As the New Social Media Top 5 gathers momentum, this week I noticed a number of stories about brands online and how they handled a situation well or did something I liked. That’s right, I’m toning down the snark (sort of) to show what a nice guy I can be. Many of these stories are well-picked-over like a yard sale at noon, but I’ll try to find one question or nugget in each that has been less-discussed:
- What we all know – When a brand makes a controversial decision, the tendency is to stand behind the decision without spending time (and reputation capital) feeding the trolls who disagree with it online. Target recently decided to stop separating toy aisles into “girls” and “boys,” and predictably the mouth-breathing keyboard-peckers decided that was un-American or something and took to the Internet with their fair and balanced opinions. A prankster by the name of Even Melgaard took Target’s decision to ignore the haters out of their hands by setting up a fake account and textually abusing them, using Target’s logo to give the appearance of an “official” customer care channel. Most brands’ first reaction would be to go after the imposter with a cease-and-desist order to protect their trademark; however, the most talked-about reaction was Target’s humorous posting of a sale on troll dolls. Well played, we all applauded.
- What most of us didn’t talk about – Target’s lawyers are most definitely involved as far as this being a likely trademark violation. As funny as this guy is, I’d be shocked if they don’t ask (if they haven’t already) for Melgaard to stop using the logo. One of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s favorite sports is to force applicants to fiercely protect marks if they want to keep it, much the way the Caesars forced gladiators to fight to the death in Roman times. Expect “Ask ForHelp” to stop using the logo at some point once Target’s lawyers get back from the Hamptons.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
- What we all know – Kentucky Fried Chicken recently revived the “beloved” Colonel Sanders character. Darrell Hammond, well known as a mimic from “Saturday Night Live,” stepped right in and did a swell job. Apparently some people thought it was creepy (and others thought maybe bringing back a Southern white gentleman dressed like a plantation owner as a spokesperson was a little odd in the same year South Carolina finally decided to remove the Confederate Battle Flag) but to see what KFC did next, I guess the reasons were not that it was like bringing a dead guy back to life on TV like some kind of ad-zombie (who can forget Orville Reddenbocker’s chilling return from the dead?). Instead, they introduced ads featuring fellow SNL alumnus Norm MacDonald, best known for doing cannily inaccurate impressions of Burt Reynolds and making OJ Simpson jokes, to take over the impression. Did KFC listen to its customers and give them what they wanted? Well, they’re definitely listening.
- What I think – We are all being trolled, and I hope I’m right in thinking that. Norm MacDonald comes off as Norm MacDonald in a Colonel Sanders suit, and if they did that on purpose they are brilliant. Perhaps they will follow with other SNL alums taking their turns doing a poor impression. I’d watch that, if only to see if they’d cast Garrett Morris.
- What we know – Probably not much: “Cooties” is a flick coming out in September about kids who turn into zombie-like beasts, and we know it will be good not only because Elijah Wood is in it (some of his role choices make me think of Wood as a Crispin Glover, except if people liked him), but because the film is a blender creation from people behind the “Saw” movies and “Glee” (which could have used a few more gory deaths in my opinion).
- What you don’t care about but I do – On seeing the trailer online, I blew it up on the TV screen for my family and promptly announced that seeing this movie once it comes out will be a family outing- something I posted on Twitter as well:
Making a family date night for when @cootiesmovie opens. Yup.
— Doug Haslam (@DougH) August 14, 2015
- That the writer (and one of the stars) of the movie as well as the director favorited, Retweeted me and followed me tickled me in a way Twitter used to in the old days. This is less the case of a big brand deigning to favor its Twitter followers with responses, but I felt it more a fan acknowledgment by some folks who are working hard to get this movie noticed. I hope Cooties gets some screens in Boston. Who wants to go?
Three is enough; this is getting long
- I’ll spare you thoughts on the Tinder/Vanity Fair slapfight (because they are not positive like the ones above) and the bonus topic of somebody trying to declare a new age of the “Engagement Scientist.“
- That Engagement Scientist post used a horrible, stiff stock photo to illustrate its point. Don’t do that, man.