Friday, May 31, 2013

Advertise and They Will Come

This week reporter Crabby is bringing a few "odd news" stories from the rain soaked Midwest.  It could be said she is all wet but it probably wouldn't make her less crabby.  

There have been several news items about marketing ideas that sparked some customer feedback this week. Probably the most notable of the bunch was the JC Penney billboard.  It seems that many people saw something in the ad that the retailer didn't see.

What do you see???

In The Eye of The Beholder

A billboard shows the J.C. Penney teapot, which is being said to resemble Hitler to passing motorists. 

The ad, on Interstate 405 near Culver City, Calif., got lots of attention over the past few days as people went to social media sites buzzing about the odd resemblance to the dictator, Adolph Hitler.

The $40 kettle had black details that could conjure an image of Hitler's mustache and parted hair. With a little more imagination, the kettle spout could look like a right arm raised in a Nazi salute.

As of Wednesday, it was taken down. The Michael Graves-designed kettle was also gone from In the case of of the controversial kettle, Penney handled it with a light touch.  It took to Twitter to say that any likeness was "certainly unintended. If we had designed the teapot to look like something, we would have depicted a kitten tea kettle :)" it said via the @jcpenney handle.

Some entrepreneurs who got the teapots and saw an opportunity have taken to eBay to sell them. "Looks like Hitler," said one seller who priced available kettles at $249.99. "Impossible to find."

There are still a number of people bidding on these on EBay. There is nothing like controversy to help sell a product. 

Hair Brained Marketing

A New Jersey man who offered online bidders his spot in heaven said bidding reached $100,000 before eBay took down his proposal.
Ari Mandel, 31, who lived in an Orthodox Jewish community until he was 23 and now identifies himself as a theological atheist, said eBay removed an auction offering his "portion of Heaven," after it had obtained a high bid of $100,000, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

"It was nice to fantasize," Mandel told The Jewish Forward of his near payday. "But I didn't think it was going to happen."

The auction assured bidders Mandel had steered clear of sin by performing good deeds, refusing to worship false gods and being "98 percent vegan." The description promised Mandel would continue to live a good life to ensure the spot in heaven would remain available for the winning bidder.

Mandel described his posting as a harmless prank.

"To those of you who took this seriously, chill out. It was just a joke," he said. "Whether or not you're a believer in this sort of thing, chill out."

Mandel said he received a call from an eBay representative to inform him that intangible items cannot be auctioned on the site.

 Someone offered a $100, 000 for a place in heaven?? They must be pretty insecure about the likelihood of getting there on their own credentials. 

How Chic is Your Chicken?

A New Hampshire farmer is selling chicken accessories including diapers, clothing and rooster-proof saddles on her website.

Julie Baker of Claremont said she created the products found on Pampered Poultry for her own chickens, which she considers to be part of her family, and decided to share her creations with the chicken-loving public, WBZ-TV reported Thursday.

Baker said the diapers are designed to allow chicken fans to bring their birds into their homes without fearing the mess.

"When my daughter and I set out to design and sell chicken diapers, it was born not so much out of a need to literally pamper our poultry, but rather to share in the growing movement to bring chickens from an agriculture sphere and into the suburban/urban realm. We wanted to be part of the 'Backyard Chicken' movement," Baker wrote in her Farm Dreamer blog.

Baker's website sells clothing for chickens and saddles to guard hens' modesty against "not so gentle gentleman roosters."

I think she may of offended all the gentlemen roosters.

 Job Opportunity

When it comes to advertising, you'd think agencies have come up with just about every possible place to put an ad, but a Lexington, Kentucky ad firm is using a brand new spot to try and sell something: beards.

"Everyone seems to stare at an epic beard, so we thought that would be a great place for an advertisement," says Whit Hiler of Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions.

Call it a beard-vertisement. "Beards are really hot right now," Hiler says. Literally and figuratively. The fast food chain A&W and an automotive company tried it as a promotional deal.

Men with beards were paid $5 to put a mini-billboard in their beard, and it created a lot of buzz.

"Since we've received so much press for the campaign, we've actually had some larger brands as well hit us up," Hiler says.

 I didn't realize that people were staring at "epic" beards.  What exactly makes a beard epic?


AletaObrien said...

Yuck, I don't like beards, talk about a turn off advertisement for me. Lol.
The Hitler picture, ehhh, kind of see it, but my husband looked at it and said, "Looks like a robot shooting the bird." :)
And diapers for a chicken? good grief, I'm having my fill with the baby. No thanks!

Cheryl P. said...

I am with you...not a huge fan of beards and most likely "epic" means too much facial hair.

I doubt that I would of thought it looked like Hitler if I was driving down the freeway but I agree with Greg. It is sort of robotic looking.

I would bet little Gregory is wayyyy more pleasant to do a diaper change on than a chicken. He smiles and they peck.

Jo-Anne said...

Ok first I don't like beards and seeing an add on a beard would give me the have to say the kettle was cute and it took me a few moments to see Hitler well kind of talk about a fuss in a teacup.............

lisleman said...

Dos Equis most interesting man in the world certainly has an epic beard since he is of course epic.
There are many ways for people to make money from chicken shit and I learned a new one, thanks.
There was a lady in Holland offering some time in heaven or was that a round the world treat? Going to heaven is one thing but coming back to tell about it - now you can sell books on that.

Robyn Engel said...

I grew up near Culver City, where that kettle sign stood. In fact, there's a large Jewish temple there, with my name on one of the window murals (I helped paint it). Clearly the resemblance was a fluke. JCPenneys did the right thing, but what I find disturbing is that people are milking it for big bucks. And as for the place in Heaven, it seems wrong he can't sell this yet someone can sell Britteny Spears already-been-chewed gum for 14,000. What a twisted world we live in.

Be well, Cheryl.

Cheryl P. said...

I totally agree with you, Jo-Anne. I am not a huge fan of beards but if a beard had a sign hanging in it, it would become even less attractive.

As for the teapot...I didn't see it either. If given enough thought..maybe a little but that's a stretch. A lot of fuss over nothing for sure.

Cheryl P. said...

I will acknowledge that the Dos Equis man is epic and his beard is epic but I doubt that he would go around with a mini-billboard in his beard for $5.00 a day. I would also say that while I am not a huge fan of beards that man looks awesome in one. Some guys can pull of the look spectacularly.

Who would of thought there was a market for chicken diapers??? I would love to see her diapering her chickens. I can't believe it isn't a fight.

Lady in Holland promising some time in she didn't get $100K. OR if she did, she really good at her job.

Cheryl P. said...

Yes, I too think JC Penney did the right thing to pull the ad as the buzz was making something negative out of something they had no intention of portraying. The aftermath of people buying it for several times more than the face value makes no sense. This will be old news 5 minutes ago.

EBay said the rule is it has to be a tangible item. You can sell about anything that you can physically touch. I can't believe that anyone would bid on something intangible. Seems like trying to buy your way into Heaven wouldn't fit in the framework of what a heaven is supposed to be about.

Wendy said...

I am still trying to figure out why chickens are going inside the house? Seriously, if they can't be 'house broken' then I don't think they belong in a house. ( house breaking that doable?)
So, you get his 'spot' in heaven NO matter how bad you are? Right? Hum..something seems amiss there theologically.
Oh, but my absolute favourite part of this post is your Kansas weather wheel.
I think there is a future for you as a weather person. Take along Crabby Pants for the oh so necessary comic relief.
From one living in a very wet damp place to another, I hold high my hot cuppa cocoa- Cheers!

Cheryl P. said...

I thought the same thing on both your comments. Michael Graves designed it and I am sure he thought the world was going crazy to see Hitler in his teapots.

I, too, was shocked to see the chicken diapers, dresses and saddles weren't coming from Portland. NO one loves chickens more (or so it seems) than the people in Portland.

Cheryl P. said...

Your comments always make me smile..actually giggle like a school girl but luckily only my husband has to hear it.

I am envisioning someone trying to house break a chicken. I don't think it can be done. They seem rather contrary creatures unless all the chickens on my grandparents farm just had very bad attitudes. Perhaps they didn't like Arkansas.

I thought the same thing about the Heaven spot for sale. So a serial killer could according to that guy buy his way into Heaven. That can't be right!

Thank you for noticing my weather wheel. That little sucka was a PITA to draw in Publisher. You wouldn't think so but it was. It was more difficult that putting rain gear on Crabby.

I lift my hot cuppa cocoa right back at ya!

Have a great day, Wendy!!

Leah said...

Cheryl, thank you for the above marketing ideas. I've been stumped about how to market my book. I'm considering the beard-vertisement as my son has a full beard right now offering lots of promotional space. I was also considering chicken marketing, where I have little t-shirts made up advertising my book and then dress some chickens in them and let them loose in downtown Manhattan. The Hitler T pot was no help at all except to show me what not to do. I was also considering Chihuahua marketing, as I have two of them who do nothing to earn their keep. I could put the chicken t-shirts on them and then tie them outside the Disney gates.

LOL! This was great. I love you and your blog;)

meleahrebeccah said...

* Honestly, I didn't notice the resemblance to the dictator, Adolph Hitler, until you mentioned it. But I am glad they took the billboard down.

* Um… Wait.. Someone in NJ sold their "spot" in heaven for $100,000.00? Who ever bought it can also have mine for the same price!!

* Chicken diapers? Now I've heard it all!

* beard-vertisement? Okay - NOW I've heard it all!

Cheryl P. said...

If you decide to go with the beard advertising make sure it is an epic beard. At $5.00 a day wages on the line you need to be careful with it's effectiveness. As for the chicken advertising...I think that is an awesome idea. You might want to also try that in Portland.

I agree that the shaping anything like Hitler is just a waste. Since it has now been linked to teapots, it's old news.

The Chihuahua advertising is brilliant, I think. It worked very well for Taco Bell and you have double the dogs.

Thank you so much Leah, I always appreciate your clever and hilarious comments.

Cheryl P. said...

I wouldn't of noticed it either had it not been pointed out. But it was a good thing JC Penny took the billboard down. No sense offending anyone over something so "much in the mind of the beholder." That wasn't the intent of the designer, I am sure.

Quite enterprising way to get some cash...well up to the point eBay pulled the ad. IF there is a heaven, I am confident that good people wouldn't have to pay for it. AND if someone is stupid enough to try buying it, they deserve to be out the money.

Chicken diapers..crazy!!!

beard-advertising...crazy and creepy.

meleahrebeccah said...

"IF there is a heaven, I am confident that good people wouldn't have to pay for it. AND if someone is stupid enough to try buying it, they deserve to be out the money"


abeerfortheshower said...

Diapers for my chicken? FINALLY! Duct taping napkins to their butts was really, really difficult and time consuming.

Also, I think I'd want more than just $5 to put something in my beard. But then again I'd have to be able to grow this "epic beard," and genetics says a firm 'NO.'

Dexter Klemperer said...

Chickens in the house is really warped. I miss our chickens because I never had to mow the chicken yard like I do now every week. It was just dirt when they were there. Maybe we need a goat.

Cheryl P. said...

I don't think chickens are the ideal indoor pet. Yard chickens seem to be the rage now. Perhaps you need to get some more chickens. Can a goat and chickens co-exist?

Dexter Klemperer said...

I think they can co-exist. No matter, our new house under city ordinances and we don't have the space anymore. But someday, we'll have a chicken yard again.