Sunday, January 29, 2006


Loyal Readers:

Now that I've lured you in with this picture of an adorable baby, let us get down to brass tacks. I heareby invite you all to nominate you're own:


Here's your chance to pretent you're one of the SELECT FEW who get to contribute to this HIGHLY SELECTIVE news service. One such entry will be SELECTED and be deemed a winner of the TONE DEAF COMPANY ("TDC") Reader Contribution Award. You're prize will be a free lifetime subscription to this web service. This entitlement will become increasingly valuable (as the subscription costs for TDC are projected to rise exponentially over the next few years). This prize could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, assuming certain variables align in the proper manner and etc. etc.

Thank you.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Sports figures can be very effective spokespeople in ads. They're well known and lots of people like them just because of the laundry they wear a few times a week. And of course when you sign an athlete up to be in your ads, you, as a company, have to recognize that the audience's reaction to said ads will vary depending on the ups and downs of any given athlete's season.

But for the love of God...can someone stay awake at the switch and use their common sense when booking broadcasting time for such ads? If something traumatic has happened to a team's fanbase, using a spokesman from said team can just lead to resentment and hatred. How do you think Philadelphia Eagles fans felt when they spent the last eight weeks of the season watching Campbell's Chunky Soup ads with Donovon McNabb over and over and over again during every football telecast, knowing that he was chilling somewhere recuperating from season ending surgery. I bet that people from Philly never found the "It's from New England? Well I like it anyway" line to be that funny; after their season went down the tubes, it was about 30 million times less funny. Do you think they're running right out to get some Vegetarian Vegetable to go with their hoagies tonight? Probably not.

Similar instances:

-The day after the Patriots crash out of the playoffs against the Broncos, there were repeated airings of the incredibly lame and moronic Diet Pepsi Machine ads (featuring random members of the Patriots) and the actually-pretty-humorous-but-still-ill-timed Tom Brady Visa ad. We'd be much more receptive to your pitch about the different levels of Visa protection if you hadn't spent the night before skipping passes and lobbing INTs.

-The painful, daily drilling of the locally produced Kevin Millar KFC ads during the stretch of the 2004 Red Sox season when he couldn't buy a hit if he was a millionaire at a Cheech 'n Chong film fest. I'd watch Millar ground out weakly to the shortstop and then be subjected to him in a dingy KFC wearing a shirt that made him look like a date rapist talking about how his fast food fried chicken needed red socks. If there weren't already a thousand reasons to hate KFC, I would have grown to hate it just by having to deal with the agony of these ads every single game.

-After Peyton Manning choked huge time Saturday, Colts fans were treated with this little gem from MasterCard: Not Perfect. Yeah, that's a good way of shoring up the customer loyalty of the Manning fanbase...openly mock a dude for falling apart in the playoffs yet again.

(Unless...unless this was meant to shore up the anti-Manning audience, which might be bigger than the pro-Manning one. The jury is still out, but this may be my first example of a Perfect Pitch Company.)

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Screwed-You-Again Edition

If you're like me, you tend to conduct your holiday shopping by buying things for other people that you yourself would like. Some call this selfish and/or self-centered...I prefer to think of it as making informed purchases. If you are further like me, you tend to lean heavily on DVDs as a staple, a solid foundation on which you can build your gift edifice. While doing so, you may have noticed a disturbing trend in DVDs. Note:

Tommy Boy - Holy Schnike Edition

Airplane - The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition

Office Space - Special Edition with Flair!

What the hell is this crap? Why does every DVD release have to have a stupid "edition" name that refers to one of the lines of the movie attached to it? Are we supposed to look at the box and say, "Oh, yeah, I remember when that guy said 'Don't call me Shirley'...sure, I'll buy this"? I can't wait for this trend to continue. The "Offer He Can't Refuse" Edition of The Godfather. The "Here's Johnny!" Edition of The Shining. Chinatown: The "She's My Sister AND My Daughter!" Edition. Raging Bull: Special 30th Anniversary "You Fuck My Wife?" Edition.

Or, wait, maybe they have to put stupid names on these to let you know that these are new releases of these movies, tacking on some unnecessary and likely hastily put together extras to make up for the fact that in the nascent days of the medium they rushed out crappy transfers of these movies. It's almost as if the studios are drawing attention to the fact that, just as record companies botched the initial pressings of CDs, they screwed over consumers with the first run of DVDs. They may as well call any of these The "Remember When You Paid $25 For A Shitty Version? Well Pony Up Again, Sucker" Edition.

Friday, January 06, 2006


I was amused by McDonald's new ads for their arch card. The ad goes something like this:

"Buy our overpriced Chicken Selects, and you get a McDonald's ARCH CARD! LOADED with A DOLLAR!" This card, apparently, is not only good for purchasing McDonlds, but it's also, somehow, important to having good times.

Well, anyway, I wasn't too impressed with the prospect of getting an arch card LOADED!, with A DOLLAR!, and I was a little put off by the whole ad campaign, so I went on Micky Dee's website. What I found there is funnier than any TV ad. This company, my friends, is the epitome of Tone Deaf.

They've established separate web pages for black people called "365 Black." There's also a web-site with the catchy name "i am asian." To round out the minority baiting, they've got "Lomxomo" to appeal to the hispanic crowd. Companies need to learn that people see right through this sort of targeted marketing. It's clearly comittee-driven, focus-grouped slop that doesn't resonate with anyone. Looking at these web pages, it's all I can do to imagine the boardroom meeting of portly, cynical white men that precipitated these sites.

Sunday, January 01, 2006 Realm of the insane

The CEO of, Patrick Byrne, recently held a conference call with investors in which he claimed to have made up stories about his own cocaine use, and homosexuality in order to unearth a secret cabal of shortsellers led by a "Sith Lord" who were conspiring to sabotage his company.

In addition, Overstock doesn't seem to be filling orders very well these days.

Read More.