Welcome to a new year of bad advertising
Tuesday February 12th 2013, 10:12 pm
Filed under: advertising,Reputation Managment,Wall Street Journal,women

I think it’s fitting that my first “bad advertising” post of 2013 has a lesson in it. A sort of, higher meaning.  A clarion call.  I mean, why not think big thoughts until September or so, when you could fit all my thoughts on the head of a pin?

Anyway… Here’s a full-page ad from the WSJ this week.   Marcus & Millichap.stephanie-fierman-mm

Now, I’d never heard of Marcus & Millichap, so I did my research.  It’s a REIT based in California. That’s the end of my research.

Note that the ad congratulating the company’s “top investment professionals of 2012″ contains 35 photographs: all white men.  35 out of 35.

That’d be – wait, wait, don’t help me – 100%.

A couple thoughts:

1. If you have a company and your top 35 producers are all men, I would advise you not to voluntarily ANNOUNCE IT TO THE WORLD in the Wall Street Journal, because it makes you look like huge jerks.  You may not BE jerks, but it doesn’t matter. You’ve also offended some good number of the female WSJ readers in the universe (online, that’s 42% of readers and, in print, 32% of the sub base).  Not to mention potential female employees, partners, etc.  That is, if you want those kind of people – meaning women.

2. If you have a company and your top 35 producers are all men, you may have a serious diversity problem.

And there you have it.  This is less bad advertising and more “Stupid Pet Tricks Advertising,” but I had to start somewhere.

‘Til the next time…

Making A Weird Situation Worse At McDonald’s
Monday September 20th 2010, 9:48 am
Filed under: customer service,Reputation Managment,retail,stephanie fierman,US economy

by Stephanie Fierman

I like McDonald’s.  I do.  Always have.

Recently, though, I’ve noticed something annoying on my receipts: either an “eat in” tax (if you eat at the restaurant) or an “eat out” tax (if you take your order to go).

Either way, there’s a “tax.” 

A tax??  McDonalds is taxing us, literally coming and going? 

This makes no sense.  Corporations can’t just invent their own taxes.  What is this?
Turns out it’s just plain old state tax.  In Connecticut, where I dined recently, the tax is 6%.  6% in, 6% out, 6% if you take your fries and you shake ‘em all about…

The 8.5% “eat in” (aka state) tax in San Fran at the time of this purchase

6%. Period.  [Note: State sales tax laws on prepared food are notoriously kooky, but whatever they are in the state in which you’re ordering is what you’ll end up paying]

So why would a marketing icon like McDonald’s turn a charge that it is forced to apply into a fee that looks like an assessment from the company? I am flummoxed by this.

A Google search of “McDonald’s eat in tax” and “McDonald’s “eat out tax” yields lots of other folks with their “britches in a bunch” over this (like HERE and HERE and HERE).  A couple of them actually posted the “tax” to sites like ripoffreport.com.

Now, this fellow claims that it’s because some states (e.g. California) actually have a take-out tax, so an establishment doing business in that state must be able to discriminate a meal served at the restaurant vs. one taken elsewhere.  His supposition is that it would be cost prohibitive for a company to use software that could apply the tax rules state by state, and that it would be hard to administer.  

I would be surprised if it’s a matter of cost.  McDonald’s had $6.8 billion in U.S. operating income in 2009: how much could such a system cost?  And how does that cost shape up against the reputation cost of such bad publicity?

Is there something else going on here?  Anyone?