One of the best perks about writing for (or with) the advertising industry is that there is always enough news to regurgitate without beating a story into the pavement. Especially during these economic times when many companies find themselves struggling to stay in the black. There are new campaigns launched every week, agency shake-ups, ethical questions to answer-it's like having a gold mine of RSS data-feeds loaded in the Google Reader. This morning, over 2000 stories had come in over RSS since yesterday.
The other fantastic reason to work in this business is the community that surrounds: creative, strategic, deep-thinking people that fuel the business with inane, often stupidly funny ideas. Immersed in client strategy and brand building, these ideas that seemed so idiotic during the creative kick-off meeting actually transform in to fantastic campaigns. The latest campaign that comes to mind is the Kentucky Fried Chicken grilled chicken spots, replete with a new website, a social media following on Facebook (and the obligatory anti-group "Keep KFC Fried"), integrated games, and three new TV spots that engage consumers rather than talking at them.
But, there are also "best and brightest" ideas that start poorly and end with company damage and public relations stepping in to help stop the blood flow. The ideas were innovative and innocuous when they started, but resulted in offending consumers so quickly that public outcry was immediately heard. This week the award goes to Apple's iPhone App, Baby Shaker. The premise of this "game" was that the iPhone "baby" cried and fussed loudly, not stopping until the iPhone user shook the phone vigorously.
Although not created by Apple, (the application was the brain-child of Sikalosoft) they are taking the heat for it due to the rigorous vetting process applications receive before approval. Parents aren't the only offended parties; reviewers, other developers, and many consumers expressed their disgust on the web. The public has suggested that the employees who approved the application lose their jobs.
Application-review site Krapps wrote in a review before the app was pulled: "Maybe it's just us, but we would never even joke about child abuse and use it as a form of entertainment. Maybe we're just square pegs and out of the norm because apparently Apple and the folks at Sikalosoft think shaking a baby is funny."
Neither Sikalosoft nor Apple responded to requests for comment.