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A Mickey Mouse PR Stunt

The interwebs are reporting that the Walt Disney Company is pulling production of its toys and clothing out of factories in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Hard to move stuff if the factory burns down. Doesn’t help if the workers are killed either.
Over at Deadline.com a site concerned with the movie biz was this gem:

The company said its decision was based on a World Bank report that assesses how countries are governed. Metrics used in the report included accountability, corruption and violence;
Source: Deadline.com

So until the World Bank tells you that some places are incredibly fucked up and no amount of capitalism will overcome greed or worker safety, its okay.

According to a CNN report is this nugget:

“After much thought and discussion we felt this was the most responsible way to manage the challenges associated with our supply chain,” said Bob Chapek, president of Disney Consumer Products.
Source: CNN

Whew! I am so glad that they have their supply chain in hand. Atta boy BOB!! Really! Getting yer funky ass out in front of this supply chain noose. Names like Nike or Adidas ring a bell? Seems like they got dinged for using foreign factories for their supply chains. Years Ago….

So remember folks, the next time you want to pick up some merchandise, be sure to look for the label that says:

NO WORKERS WERE STARVED,BEATEN, OR KILLED MAKING THIS PRODUCT!

Quote of the Year

This is the last time I’m going to say this, so pay attention. In the digital world, people are passionate about interacting with each other — not brands, not ads, not you, not me.
Get over it.

Source: The Ad Contrarian

Imagine ad men running after you with stencils and cans of spray paint hoping to ‘brand’ you in hopes that your scarlet letter will get all your faceyspacey ‘friends’ to buy shit you probably don’t need, or want.
The internet is littered with Social Media Lunatics whose goal is to sell your ass to advertisers.

Apple Phone Tracking and the Massive PR Failure

The latest lunacy from the web wing nuts is the discovery of the I Phone data collection and home phoning tracking users across the world. Discovering that your phone is spying on you should not come as a surprise especially since connectivity is being provided by the telecom industry who made a fortune charging you by the second and recording the number called and time talking.

The introduction of GPS tech in phones let all those cute apps like where am i , and where do i get condoms RIGHT NOW work. The fact that most smart phone users use their phones for letting the world know they took a successful dump rather than actually calling and speaking to anyone doesn’t make a very convincing case for connecting the dots between ‘smart phones ‘ and any increase in intelligence in the gene pool. Quite the reverse if the popularity of Farmville and stupid bird games sucking up more minutes than folks talking is any indication.

Apple’s failure and by extension the Windows and Google phones which all do the same thing is not that they are collecting this information, or got caught doing so, but not immediately performing a PR Magic Trick. But I will get to that in a moment.

Behind the cute little screens of every mobile phone are ones and zeros which make up the digital universe. The one true thing in the electronic  universe is: If you make it with ones and zeros somebody will come along and break it.

From passwords to viruses, if it is binary it is breakable. Think about every data breach you have heard of since the first two web pages went live.  Hell, they even have a word for it.  Jailbreaking does not mean digging a tunnel out of the big house, but stands for hacking phone operating systems to do more and different things. Like making useful and free apps that do things that folks actually want, rather than being bombarded with commercial messages offering shit you don’t want, need, or could care less about.

The PR Magic Trick   or the Massive PR Failure

This was a watershed moment for PR/Social Media companies to continue to justify their existence and they fell down. The solution to the black eye and the creepy factor could have been dialed way down using the time honored gag of misdirection.

BLAME IT ON THE PHONE COMPANY!!!!

Holy Shit! If every there was an opportunity to toss somebody under the bus, this was a golden moment. Everybody hates the phone companies and this could have been a PR Coup sticking it to the telecoms and pleading that the phone company made them do it. Especially in the case of the iPhone being nose to ass with AT&T for years. Think NSA Black Rooms. Some of the data collected are the different cell towers used to make connections between you and whatever the fuck you are doing with your phone. This translates into location data which can give a pretty good indication of where you are when you are using your phone. And what you are doing with it.

The Anonymous  data collection excuse  is so much bullshit for a number of reasons. The phone company and Apple will never let go of user data for billing and selling apps on your phone. This means that the unique identifiers like your MAC address and phone number nails you to the data crucifix harder than superglue on your fingertips.

Three Card Monte

BLAME IT ON THE PHONE COMPANY!!!! Apple could have said the phone company made them do it. The phone company could have said that they were collecting this data to determine where and how the network needed upgrading,(not that they will spend any money on doing this, preferring data caps, usage plans, extra numbers you don’t need) or better yet, to keep the tinfoil hat crowd happy, blame it on the government! Yeah! AT&T and the NSA Black Rooms at the switching stations.

Apple’s response is so tepid as too be meaningless.

Apple Admits it Botched iPad, iPhone “Location” Code, Says Fix is Coming


Apple Q&A on Location Data

But Wait!! There’s More!!!
IN an effort to prove that they are the peoples representatives, the Congress is gonna grill Google, Apple and Microsoft. This of course after getting their tits slammed in the door of party posturing.
Google, Apple and Microsoft questioned on data tracking

Jesus, you just can’t make this shit up.

Ad Slogan of the Week

I don’t Twitter. If I feel the need to listen to people communicate in less than 140 characters, I hang out around the counter at the local burger shack. Geographic, Local, Topical, and Focused

Would you like fries with that?
Can I supersize that?
Honey mustard or Ranch?

You get the idea. I surf the web with FlashBlocker, AdBlocker and refuse cookies. So in the Multi Media Social Networking Universe of No!NO! PR is Not Advertising It is Different, despite the fact that these guys avoid mentioning pricing except for billings, still not understanding that moving product is the only way that business makes money, the only shot advertisers reall get at me is my TV viewing.
The latest gem from the minds of the PR/AD world are the new Ford Ads.

Why Ford?
Why Now?
Why Not.

Holy Shit Buckwheat!! Why Not? Your house is in foreclosure, You have no health insurance, You probably don’t have a job, Your local and state governments are in the red, every program that may actually help you has been cut, and the only folks getting money are the police to keep order in the streets, so Hell Yeah, lets go buy a Ford!
Why Not!

Maytag Major Appliances (Don’t Buy Them!) and Extended Warranties.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Let me expand on this.

I bought a bunch of Maytag products almost 5 years ago. At the Maytag Store (which are not owned by Maytag, but are independently owned stores that hustle Maytag Products) My ex and I had sold our house, we were both moving and were under the gun to get out of the old house. A 25 cubic foot Refrigerator,(which has had the compressor replaced already, and as I discovered my freezer has the same compressor) a 25 cubic foot freezer, and a ‘Commerical Grade’ washer dryer pair. My ex also bought the same refer (and has had the compressor replaced also) and a Neptune Washer Dryer Pair that turned out to be the Appliances from Hell. We also bought the factory Extended Warranties for these. Dave the salesman made a lot of money that day, but he is also a bottom feeder. (The Neptune was so bad that there was a class action lawsuit filed and Dave the salesman said nothing about it when I asked him point blank if there was any reported problems with the machines we picked out, to which he said No., which is why he is a bottom feeder.)

Normally I don’t buy extended warranties on products, as most stuff that I buy either works or breaks inside of the standard warranty time frame. I bought the warranty because I don’t want to be an appliance repairman above the stuff I already know how to do.

My Maytag Washer SAV2555AWW broke last Sunday. This is a knob operated non electronic washer. Simple operation for a simple guy. I am a beltline washer, above the belt is one load with the towels and sheets, and below the beltline is the other load. I do laundry once a week. Since I live alone, we are not talking about massive laundry action, which is probably more than you wanted about my laundry habits.

!maytagsav2555aww

So a scratch paper calculation would have me doing 520 loads over almost 5 years. Not what you would call real hard use.

I have an extended warranty for it. I tried calling on Monday from my cell phone, and ended in a voice mail repeating loop where the voice says “Select one of the following options”, pauses and says “Select one of the following options”. . .

Tuesday I called from home and after a significant wait time got someone with lungs, who ‘knew’ me and had my information on the screen based on my phone number. I am thinking this is pretty cool. Having my information at hand so things can move along. I described the problem, “got loud, started puking water on the floor from the bottom”.

To my amazement, I was scheduled for service the very next day. Cool I thought, moving on with my life etc.

Wednesday, the repairman arrived at the outside of the time window, and after describing the problem, he was able to diagnose it in a little less than 30 seconds. Cool I thought, thinking that he would repair it and my life would continue. Not so fast.

The repairman did not have the transmission on the truck with him, nor could he repair it. He had to go back to the shop and and describe the fix and get authorization to order parts, let alone fix it.

Here is the deal on this. Sniffing on the web brings up the triple lip seal problem which is not limited to my model but is also a problem on these models: which are Maytag and Amana units.

ALW110RAW, ALW210RAW, ALW210RMC0, ALW210RMC1, ALW210RMW

ALW210RMW1, ALW410DAW, ALW410RAW, ALW430RAC, ALW430RAW,

ALW432RAW, ALW450QAC, ALW450QAC1, ALW450QAW, ALW450QAW1,

ALW480DAC, ALW480DAW, ALW540RAC, PALW540RAW, ALW540RMC0,

ALW540RMC1, ALW540RMW0, ALW540RMW1, ALW680RAC, ALW680RAW,
ALW780QAC, ALW780QAC1, ALW780QAW, ALW780QAW1, ALW780QMC0,
ALW780QMC1, ALW780QMW0, ALW780QMW1, ALW880QAC, ALW880QAC1,

ALW880QAW, ALW880QAW1, ALW891SAW, ALW895SAC, ALW895SAW,

ALW895SAW1, ALW980EAW, ALW990EAC, ALW990EAC1, ALW990EAW,

ALW990EAW1, SAV505DAWW, SAV5300AWW, SAV5401AWW,
SAV5600AWW, SAV5701AWW, SLW330RAW, NAV2330AWW; NAV3330AWW; NAV3330EWW;
SAV205DAWW; SAV2555AWW; SAV2655AWW; SAV3655AWW; SAV365AAWW; SAV365ZAWW;
SAV3710AWW; SAV3855AWW; SAV405DAWW; SAV405DEWW; SAV4655AWQ; SAV4655AWW;
SAV4655EWQ; SAV4655EWW; SAV4710AWW; CW9500W; NAV5800AWW; NAV6800AWW;
NAV8800AWW; NAV8800EWW; SAV515DAWW; SAV515DEWW; SAV5710AWW; SAV571EEWW;
SAV5910AWW; SAV5910EWW

Source: Maytag bulletin

Which tells us that there are a lot of wrappers and not much innovation. The bulletin (PDF) goes into detail on replacing the bearing assembly including a whole bunch of special tools to get to it. The last page of the bulletin tells the repairman that he needs to buy a new tool to perform the repair described on the proceeding 7 pages.

I called Friday to inquire when my washer was going to be repaired, only to be told that they were waiting for e-mail authorization from Whirlpool, (who bought Maytag about a year or so ago) before they could order parts to repair my washer.

I have some Major Problems with this.

The first problem is that the warranty company is a 3rd party company doing business as Maytag, to administer this. And as I noted above waiting for email authorization is last on the list I want to hear. This is one of those deals that shuffles shit around, like claims payers for health insurance which just adds more layers of crap between a company and a customer.

The second problem from a cost effectiveness standpoint is not having enough information or utilizing it. The warranty company has all of my information on file, phone, address, Model number, etc. What they don’t seem to have is information from Maytag on these machines breakdown history. By this I mean, by model number the various parts and fixes that have happened over time. This used correctly would have sent the repairman out with the parts to fix the machine with one trip. This sucks for the repairman who as you may guess is not a Maytag employee, but is another third party company doing work on contract to Maytag.

Every repair that I or the ex has needed has required at least 2 if not more service calls to fix. Most of them have been caused by not having the parts in stock at the warehouse and needing to order them from the factory if they were not already on back order, because of “popularity”( you know the shit that breaks regularly)

The third problem is this is standard operating procedure for companies. By doing the Tom Peters Downsizing, outsourcing, and third party claims and service, it looks good to the shareholders, since the whole service, warranty and repair problems can be swept under the rug and not show up on the balance sheet.

But the people on the point of the transaction like me the customer, who actually buys this stuff so that they have jobs and who just wants stuff to work, are screwed, the poor bastard from the repair service who must want to cut his throat at night having spending day after day knowing what the problems are how to solve them, but having his hands tied, and gagged, by a system that does what it can to make fufilling their obligations as complex as possible.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Now that Whirlpool owns Maytag, I wonder how long before Maytag gets replaced by Whirlpool and they hope that we will not remember getting screwed.

Knowing that my freezer shares the same compressor that failed in my refrigerator 3 years after I bought it does not fill me with optimism nor does it endear me to a company that seems to be all hat and no cattle.

Your choices for major appliances are limited as Amana is just re badged Maytag, Whirlpool is probably gonna use all the cheap Maytag parts, which cuts out a lot of Samsung models as they make the parts for Maytag.

I really just want to do my laundry and not have to bitch slap companies or tell them how to run their operations so that folks will actually buy their products again.

Medical Loss Ratio

Health Insurance has always been presented as a method of sharing risk across large groups so that when catastrophe strikes you are covered. The theory is that premiums create a large pool of money that is used to cover you in the case of need. Conversely your premium is used to help someone else. This of course breaks down as soon as somebody can find a way to get folks who might actually need to use their policy denied benefits. The insurance industry uses rescission, purging, and the latest game, the Medical Loss Ratio.

Medical Loss Ratio is a term that has nothing to do with providing health care, but everything to do with profitability of for profit insurance companies.

Here is a quote from Wendell Potter, who until recently was the Chief PR guy at Cigna, during an interview with Bill Moyer.

WENDELL POTTER: Well, there’s a measure of profitability that investors look to, and it’s called a medical loss ratio. And it’s unique to the health insurance industry. And by medical loss ratio, I mean that it’s a measure that tells investors or anyone else how much of a premium dollar is used by the insurance company to actually pay medical claims. And that has been shrinking, over the years, since the industry’s been dominated by, or become dominated by for-profit insurance companies. Back in the early ’90s, or back during the time that the Clinton plan was being debated, 95 cents out of every dollar was sent, you know, on average was used by the insurance companies to pay claims. Last year, it was down to just slightly above 80 percent.

Here is the Interview Video.
Here is the transcript.

After watching this, you may have a different view on health insurance.

The Desperation of Blu-ray DVD Act 2

In the latest flogging of BluRay comes a single report that BluRay Consumer Awareness and Sales On the Rise.

Consumer Awareness? Try Swine Flu.

According to the release:

“with 6 percent of respondents saying they would be “extremely or very likely” to buy in the next six months, compared with 5 percent who responded similarly in the August report”

Out of an online survey of 6,994 consumers, which would equal 499 folks over 430 from August. Not real inspiring for an expensive proprietary format whose major use is in game consoles. This report comes from the NPD Group who says this at the bottom of this release:

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,700 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions.

You can figure out who paid for this.
As far as sales are concerned, Twilight sold 5.2 million copies it’s first weekend of availability of which BluRay was 5%

You can run out and buy a BluRay player for 250 bucks or you can spend 70-100 on an upsampling DVD player and use the movies you already own.

Homies 2008 aka the Bitchies

Housebloggers are a subset of the blog universe that can be defined as folks who own homes and write about their experiences, building, remodeling, decorating.  I do it. Most folks do it for the joy of it, some folks do it because they can, and some folks are in business to capitalize on it. There is nothing wrong with any of these reasons.

Apartment Therapy is a business in a blogging format. They are a member of the Glam Media Network Their focus is on pageviews and advertising with a decorating hook. This is an observation. According to themselves,(1.5M unique visitors per month, and 15 million page views, across a network of 5 sites) You would think that this would be enough.

They have a contest called the Homies trying for some of that audience participation social media voodoo. The prize is a hundred bucks and 5 seconds of fame.

One  finalist has asked to be withdrawn from this ‘contest’ already and the comments keep coming.

Yet another page view scheme headed off a cliff.

Going Green with bleeding eyeballs and excess crainal pressure

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce. Noble stirring words for a planet on the brink of the latest castastrophe. And fodder for PR sausage machines.

“now made with 100% post-consumer recycled HDPE.
HDPE is non-toxic and Bisphenol A and Phthalate free.”

I don’t know which annoys me more, the quacking of companies who offer you green guilt free products, or the folks who describe them.

Dumb Moments in Marketing

Fast food has a long and expensive history in marketing. They also provide some of the dumbest moments in marketing.
Here is one.
Truckside Marketing
Ya gotta wonder who the genius was who thought this was a good idea, and who the morons were that signed off on this.