Great Moments in Marketing

Just in time for the Boston Marathon, insurance company GEICO thought it would be a good idea to run a commercial about a runner cheating the Grim Reaper in a marathon.

Supposedly, the actual premise is a stunt man cheating death, but the timing…


Points missed

[Major chain of over-priced caffeine]*’s “Race Together” campaign has been terribly misunderstood. Darned near everyone is polarizing over whether the campaign itself is racist, or denigrating, or merely stupidly simplistic.

None of the above. It’s marketing genius.

Remember: a prime tenet of advertising is, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”** Anything that gets a company’s name in people’s faces goes. For the price of a few full page ads, [Major chain of over-priced caffeine] has gotten hoursĀ and column yards of national coverage, with its name and logo splashed over TV screens, newspapers, and web sites. For free. Every retweet is an unpaid advertisement.

Marketing. Effing. Genius.

Someone has a big bonus coming.

(Aside: Faux ran a [Major chain of over-priced caffeine] rant this morning for several minutes. Company’s logo was on-screen almost the whole time — presumably at no charge — and kept repeating the name. But what amused me was that they also showed the “Race Together” quiz that [Major chain of over-priced caffeine] ran in newspapers. All about quantifying how time time you spend associating with people of other races. It was amusing because I tried mentally answering the questions and had to give up because… How the heck do I know? So many friends, ex-girlfriends, extended family, associates, and random strangers on the street are such mongrels that I don’t have any idea how to classify them. I never found any need to do that. Dear Bog, the US Census has 14 different answers for “race,” not counting “other.” To answer [Major chain of over-priced caffeine]’s quiz <i>forces</i> you arbitrarily discriminate.)

* If you know who I’m talking about, my point is proved. If you don’t… Well, I’m not mentioning their name until they send me a check.

** I personally saw this belief exemplified by a telco city sales manager who proudly displayed an above-the-fold half page, continued-inside article about how horrible his company was. When I noted the article was negative (“never do business with [insert company name]”), he replied, “But people will know our name!” Happily, that company went bankrupt after I left and no longer exists.