retail news in context, analysis with attitude

...with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary...

USA Today reports that "Soft drink giant PepsiCo says it is pulling a highly controversial commercial for Mountain Dew -- depicting five African-American men and a goat in a police line-up -- that has managed to offend African-Americans, women and bloggers coast-to-coast.

"African-American rapper Tyler, the Creator, developed the 60-second spot in which a battered white woman on crutches is urged by an officer to identify a suspect out of a lineup of black men. A talking goat named Felicia is included in the lineup. The goat makes threatening remarks to the woman, including, 'Keep ya mouth shut'."

The story notes that "dumb ads seem to be contagious ... The action comes days after Hyundai pulled an ad parodying suicide, and few weeks after McDonald's yanked a regional subway poster that parodied depressed women. It comes several weeks after Ford killed an ad in India that depicted sexy women tied up in the back of a Ford Figo."

There have been enough of these offensive ads out there, and enough companies saying that "they were never supposed to see the light of day and omigosh how did this happen," that pretty much every business leader ought to be asking the following question of his or her marketing department: "Do we have any ads in the pipeline that maybe we ought to be thinking twice about?"

But that said, I would hate to see real creativity be shut down because a few people crossed the line. After all the line keeps moving; who would've thought that Kmart would score a viral hit with its "shipped my pants" commercial?

KC's View: