Oh, they're `edgy'
So, the question at the watercooler this week is: Would you tell your child where he or she was conceived? Hmm?
Apparently, if you're an advertising guru devising a new marketing campaign for the Chrysler Group, you would-or at least try to, in a roundabout kind of way.
The DaimlerChrysler A.G. braintrusts decided they wanted some edgy advertisements with attitude. But they may have got more than they bargained for once the new spots began to air on the small screen. Under pressure from critics, the group pulled some of the ads. And, according to Automotive News, Chrysler execs said they don't even have data that prove the controversial TV spots are bringing results, although the auto maker's CEO, Dieter Zetsche, said he believes the strategy is working.
One of the ads that bit the dust in January showed a Dodge Caravan demonstrating its all-wheel-drive prowess by passing a snowplow-deemed unsafe driving by the critics. Then there was an earlier Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo commercial yanked because it apparently offended some hunters.
But perhaps the most risky (read ``edgy'') ad-which got sanitized right quick-featured the new Chrysler Concorde. The end of the commercial was changed on Nov. 19 so that the young girl in the spot didn't realize that, from what her mom was telling her, her sister was, uh, conceived in the car's nice, roomy back seat. Some car dealers have been running both versions of the ad.
``...We want to be the most daring marketer in the business,'' explained Jim Schroer, Chrysler's executive vice president of global sales and marketing. Pulling the commercials gives the group more buzz, he said, which makes the spots worth the cost to produce them.
Yeah, but that kind of marketing sometimes can backfire and bite you in your back seat.
Up on the roof
Smart bombs. Smart tires?
The war in Afghanistan has proved to be another showcase, if you believe the government's PR, for the U.S. military's firepower superiority and good `ol Yankee ingenuity.
Just like during the Gulf War, in Afghanistan we've heard about the accuracy of ``precision bombing'' and laser-guided weaponry. But it seems the routed Taliban had at least one secret weapon up the sleeves of their robes. Or rather, on a roof.
A recent Wall Street Journal piece titled, ``Oh, Omar,'' described the beating from above that the Kandahar compound of Mullah Mohammad Omar took, courtesy of U.S. bombers. (The spiritual leader of the Taliban, according to reports, is still on the lam.) WSJ writer Nancy DeWolf Smith said ``it's amazing that the house itself still stands.''
The secret defense mechanism? Its unusual roof.
Composed of several layers of old tires, the house's roof is said to be part of a bunker design dreamed up by U.S. Public Enemy No. 1 himself, Osama bin Laden. Ms. Smith wrote that, for years, according to local Kandaharis, the Taliban imported amazing quantities of used car and truck tires ``and nobody could figure out what they were for. Now we know.''
The tires, she said, appear to have cushioned the blow of one direct hit on Omar's house: ``The bomb literally bounced off and fell instead onto the attached barn, collapsing its roof'' and smashing an area where the mullah kept seven cows. That, Afghan guards on the site said, sent the animals to heaven.
This 'n that
On-time delivery-In a recent monologue, ``Tonight Show'' host Jay Leno told of a pregnant woman on her way to deliver a baby who could wait no longer.
She pulled into a Los Angeles-area Texaco station-where the delivery took place-because, Jay joked, it was cleaner than her HMO down the street.
In true car mechanic fashion, he continued, a tech probably put her up on a lift and said: ``Sorry, this baby's got to come out.''
To paraphrase the old Texaco theme song: You can trust your baby to the man who wears the star. Sorry, gang, it's just not the same if you don't use ``car.''
Gastrointestinal distress-A National Public Radio reporter, dissecting the mess at Enron Corp., said there were numerous indications that ``red flags were thrown up.'' That, we presume, is in addition to all the red ink being hemorrhaged.
Speaking of crash and burn, journalists looking for a cute way to describe that corporation's ``unique'' brand of economics and accounting practices-have minted a new term: They're calling it ``Enronomics.''
Fee...fi, fo, fum
Here's a bit of trivia, brought to you courtesy of the Northwest Tire Dealers Association's Tire Talk newsletter: Oregonians sent 63,862 tons of disposable diapers, 47,414 tons of used cat litter, 33,059 tons of old carpet and 39,647 tons of shredded scrap tires to landfills in 2000.
The diapers and kitty litter accounted for more than 8 percent of the household garbage collected in Oregon, the newsletter pointed out, yet certain local and state government agencies are only looking at charging fees to the tire industry.
Now, if there were only a way to train those kidlets to use a litter box instead of the disposables, maybe that would reduce the waste stream.