodies make mockery of actual poverty. News at 6.

I’ve got a real thing about “live below the line” challenges.  The key point is that taking a week out of your “normal” life to “experience poverty” can never even come close to the grinding, wearying shittiness of poverty.  And plenty of things are manageable when you know there’s a finish line.  Poor people don’t get a finish line.

Fuck, even American Dad! managed to do a half-assed job showing this.

But we’ve hit a new low.  And that low is Ella Rose and rEvolution of Waiheke Island’s particularly shitty, preachy, profiteering spin on the matter.

While highlighting the plight of the world’s poor is a top priority, Rose says the challenge for her is about much more than starving yourself for a charity.
“We live in a world where the numbers of obese people now are greater than the number of people starving, a world where over a billion people are barely surviving on less than NZ$2.25 a day, and where 70% of the extreme poor are women and children,” she said. “I see the challenge as an opportunity for me to make intelligent food choices and to reflect deeply on our relationship to health, nutrition, and our global food production and distribution systems.”

The point of this challenge, however flawed, is not to pat yourself on the fucking back for knowing people who will sell you fucking hipster organic juice for wholesale prices.  It is not about setting yourself up as an example to prove to the stupid poor people that their children will do just fine with kale chips which are totally affordable on a per-chip basis.

If only the Global Poverty Project team had bothered to explain this to Ella Rose before publishing her self-promoting bullshit for her.


s.e. smith has written a great post on the general topic of bullshit poverty challenges; The Little Pakeha beat me to the line posting about this specific example:

I can only imagine she’s making some very intelligent food choices to be able to afford any of what she listed. The juice bar she’s partnered with, rEvolution, sells a medium juice for $5.50 – making two medium juices her entire food supply for the week with 25c left over. Presumably she has access to their wholesale supplier’s prices, which will really help her to be empathic about the everyday struggles of poverty.

New rule: hands off chins

Frank’s post on Shearer’s resignation used one of my least-favourite images of the man (actually worse than those damned dead fish), and has inspired today’s New Rule: get your sodding hand off your sodding chins, gentlemen.

It doesn’t make you look thoughtful or deep or serious or whatever the fuck your publicist has conned you into thinking.  It makes you look like you’re desperately trying to look thoughtful/deep/serious/whatever the fuck.


shearer chinkey chingarner chin

You all look like total hankies.  Slightly-confused, total, hankies.

And Duncan, that goes for fingers too.  You’re making Espiner look positively grown-up in comparison.

garner chin 2

Homework: 200 words on why the hell people keep doing this to themselves in orchestrated photo shoots meant to make them look good.

Greens attack stupid spending, rattle Key

Julie-Anne Genter of the Greens has been doing some stellar work on public transport, including this exposure last night of the utter fiasco that is “Drive Social”:

The website is called Drive Social. It’s described as a “unique online experience that lets people see who they share the road with”. There’s a flash TV campaign to go with it.

But the Greens say it’s all an enormous waste of money.

The campaign has so far cost $1.6 million and 9500 people have signed up. That’s a rough cost of $174 per person.

As a bus user in Wellington, I was always suspicious of the Drive Social campaign because they kept putting ads in bus shelters.  Guess what?  Probably not going to find your target audience there, peeps.

Anyway.  What really struck me was that Key immediately lashed out with an over-the-top “well the Greens just think everyone should cycle everywhere” – which just makes you look silly when the next minute (and all over Twitter) Genter is being the calm, sensible voice of reason.

And even more so when, you know, you’ve spent $174 per person on a website with no tangible or even measurable results (and $40 per YouTube view of your very expensive video.)

Is this another example of the right drinking their own Kool-Aid?  Does Key really think he can just brush off obviously-ridiculous expenditure like Drive Social by saying “but they’re hippies, they don’t know anything”?

Is he shooting from the hip, unprepared, caught off-guard (he’s obviously answering TV3’s questions next to an elevator) and letting the happy she’ll-be-right facade slip for a moment?

Or is he just looking a bit tired?

Big questions for Westpac

I literally stood speechless in front of my TV as this advertisement played.

What was that, Westpac?  You think it’s “easy” for us to ask “big questions” like “should women have basic human rights” and “should same sex couples have basic human rights” and “should we participate in imperialist wars overseas”?

The fact one of your hijacked film clips shows women protesting for the right to vote might have provided an important clue on that one.

You think those questions are comparable to getting a fucking tattoo?  You think it’s funny to play on the significance of women’s suffrage by equating it with (to you) the silliness of women’s bodily insecurities?

You think people whose loved ones are in serious conditions in hospital are going to be relieved that at least you’re there to exploit their hopes … oh, and totally offer them great interest rates on their term deposits!

Are we really meant to be impressed that you think you have any kind of right to co-opt important moments in our history to make a trite little joke about “asking the little questions” about our money?

The biggest questions, of course, are rhetorical:  How did Westpac manage to trump even BNZ’s bullshit moralising?  When did banks who have been caught red-handed ripping off New Zealanders decide it was a great idea to market themselves as high-minded deep-thinking philosophers?

Why aren’t they marketing themselves on integrity, good customer service and decent rates and fees instead?  I guess that one answers itself.

Thank you, Colin and Bob #marriageequality

I really do want to thank Colin Craig and Bob McCoskrie for this much:  they may have done far more work than we filthy smut-peddling liberals could ever have done to make people realise how utterly repellent the “religious right” / “moral majority” is.

I keep seeing comments on Facebook where, for example, Colin and Bob’s Australian counterparts have declared smoking is better for your health than letting same-sex couples marry.  Good, ordinary, decent New Zealanders who aren’t particularly political, aren’t raving feminists like myself, are sitting back and thinking/typing, “Why the hell would they say that?”

And there, a lovely window of opportunity opens.  An opportunity to say, “Well.  You know how Bob and Colin and their friends keep talking about the specialness of marriage and respecting other people?  When they say things like that, they’re basically saying that gay men (because it’s always gay men for Bob and Colin) are promiscuous and unsafe and all have AIDS.  They’re repeating propaganda from the 80s.  And you know what?  They think you will agree with them.”

Watch, as the common or garden variety Kiwi recoils in horror.  “But – but I just thought marriage was neat!  I thought civil unions meant the same thing!  I don’t hate gay people!”

“I’m sorry, dear Ordinary New Zealander,” we get to say.  “But the people who keep talking about marriage being special are really just a bunch of gay-bashers who do hate gay people.”

So thanks, Colin and Bob and your many and varied companion-bigots.  You’re  converting far more people to our side than we could ever have managed.

I wonder who earned their Christmas bonus for coining the term “Breastapo”?

There’s been a flurry of articles recently about the extreme or bullying lengths some health professionals are apparently going to in order to make parents breastfeed rather than formula feed.

I am absolutely sure that some people are dickheads about this – every “health” cause has its unwavering zealots who refuse to understand that not everyone can be crowbarred into their worldview.

But as someone noted on Twitter some days ago, whenever an issue like breast vs formula suddenly becomes THE HUGE ISSUE OF THE DAY you may find yourself wondering where these stories are suddenly coming from.  And what clever person at which PR firm coined the term “Breastapo“.

It’s definitely not okay for anyone to feel bullied – and especially triply not okay for infants to go hungry – over this issue.

But it’s definitely interesting how not a single story on the matter has even hinted at why we have placed emphasis and resource into encouraging breastfeeding.

Not a single story has covered the fairly shitty history of the formula industry.  None have mentioned the ongoing Nestle boycott, for example.  None have so much as said, “These policies have come out of the fact that a lot of people who could breastfeed their babies were pressured not to, even to the extent of formula companies giving them free samples which leave them dependent on formula once their milk dries up.”

We do have words for people who get you hooked with free samples of their product, after all.

But no.  Every story, every reporter, has just acted like out of nowhere, the Ministry of Health and nurses and midwives all got together one dark Sabbat night and said “let’s shit on new parents!  Let’s make their lives harder!  Fuck yeah, they’ll do what’s good for them and they’ll like it!”

Like I’ve said, I have absolutely no doubt that there are bullies and zealots and people who are fucked-up enough to harass new parents.

All I want to know is why this just now became the big issue.  And why none of our so-called “journalists” seem to have asked any actual questions about it, or put it in any kind of context, or given their readers and viewers any kind of background.

Besides the obvious “because they just copypasted a PR release from a formula company”.*

Meanwhile, the formula industry’s stellar ethics are on display (not that anyone held a gun to our PM’s head and made him sign a can of formula and pose with it for the cameras).

More reading at Hoyden About Town:  Nestle moves from obfuscation to outright lies; Gone too far? and all posts on infant formula.  I thank the Hoydens for my own knowledge of the Nestle boycott, etc.


*After all, that privilege only gets extended to Bendon.

Save us from Wellywank

I’m with David Farrar on this one, to my obvious horror:  vote for the Wellington “blown away” sign.

There’s any number of obvious issues around the fact that it’s the better of the two non-Wellysuck signs in terms of tactical voting, the most obvious being of course that an explicitly Maori symbol doesn’t go down well with the middle-class white punters whose sensibilities are so offended by the Wellycrap sign.

And as KB commenters are quick to point out, it’s damn telling that there’s no “no fucking sign, thanks, you prats” option.

To continue my previous, pageview-exploding metaphor on the subject, Wellington Airport continues to be that tragic figure trying to convince you his moustache makes him look like George Clooney, only now he’s posting pictures on Facebook (probably with the help of a long-suffering teenager who’s hoping for a car for Christmas) of that awful ‘stache styled in three different ways and demanding you tell him which makes him look more like George Clooney.

None of the moustaches make you look like George Clooney. 

Lonely Planet already named Wellington the Coolest Little Capital in the world.  Not sure why a company so dependent on attracting tourism wants to fuck that up.

Social media fail: Sears edition

Melissa McEwen over at Shakesville has been having a shitty time with Sears over a rubbish stove, bad customer service, and a classic example of why modern capitalism is a fucking joke.

Three posts later, “Brian” from Sears’ social media team has left a comment.


Rule two: If you’re going to enter social media as a large company, for fuck’s sake hire someone with half a fucking clue.  Kenmore are telling Melissa she should have DM’d them on Twitter which she cannot do because Twitter doesn’t let you DM people who don’t follow you.

Kenmore are accusing Melissa of lying on their Facebook page, then not making any retraction, and possibly deleting other people’s comments (which is par for the course on commercial FB pages, but possibly not when a large blog with a huge readership is collating their negative experiences with you.)

And now Sears is wall-o-text commenting at Shakesville with a bunch of corporate wankspeak topped with a crispy “stupid Melissa, recalls iz expensive!” coating.

Rule three: if you ever find yourself responding to a customer’s absolutely justified complaint (because seriously, expecting someone to fork out almost the original cost of an appliance again to fix a thing you know is faulty? LOL) with a sentence like the following:

I have been monitoring this case and I wanted to step in here and hopefully clarify some things regarding your concerns; the first and foremost of which is that we have all of our customer’s best interests in mind from the point at which we partner with manufacturers and vendors to provide products for our customers to the point when should they need service that we are providing every option available dependent on their specific situation or circumstances.

(Yes. That is one sentence.)

… then just stop, back away from your keyboard, and … I don’t know.  Rethink your life.

Bendon advertising: not news, also angry-making

So Stuff has a breathless report about how tits are getting bigger.

Entirely coincidentally, it reads really similarly to these stories from 2010 and 2009.

Now before you tit-bearers get your [brandname] panties in a twist, let me reassure you that these articles are Serious Journalism and not at all just slightly-reworded press releases from … who was it again?

… D cups and bigger accounting for nearly half of Bendon bras

… according to Bendon figures.

… Bendon spokeswoman Rachael Parkin

The 2010 story, wonderfully, doesn’t mention Bendon at all.  But … oops:

“A D size 10 years ago was considered wow,” says braologist Carol Rashleigh.

Who was it they quoted back in 2009?  Oh, right:

Fayreform “braologist” Carol Rashleigh

Of the “subsidiary of Bendon” Fayreforms, not the Staffordshire Fayreforms.

The 2011 rehash attempts, one assumes, to provide “balance” by also mentioning Triumph, which … doesn’t really make it better. in terms of that whole “this is just a fucking advertorial” thing.

Because here’s a few minor problems with taking Bendon’s marketers’ word for anything to do with the size of Kiwi knockers:

1.  Bendon themselves will tell you that most NZ bra-wearers are wearing the wrong size.  Usually a back size too big and ergo a cup size too small.

Bendon will especially emphasise this if you complain to their customer service department about continually being unable to find comfortable, consistently-sized bras, even when you rely on the advice of their “braologists”, most of whom incidentally have no fucking idea how to fit a bra on a fat person.

2.  Bendon stock a ridiculously narrow range of sizes, and even slightly towards the edges of the bell curve you may have to count yourself lucky to find anything, which then feeds into the following:

3.  “Sales figures” are reeeeeally interesting when you consider that small back/small cup bras can cost as little as $20, and larger back/larger cups of “odd” sizes like 10G or 18A, when you can even find them, will likely be part of the “plus-size” range, usually hidden at the back of the shop, and cost $50 if you are lucky.

Point being, as a fat woman I have 6 bras (and 2 emergency ill-fitting ones for when the laundry doesn’t dry.)  I buy bras when I have to, and I can usually buy one, two at a time if I save my pennies (and I’m damn well off).

You think maybe those sales figures are just slightly skewed by the fact that Bendon provides fuck-all for “unusual” sizes and prices “unusual”-sized people out of the market? (If the Obesity Epidemic is real, there must be demand, and capitalism tells me that demand will be answered by supply … *crickets*)

And that’s not even touching on the thinly-veiled “OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC/BUT AT LEAST THE CHICKS ARE HOT” dichotomy.  Because there’s no other reason, if people are buying more larger-sized bras, they could possibly have to do so.

I mean, “vanity sizing” is toooootally a myth.  No one would ever think to make the Ds just a bit smaller so more women can feel validated by patriarchy to have bigger knockers (and seriously, why is it ALWAYS Ds?  Or DDs?  I’m looking at you, Letters to Penthouse.)

And our population certainly isn’t getting bigger simply out of ageing and changes in the ethnic makeup of our society.

Nope, I’m convinced.  Good on Stuff, and TV3 before them, for providing such awesomely insigtful free advertising for Bendon (and Triumph!) analysis.


PS.  No, I will not try Kirkcaldie & Staines.  Bendon may have shameless marketers and pet journalists but at least I’ve never seen their salespeople happily gossip to the DomPost about the “freaks” they’ve had to deal with.

PRINZ responds: cynicism confirmed

Courtesy of Russell Brown on Twitter, PRINZ has responded on the Monckton issue in glorious marketers’ Technicolor:

PRINZ was offered Viscount Christopher Monckton as a speaker and our intention is to have him talk about the communications issues around climate change – given that this is a hotly debated topic that many laypeople are confused about.

Viscount Monckton is unquestionably an unusual character whose hereditary title and occasional extreme statements attract attention and criticism. But he does represent a point of view and, as an opinion-leading climate change skeptic, communicators should be interested in what he has to say.

Geoff Austin’s point of view on climate change communication is: “My concern about the present situation is not that we may or may not reasonably expect catastrophic global warming. It is that anyone who has the temerity to try to discuss the issue will be the recipient of ad hominem attacks designed to shut down the debate.”

Fuckin’ brilliant, that is.

People are confused about climate change so we want to just have the discussion about how to communicate it!

That confusion totally has nothing to do with the lying and manipulation and basic falsification of any kind of “lack of consensus” about climate change.  It’s not caused at all by the very people PRINZ is hosting.

He’s just there to talk about “communications issues”, like the “ad hominem attacks” which dominate the debate!

Because the people who lie about being members of the House of Lords, who lie about being Nobel Prize winners, are definitely the people to talk about the ad hominem attacks in the debate … like when they accuse climate scientists of being liars and part of a global conspiracy to destroy capitalism and democracy and stuff.

Seriously, PRINZ.  I’d be right there with you on a seminar about “the difficulties of communication complex scientific ideas to the public” or “the dangers of getting involved in arguments with completely dishonest opponents who will say and do anything to “win””.

But basically, like I said: this is why no one likes PR people.  Because this “event” has every hallmark of Absolute Power-esque amoral spin doctoring which puts no limits on what can be done to protect the reputations of the rich and powerful: lying, deception, covering up even the most obvious, ridiculous buffoonery (can I mention lying about being a member of the House of Lords again?) by any means necessary.

And nothing establishes this more that the second paragraph up there:  “he does represent a point of view”.  So does [insert favourite villain here].  It’s basically the grown-up version of a commenter screaming “freedom of speech!!!” on a blog – as though all speech were equally valid and important, and made relevant and worthy of people’s time and attention by nothing more than the fact that it is speech, ergo you have to listen to it.

Great PR move, PRINZ.  You’ve done your industry proud.


The rumour mill has it that Four Winds Communications, the actual sponsors of this event, represent clients including Gas NZ and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association.  Any links to establish this would be most shiny.