Category Archives: Business

Racist Ad From VW: HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Another company has done something to offend a lot of people and, again, I don’t know how this keeps happening.

This time it’s VW.

The car giant Volkswagen has apologised for a ‘tasteless’ advert that appeared on social media following an online backlash that slammed its ‘racist’ undertones.

The ten-second advert posted on Instagram and Twitter shows a giant white hand pushing a black man away from a new, yellow Volkswagen Golf parked on the street.

The hand then flicks him to an open doorway and pushes him inside a French cafe.

A giant white hand appears on the right hand side of the screen and appears to push a black man out of the way of the car. The hand then picks the man up and moves him in front of a shop

Social media users noted that as slogan ‘Der Neue Golf’ – ‘The New Golf’ – fades into view, the jumbled letters appear to spell out the N-word in German.

Other eagle-eyed users spotted that the cafe’s name is Petit Colon, which in French literally translates as the ‘Little Colonist.’

VW-racist-ad

I can see how some enterprising bigot would conceive of this and maybe even how it gets produced, assuming the creative team is small and tight.

But how does it get approved? Do you have any idea how many people have to sign off on something like this before it’s live? The copy gets written and revised a million times. Storyboards are produced. Video and development crews execute it. Execs have to say yes at every level. And if something objectionable is happening, any person who touches the project in any way can pull the chain to halt the assembly line.

In my experience, I can’t imagine pulling something like this off even if you had an active conspiracy involving every C-level in the company. Somebody somewhere would blow the whistle.

If you want to argue that it isn’t offensive, that people are overreacting, that everybody’s a bunch of delicate librul snowflakes, go for it. Even if that were true the perception of the ad by the public is not only very real, it’s terrible for the brand. This causes people to buy cars from other companies.

I know there are racist assholes in the world. Plenty of them. I just can’t fathom how fucking nobody notices. I’d be grateful if you can ‘splain it to me.

HB2 cost NC a lot more than $3.76B

The AP says the “bathroom bill” cost North Carolina $3.76 billion. The real damage is likely much, much higher.

The AP yesterday released an analysis indicating that reaction to North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2 – the “bathroom bill” – cost the state a staggering $3.76 billion in lost business, projected over 12 years. That’s a remarkable hit to economy, but as I read the full details of how the AP arrived at that number, I can’t help wondering just how badly they underestimated the true damage that former governor “One Term” Pat McCrory and the rest of the jackals in the state GOP caused NC.

Have a look at the WaPo article linked above, then consider: Read more

The Ploughman: a modern business fable

No one likes to be thought a fool.

Farmer Moran needed a new workhorse, so he went to the local auction. There he spotted a strong, lean stallion he thought would be fine. He asked the owner about the horse, but the owner advised him against it. “This is Lightning,” he said. “Lightning is a thoroughbred. What you want is a draught horse.”

Moran, though, was confident in his own judgment. Undeterred, he outbid everyone for Lightning.

He got the horse home and harnessed him up, but Lightning proved no end of trouble. Read more

Uber “Greyball” scandal: it’s time to consider the death penalty for corporations

delete-uberUber says they’ll stop using Greyball. But this is only the latest outrage from America’s most incorrigibly corrupt business. Time to#DeleteUBER. As in, delete the company. Permanently.

You may say I’m a dreamer / But I’m not the only one

The American corporation exists for one purpose: to “maximize shareholder value.” Thanks to a variety of factors, including a Supreme Court decision that codified this particularly sociopathic view, employees don’t matter, communities don’t matter, the environment doesn’t matter, and really the only commandment when it comes to bending the rules is “thou shalt not get caught.” Read more

Four charts that prove Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank has no idea what he's talking about

Kevin Plank is a successful businessman with strong opinions. The data, though, suggests he places ideology above facts.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank

If you’re a huge sports merchandise brand, you never want your marquee superstar endorser going after you in the press. But that’s what happened this week when Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank told CNBC that “[t]o have such a pro-business president is something that is a real asset for the country.”

The aforementioned marquee superstar, 2014-15 NBA champion and reigning MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, took a shot:

“I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et.'”

The two have now apparently gotten on the same page after some top-speed backpedaling by Plank, who has taken great pains to clarify that he only meant his praise in a strictly business sense. It’s fun when CEOs get hauled out to the woodshed.

The problem is that even the business-specific comment illustrates what a fact-resistant barking fucktrumpet Plank is. Read more

Lyft's anti-Trump letter and ACLU support illustrate how American companies ought to behave

delete-uber#deleteUBER: When we use them we directly support anti-competitive and unconstitutional behavior.

Uber is a douchebag company run by douchebags. I first realized this when I learned of their willingness to play really, really dirty with competitors.

Uber employees allegedly posed as customers ordered and then canceled rides from Lyft, decreasing Lyft drivers’ availability, wasting time and gas, and possibly sending real customers to Uber instead. Lyft told CNNMoney in August that 177 Uber employees—contractors armed with a burner phone and a credit card—ordered and canceled more than 5,000 rides.
Read more

The LL Bean/Trump row: time for (another) free speech lesson

You have the right to speak. You have no right not to be disagreed with.

Let’s start with a brief quiz.

Bob says X. Fred says no, X is wrong. Has Fred:

a) infringed Bob’s free speech rights, or
b) engaged in free speech the way the Framers intended?

Answer below, in case you don’t understand how freedom works.

This isn’t a big deal, really, but I saw something this morning that reminded me just how little Americans understand liberty. So I thought I’d offer a brief refresher for those who slept through Civics class.  Read more

Hey Brian Windhorst: The NC legislature held a special session to PASS #HB2. Why can't they do the same to repeal it?

I love Brian Windhorst, but he needs to get his act together on this one.

The NBA is mulling pulling the All-Star Game from Charlotte over the state’s reprehensible HB2 “bathroom law.” Good – this is as it should be.

But the ESPN story cited here, penned by NBA reporter Brian Windhorst (whom I really really like), has a little problem. Not massive, but important. Here’s the quote: Read more

What does Brexit mean for the Premier League?

By threatening club finances and limiting player movement, Brexit may inflict serious damage on the world’s best league…

brexit-premier-leagueOn the sports side of things, we have this headline this morning:

Premier League refuses to speculate on effects of UK’s ‘Brexit’ from EU

The world’s most prestigious football league might be unwilling to speculate, but I’m not. England’s vote to leave the European Union has many uncertain about what it means for the Prem, but nobody sees it as a good thing. Lots of uncertainty. Lots of breath-holding. And for some, probably a good bit of prayer.

From where I sit, Brexit looks to be an unmitigated disaster for the Premier League. Read more

RIP David Bowie, marketing genius

David Bowie Space OddityOne of popular music’s greatest artists was also an icon of content marketing

This may be the most unexpected tribute you read to Rock megastar David Bowie, who has died at age 69 a mere two days after the release of his acclaimed new CD, Blackstar.

Before I start, let me acknowledge that some readers may feel like I’m sullying the legacy of one of our greatest artists by associating him with marketing. There are two answers to that charge. First off, art and marketing aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. You can do both. Second, if you can examine Bowie’s career, paying attention to all the times he reinvented his image and to the impact he exerted on fashion, without accepting that he was a branding genius, then you don’t know much about marketing. Read more

Premier League TV deals, the Super League and the death of European domestic football leagues

Can Europe’s domestic football leagues survive the new Premier League TV deals? Not a chance.

Barclays-Premier-LeagueA good bit has been written about new TV deals for England’s Premier League – Sky domestically and NBC in the US – and the numbers are frankly mind-boggling: Sky is ponying up more than £5.1B (~$7.75B) and NBC is paying around $1B for rights through 2021-22. When rights for all international deals are factored in, the Prem will haul in around $4.3B a year. (Massively detailed analysis here.)

This is great news for the league’s clubs, obviously, as the payout for even the worst teams will assure that they’re wealthier than all but the biggest clubs in the rest of the world. The top 14 English sides are already among the world’s 30 richest before the new deal even takes effect. Read more

America appreciates teachers, but we don't value them

CATEGORY: EducationI’ve been wrestling a bit with my career situation lately. Like a lot of folks, I feel like I’m not being compensated very well, and that suspicion is validated by some basic salary research – and also by the CEO, who admits that the company needs to normalize a lot of salaries with the broader market.

Of course, the people I work with love me and get the importance of what I do. But they aren’t making the call on salary. Not long ago, in prepping for a conversation on the subject with the person I report to, and trying to decide how best to represent my position, and trying to anticipate what he might say, it hit me.

The company appreciates me, but it doesn’t value me. Read more

SuperShuttle satisfaction survey: you people need to get your act together

SuperShuttle is a smoldering dumpster fire.

I returned home from vacation this morning. I had reserved a lift with SuperShuttle to save a few bucks on airport parking. Never again.

As we landed I flipped on my phone. I had an e-mail from SuperShuttle explaining how to check in on the mobile. Sweet. I followed the instructions and proceeded to the baggage claim. I was to select “Downtown” or “Not Downtown” and submit once I had my bag. Here’s where it went sideways.

  • I was instructed to go out door 505 on the east side and head over to the shuttles on island 5. I did. Found SS there, gave the guy my reservation number, he says cool, and I hop in.
  • Once in we got into the “where are you going?” process. Turns out I was in the wrong van. Read more
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