January 13, 2012

Revolutionary Marketing

I've always been fascinated by marketing, by which I mean I've never given marketing much thought unless a company does something colossally stupid, marketing-wise.

Take this week, for example. In a keynote speech given during a presentation in Las Vegas, a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson used an image of Che Guevara to augment the concept of technological revolutions taking place in the automobile industry.

Leaving aside the irony of a luxury automobile company invoking the image of a Communist revolutionary who was anti-capitalist to his core, Guevara was, also, basically an insane guy who didn't mind killing a few hundred or thousand people who happened to disagree with him.

As good ideas go, this wasn't one of them. It's a bit like if La-Z-Boy were to use an image of, say, Hitler, reclining in front of a fireplace, saying "Ahh, Mein Kampfy chair!"

I always like to try to imagine the marketing meetings during which horrible ideas like this were hatched and approved. I mean, it takes a considerable amount of historical illiteracy to think Che Guevara is a good icon to rely upon for selling vehicles most people can't even afford. That's my polite way of saying it had to have been a room full of fairly young marketing interns, one of whom was maybe wearing one of those hip Che Guevara tee shirts that proves he's an outside-the-box thinker.

MARKETING INTERN #1 (MI1): Okay, we have to come up with a presentation for a keynote speech in Las Vegas in a couple weeks.

MARKETING INTERN #2 (MI2): Yeah, and it has to highlight the importance of technology in the automobile industry.

MARKETING INTERN #3 (MI3): So, like, technology is sparking a sort of, like, automobile revolution, or something?


MI2: A revolutionary! Like this guy! *pointing at his Che Guevara tee shirt*

MI3: Who is that guy?

MI2: I have no, like, idea. But, man, he was awesome!

MI1: He even looks awesome! A little sparse in the mustache department, but his hair and beret are wicked cool!

MI4: I'd totally buy a Mercedes from that guy!

MI3: Hold on. I'm getting an idea here. Let's replace that star thingee on his beret with the Mercedes logo!

MI4: I'm LOVING it!

MI1: This is just an epically great concept. I can't wait for the reaction Mercedes will receive when this presentation is given.

MI2: We'll get noticed for sure!

As bad as this marketing decision was, it's only a matter of time before some marketing person, somewhere, does something even more ill advised.

Mark my words, at some point you'll see a commercial featuring Ronald McDonald selling an anti-cholesterol medication while doing a jaunty dance in his oversize clown shoes.

What can I say? I have faith in the marketing minds of the world.

UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot about this, but there was something about "Mein Kampfy chair" that seemed too funny to have just popped into my head:


Posted by Ryan at January 13, 2012 11:22 AM | TrackBack
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