Screwing Up The Brand (2)

Following on from yesterday’s post about Stella Artois peeing in their own soup comes yet another example of marketing silliness:

Country star Luke Combs has apologized for appearing with Confederate flags, saying he is now aware of how painful that flag is.

Ummm Luke, bubba:  the Confederate flag may be painful to some, but it is not painful to your audience.

And just so we’re clear on the concept:  that “audience” would be the folks who buy your albums, attend your concerts and wear your T-shirts;  and in a pure head count they probably outnumber the flag-hating weenies by 25,000 : 1.

Now I don’t know if continuing to display the Stars and Bars at your concerts would disenchant folks in the crowd — just in passing, I bet your next concert will reveal an absolute sea of Confederate flags in the audience — but I’m pretty sure that a whole bunch of your fans are going to be mightily pissed off that you took a knee towards the Politically-Correct Set.

And the problem with doing that is that these woke bastards are never satisfied, especially after you do it once.  Expect your lyrics to come under scrutiny from now on:  references to cheating women will be labeled “gender-hatred”, singing about booze will be considered as encouraging alcoholism, and forget your pickup truck, that gas-guzzling ozone-destroying monster.

And if a country singer can’t sing about love, booze and trucks, there’s fuck-all left for him to sing about.


Oh, and a postscript:  just wait till the vegans see this pic…

I should also point out that until I wrote this post, I’d never heard of Luke Combs.

Screwing Up The Brand

One of the things that drives historians (well, this historian anyway) crazy is that people just refuse to learn from history — no matter how much precedent there is for a situation where doing X results in Unpleasant Consequence Y, we just go ahead and do X anyway, expecting that the outcome won’t be total shit and that anyway, Times Are Different.

Example:  when Coca-Cola tried to change Coke into New Coke back in the mid-1980s — because The Market Has Changed, And We Need To Move With The Times — a storm of furious resistance from their loyal consumers forced them to recant and relaunch Coke as Classic Coke, going back to the same old formulation of super-sweet battery acid that the world had come to know and love.  (New Coke, eventually, went the way of its erstwhile spokesman Bill Cosby.)

The Coca-Cola fiasco should be taught in business schools everywhere, and should be an integral part of any company’s training in marketing.  It’s not the first time it happened, of course;  but it was one of the more illuminating examples of leaving your established brand alone, and all the more notable because it involved a mere carbonated soft drink, surely one of the most irrelevant and disposable products ever invented.

Clearly, the Coke fiasco has either been forgotten or willfully ignored, because:

Stella Artois owners Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I say they’ve lowered the alcohol content in its canned, draft and gluten-free versions to capitalise on the popularity of “wellness trends”.
It last cut ABV from 5% to 4.8% in 2012 citing “evolving” drinking trends in the UK.

Let’s not forget the role of the bean-counters:

But the move is said to have saved previous brewers AB inBev up to £8.6million a year in duty, according to alcoholpolicy.net.

And the result?

The latest reduction has left beer lovers fuming and sparked a surge in one star reviews across supermarket websites from customers.

In a scathing review on Tesco’s website, the person wrote: “Today I cracked open a can of Stella 4.6% and thought I had Covid, since I could not taste anything.”

I have no dog in this fight:  Stella Artois has always been my supporting argument when I state that contrary to popular belief, the Belgians know fuck-all about making a decent beer*.

It appears that they know fuck-all about marketing the foul stuff, either.


*As I recall, the Belgies were the first to start adding fruit flavors to their beer, which just proves my point.

Black Lists Matter

Boycotting things and businesses has traditionally been a tool of the Left — flood a TV show’s advertiser with calls, threatening to boycott the company’s products unless they stop supporting [Tucker Carlson], etc.

We on the conservative side have had a few ourselves — anyone remember the anger when gun writer Dave Petzal  Jim Zumbo (sorry, Dave)  said that nobody needed an AR-15?  or the boycott of Smith & Wesson when the hapless gunmaker made a deal with the Clinton junta?  We will not even speak of Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.

I myself have a list of businesses and brands that I will never consider, mostly because of their anti-gun positions:

  • Levi Strauss
  • Leatherman
  • REI
  • Patagonia
  • Starbucks
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • AARP
  • Dick’s
  • Ben & Jerry
  • Doordash
  • GrubHub
  • Hallmark
  • Jack In The Box
  • Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Walgreens (they fire employees who protect themselves with guns)
  • Sara Lee
  • Costco
  • Panera
  • Waffle House
  • Target
  • Whole Foods

There are some companies that I “semi-boycott”, e.g.:

  • CitiBank:  I have a Citi Visa because I get airline miles from using it — but I only use it to make firearms-related purchases.  And if they stop accepting custom from the places which sell me those products, I’ll pay it off and cut it up.  I sent their marketing department a letter to that effect a couple years back.
  • Target:  I buy two products (and only two) from Target, simply because it’s the only place in Plano that carries them.
  • Waffle House:  I used to go to Waffle House weekly.  Now I only go there when I’m on the road, absolutely starving and there’s nowhere else to go.  (Maybe twice in the past three years.)

Some of the companies are easy to boycott, because I dislike their products, period (e.g. Starbucks, whom I treat like a public toilet facility, but never buy anything from), or I prefer the alternative anyway (Swiss Army knives over Leatherman, etc.).

Also, while a number of companies have official “don’t bring your gun in here” policies, the local branches (especially in Texas) adopt a “you must be kidding” attitude instead.  (Our local Kroger hadn’t even heard about Kroger’s policy when I asked the manager about it, and he just said, “Don’t worry about it.  I’m not about to risk losing half my business because of Corporate.”)

Anyway, that’s my blacklist.  Feel free to add your own, in Comments.

Oh, Really?

At first, I thought this was good news:

Given the uncertainties of COVID-19, major airlines stopped charging penalties to change your ticket through the end of 2020. Now, United Airlines says it’s locking in the policy — it’ll be free to change in 2021 as well…

That sounds great, until you finish the sentence:

…as long as you didn’t book the low-price basic economy seats fare.

Which accounts for the vast majority of airline tickets sold.  But wait!  There’s more:

Apparently this wallet-gouging feature will not apply to international travel — which is the type of ticket most likely to be affected by borders closed off by the Chinkvirus for the foreseeable future.

Here’s the best part:

Since 2010, Chicago-based United has scooped up nearly $6.5 billion in change fees. Last year, it took in $625 million, third behind Delta and American, according to Transportation Department figures.

I already have a built-in animus against United Airlines, for reasons too many and varied to tell;  so it will be a cold day in Hell when they drag me kicking and screaming onto one of their foul airliners.


Update:  And right on cue, from American Airlines in my inbox today:

Annoying Junk

I’ve recently been going through my Inbox, deleting and unsubscribing from various news feeds.  Why?

Because while I like having news delivered to me, I hate it when I get an email from a news organization that contains not news but something that, if followed to its intended conclusion, will involve money leaving my bank account for someone else’s.

The org that triggered this one was either Washington Times or Patriots4Truth  (can’t be bothered to look up which, as I nuked both), which initially promised good things but soon degenerated into spam delivery services.  The WT  actually has sent me some interesting reports, but the spam : content ratio is hopelessly overcome by the former.  So:  tchuss.

And FFS:  if I do subscribe to your feed, and you send me a link to a serious article, could you at least do away with the need to log into your poxy site when I get there? You called me at my email address.  (Which is why I seldom read much at the otherwise-decent Epoch Times.)

And by the way, all those people who want to pay me money to publish articles on this website?  Fuck off.

In the first place, I don’t do guest posts, ever.  In the second, in only a very few instances are the organizations ones that I would even be remotely interested in supporting (by linking to their articles or websites).

A good example was one which said something like, “We LOVE your website, and especially [link to a post about travel] !  We’d love to publish an article which feeds off that post, as we suspect that your readers are pretty much the same as ours!  And we’ll pay you $50!”

Right:  considering that I equate going on a cruise liner to some Mexican port with being strapped into a dentist’s chair for ten days… I don’t think so, Scooter.  And the online casino sites…?  Give me strength.

Now, I don’t even bother opening their bullshit letters.  I see them in the Inbox, and delete them unread.  Then I’ll get a “follow-up” letter which is also ignored.  (If a third letter then comes in, I respond with vitriol, foul language and ALLCAPS.)

My email activity is nowhere close to what it used to be in Ye Olde Blogginge Days (around 400-500 emails from Readers daily back then), but it’s still pretty high (thankee for all the kind words, btw, and keep ’em coming because I love to hear from y’all).  But I have to delete around a hundred bullshit emails a day, which bugs me only because it takes time to answer the genuine correspondence — which is why it sometimes takes me ages to respond, and why sometimes a letter will fall through the cracks, so to speak, mistakenly deleted and collateral damage in my irritated frenzy of spam deletion.  So write away, guys.

All the rest can FOAD.