What Were They Thinking?

Today we celebrate half-baked ideas, those astoundingly bad concepts that no marketing budget can rescue.

CNN recently blew $300 million before pulling the plug on CNN+. Turns out, nobody cared. So, it’s on the scrap heap alongside fellow duds like New Coke, Harley-Davidson perfume and Cheetos Lip Balm.

Ever hear of Chris Gaines? It was the worst-kept secret in Nashville when Garth Brooks donned a Beatles wig and released an album, video and movie as Gaines. He can move mountains in the music business. But Garth couldn’t get fans to buy into his alter ego. Chris Gaines had friends in no places.

It seemed like a good idea when the New York Yankees announced Bat Day. Every kid in attendance received a 15” souvenir bat. What could go wrong? By the 7th inning, fights broke out in the bleachers and bats were flying. The failed stunt gave new meaning to the Bronx Bombers.

Oscar Meyer just announced their latest taste sensation, Halloweeners. Hey kids, who wants a licorice-flavored hot dog? And I almost drove off the road when I saw Kum & Go gas stations. I wish I’d been in the boardroom when they approved that name with a straight face.

Here’s my take. You’ve got to love Southwest Airlines for their recent partnership with Guitar Center. If you missed it, Southwest gave free ukuleles to passengers aboard their flight to Hawaii. What a clever way to promote the airline’s new route, right? Everyone loves the gentle strumming of a ukulele. Unless there’s 228 of them playing Smoke On The Water…badly…for five hours.

All-in all, Southwest’s stunt ended better than Bat Day – and there were no reports of passengers clubbing each other with ukes.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347   

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