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Offensive in concept, inept in execution

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Ho, ho, ho, muthafu-

Submitted avec comment:

“In reflection of recent feedback, the copy we used in our recent catalog was inappropriate and in poor taste. Bloomingdales’ sincerely apologizes for this error in judgment.”

‘Tis a pity there is no process by which people can look at the advertising for their company before it is released and decide, for example, that an ad makes it look like the company condones sexual assault, and – this is the important bit – not run the stinkin’ ad.

And perhaps the company, after everyone finishes saying “What the hell was THAT all about?” could send a sharply worded note to the advertising company that was going to charge who knows what kind of money to make it appear that the company thinks sexual assault is a kind of funny, wink-wink, nudge-nudge thing, instead of a violent crime that can never, ever be funny, even when it is in expensive holiday catalogs between pictures of attractive people.

But apparently, there is no such process. That’s why earlier this year Anheuser-Busch was forced to watch helplessly as it issued “beer” with labels bearing the slogan “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”

These things just happen.

Really, its as random as lightning strikes. The problem certainly isn’t that we still live in a culture where violence against women is so acceptable, so normal, that a roomful of people can look at these ads and say “Looks good to me!”

Now please shut up about the war against women.

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  • Oh for fuck’s sake! Copywriters haven’t figured out that roofie allusions of this sort are bad?

    (From the title, I thought it was going to be about Paul’s last post :) I loved the “avec comment” line.)

    • Copywriters haven’t figured out that roofie allusions of this sort are bad?

      I’d like to believe that copywriters have figured out that roofie realty is bad, but I don’t.

      • Good point!

      • Jay B

        #notallcopywriters

      • Lee Rudolph

        roofie realty

        Location, location, location? Always be closing?

        Help me here.

    • rea

      From the title, I thought it was going to be about Paul’s last post

      I’m not completely sure that it wasn’t.

      • yet_another_lawyer

        +1

    • elm

      Given the context, ‘Submitted avec comment’ may be the funniest, smartest thing ever posted on this blog.

      • I certainly laughed.

        • Barry Freed

          It’s like Krugman on Brooks.

      • Malaclypse

        If we still had rotating quotes, they should all of them be abandoned in place of ‘Submitted avec comment.’

      • Jordan

        Now I feel dumb :(

        • elm

          Just because you’re not as smart as Shakezula doesn’t mean you’re dumb.

          • Jordan

            No, I mean I don’t get it. Thats why I’m dumb. :(x2

            (But I agree otherwise!)

            • elm

              Look one post below this one. Read the first line. Then read the 400+ comments.

    • tsam

      LOL PANTY DROPPER, AMIRITE? UP HIGH, BRO!

      Jesus. Are we backsliding as a society or am I just particularly angry and cynical today?

      • Malaclypse

        Are we backsliding as a society or am I just particularly angry and cynical today?

        Yes.

        • tsam

          Shit. I KNEW it.

        • DrDick

          And we have been for some time now. On many different fronts.

          • rea

            We are definitely backsliding on many fronts . . .

          • I have trouble believing this. I’ve read Susan Faludi’s Backlash; I know how bad things were in the Eighties. This kind of thing wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow back then, much less resulted in an abject apology and immediate retraction.

            • NonyNony

              Yeah – when I first saw the ad I thought it was a historical ad dug up from the 70s or the 80s. An ad like this literally would have been “avec comment” a few decades ago. So I have a problem with the idea that we’re backsliding. People are still horrible, but at least they get called out on it now.

  • Manju

    But how much money does the best friend’s father make?

  • In reflection of recent feedback, the copy we used in our recent catalog was inappropriate and in poor taste.

    In the absence of that feedback, the copy would have remained appropriate and in good taste. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Thirtyish

    You know, with “best friends” like that…

    • Linnaeus

      But, you see, he’s a Nice Guy, and the woman is probably smiling at some asshole who’ll treat her badly and then she’ll come to her Nice Guy friend and expect support and not sleep with him and…well, you get the picture.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Anyway, for all you know she is supposed to spike his drink.

        • lsimmonds

          So maybe, in that case, we reduce the chance of sexual assault, but we are still slipping drugs to someone without their knowledge. I’m no lawyer but IMO that’s just good old fashioned assault.

      • LeeEsq

        Looks more like a corporate or legal frat boy jock to me.

        • Linnaeus

          The guy who we can see. But (maybe) the guy who’s out of the frame? Who knows?

      • ColBatGuano

        So, it’s about ethics in gaming journalism?

  • Nate W.

    It doesn’t help that the male model sort of resembles Robin “blurred lines” Thicke…

    • Manju

      i thought the same thing. maybe its not a coincidence…and somebody in adversing once said to me, in regards to alleged racist ads (against Obama) that nothing is coincidental in advertising. The person was apolitical.

    • tsam

      The filter, the whole concept appears to be mimicking that rapey POS of a video.

    • He looks so much like Robin Thicke, it’s kind of uncanny.

      • matt w

        Maybe it is Robin Thicke. Doesn’t he need work?

        • No, someone posted a side-by-side picture with Thicke having the same haircut and expression and this guy has much better bone structure.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    jesus, with that picture they may as well have just used “release your inner predator”

    • Downpuppy

      Thigh gap is the new Hellmouth

  • yet_another_lawyer

    Just reading the title, I thought this was a follow-up to Paul’s post below. Accordingly, I have penalized myself five meta-points.

    • DiTurno

      The ironic thing is that photo would have worked without a comment. Campos’ post really, really didn’t.

      • yet_another_lawyer

        And I see now that the first comment made the same point and I missed it. Down another ten meta points!

        • Lee Rudolph

          Meanwhile I have am so far into meta-point negativity that I have become TOO BIG TO FAIL. Respect my leverage!!!

  • wjts

    “When they’re not looking”. The gender-neutrality of the pronoun clearly makes the ad perfectly unobjectionable.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    • Origami Isopod

      Some people on Twitter (progressives who seemed to be commenting in good faith, FWIW) thought at first that it was the woman who was planning to roofie the man if she hadn’t already.

      • yet_another_lawyer

        I can kind of see it– she could be dropping in the spike outside the frame and he’s just looked back and noticed. I think if it wasn’t for the reality/trope that it’s mostly men who roofie mostly women, it would be a lot more ambiguous. Or, put another way, if you switched the gender of the models I think most people would still come away with the impression that the man is going to roofie her.

        • Vance Maverick

          He’s looking at her, which is easier to read as plotting.

          • yet_another_lawyer

            Yeah– I think the better interpretation is that he’s the spiker even if we disregard gender. However, I see how somebody could read it the other way.

            • lsimmonds

              But even then its *still* really crappy…

              • Origami Isopod

                I don’t see anyone arguing otherwise.

                • lsimmonds

                  Yeah, I guess I’m just flabbergasted by the whole thing. Please take that comment as a “did you see that too?” search for confirmation that I’m really seeing what I’m seeing in that ad. That even if there’s room for interpretation, every angle still leads to something horrible.

            • Colleen

              I don’t think so- she is obviously the one “Not Looking”. If they both were looking off screen that might be a reasonable counter argument.
              I just feel bad for the models. “Hey Mom! I just booked a major advertising campaign!” “This will really launch my career!” Now they will never be used by Macys again and thanks to the doofus copy writer he has a bit of a rapey vibe around his image. Yet Another Lawyer- do you think that male model can sue?

      • wjts

        Yes, that sounds plausible. Have I told you guys about my theory that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was actually about a poor family of innocent cannibals being harassed by ne’er-do-well teenagers?

      • tsam

        I think the pervy stare, standing out of her line of sight implicate the DOOD

        • Vance Maverick

          Put it this way: he can see that she can’t see him.

      • She is laughing suspiciously. Of course, all women’s laughter is suspicious.

    • rea

      Oh brave new world! Now we use gender neutral pronouns to make it clear that gay men can roofie people too!

    • lsimmonds

      I know you’re kidding but, even if we remove any sexual overtones, this is *still* horrible. “Slip your friend some drugs when they are not looking?” I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy. Let’s hope the friend isn’t in recovery.

      And to think that is the best case interpretation one can wring out of this…

      • “Slip your friend some drugs when they are not looking?” I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy.

        Share the good stuff? I THINK NOT.

  • AMK

    And everybody knows that Bloomingdale’s Magazine is a fashion man-cave, so it’s not like any whiny women will ever run across the ad!

  • elm

    I’m sure there are plenty of people on Madison Avenue and on corporate executive suites who don’t realize that drugging a women’s drink is often the prelude to rape and I’m sure there are plenty of others who didn’t realize how the ad can clearly be interpreted to say that.

    I have trouble believing, though, that no one understood that, so I’m left to wonder what sort of environment exists such that those who did notice didn’t feel comfortable saying so or were ignored when they did.

    • wjts

      I’m sure there are plenty of people on Madison Avenue and on corporate executive suites who don’t realize that drugging a women’s drink is often the prelude to rape…

      I’m pretty sure the only “people” on Madison Avenue for whom that’s true are, quite literally, Muppets.

    • ColBatGuano

      corporate executive suites who don’t realize that drugging a women’s drink is often the prelude to rape

      It would dispute this. Why else would someone drug a woman’s drink?

  • I’m sure there are plenty of people on Madison Avenue and on corporate executive suites who don’t realize that drugging a women’s drink is often the prelude to rape

    Ok, but…what do they think drugging a person’s drink does? What’s the “good” scenario?

    Oh, it’s just they don’t conceptualise sex with a women they secreted drugged as rape?!

    • Vance Maverick

      Came here to say the same. Perhaps they think it “loosens her inhibitions” or some similar phrasing that doesn’t quite sound like overriding them.

    • …what do they think drugging a person’s drink does? What’s the “good” scenario?

      Teams of men scouring bars, dropping flu vaccine in the drinks of unsuspecting women.

      I mean, it’s obvious.

      • Warren Terra

        I don’t think there is an oral flu vaccine. Now, if you said some humanitarians were spiking the cocaine of unsuspecting partakers with the nasally inhaled vaccine … then I’d believe you.

        • I’ll try to be more realistic next time.

        • tsam

          Now, if you said some humanitarians were spiking the cocaine of unsuspecting partakers with the nasally inhaled vaccine

          IS THIS A THING? IF SO, WHERE?

          • Jordan

            Unfortunately, its a spray.

            • Warren Terra

              Yeah, that’s why the scenario is unrealistic.

              • Jordan

                What I’m saying is, there is an unfortunate deficiency of nasally sprayed recreational drugs out there that don’t involve heavy solvents, strong glue, or colorful markers.

                • Warren Terra

                  The Wikipedia article for Cocaine helpfully explains that the most commonly encountered form is quite insoluble in water, but you can make a hydrochloride salt that’s incredibly highly soluble (2 g/ml). So really this is just a failure of marketing.

                • tsam

                  The Wikipedia article for Cocaine helpfully explains that the most commonly encountered form is quite insoluble in water, but you can make a hydrochloride salt that’s incredibly highly soluble (2 g/ml). So really this is just a failure of marketing.

                  You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. Thank you.

            • tsam

              Cocaine spray? I LIKE IT.

              I get some NOW

        • Colleen

          Their is a nasal vaccine- slip it into their cocaine?

    • elm

      Yes, the second line. I’m sure plenty of execs and admen don’t see it as rape. This is not a defense of them, but an explanation for why they wouldn’t see the problem with the ad.

    • farin

      “Spike” commonly means “add alcohol to,” so the good scenario is that your friend now has some bourbon in their heretofore sickly sweet eggnog and is pleasantly surprised (the reason for doing it when they’re not looking).

      So I can imagine a secret-spiking scenario that’s completely sweet and harmless; it’s just completely outnumbered by the gross ones.

      • You know, I’ve heard this before, and I believe it after doing some research. “Spiking a drink” is a prank; I wasn’t able to find many examples of someone using it to mean the equivalent of the malicious “slipping a mickey”. “Spiking the punch” is the obvious example.

        Copy and layout are generally done separately in the advertising world, so it’s entirely possible that the copywriter here was thinking “prank your buddy” and the rape vibes come from the picture it was paired with.

        That said, I don’t think spiking someone’s drink can be considered “sweet and harmless” under our current norms of consent. Alcohol consumption is dangerous (I write this with a bourbon in my hand). We expect people to drink responsibly, and part of that is keeping track of how much you’re drinking. Someone who drinks regularly might have good reasons for drinking weak or nonalcoholic drinks on a given night; adding alcohol to their drinks without their knowledge deprives them of their right to bodily sovereignty.

        • matt w

          …and giving someone just plain alcohol can be a prelude to sexual assault, too, especially without their knowledge.

          (Anyway, though I agree that “spiked eggnog” usually means “eggnog with booze,” I don’t have any trouble finding “spiking a drink” used to refer to putting incapacitating drugs other than alcohol in it–I searched “spike a drink” on Google and the featured result is the UK NHS talking about date rape drugs.)

        • farin

          Yeah, in real life doing anything to someone’s food or drink without their invitation is basically always a bad idea, even if you know them very well. People are people and whatever you do is highly likely to go wrong.
          But in Bloomingdale’s-ad fantasy land, things always go right. You know your best friend (not just any friend, mind) well enough to know, infallibly, when they would like some booze in their eggnog (which is inexplicably nonalcoholic here), so you secretly add some. They taste it, are pleasantly surprised, and you say, “Merry Christmas!” It’s kinda heartwarming.
          The creepy dude picture and our awareness that alcohol is regularly weaponized against women fatally undermine that story, but I can see the concept of the ad actually being inoffensive.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        If someone added alcohol to *my* drink, I would end up very sick or dead. (Due to interactions with the drugs I take for my Crohn’s.)

        So, no, absolutely not all right.

  • kayden

    Unbeknownst to us, Bill Cosby is an ad executive. That’s the only way to explain how blatantly sexist ads like the one featured could get the thumbs up.

    • tsam

      FTW

      I shouldn’t laugh at that, but Ima go ahead and do it.

    • so-in-so

      No, but it helps to explain how he got away with it for so long.

  • Snuff curry

    Okay, but how much income does the “best friend” cum print model on the left’s parents rake in each year? Also, I would like to remind you of hypergamy. For my final trick: mean, upper-crusty feminist mommies and their spoiled white babies. Down with identity politics. Feel the bern, etc.

    • runsinbackground

      Is Sanders supposed to be the candidate who best represents misogynist liberals or something? Did I miss a memo?

      • Origami Isopod

        You’ve missed the fact that the brocialists are voting for Sanders? I mean, so am I (in the primary anyway), but yes, a fair number of his male supporters are sexist assclowns.

  • Warren Terra

    After he spiked his best friend’s drink when she wasn’t looking, the professor re-entered the room, revealed she’d been watching the whole thing, declared him to be the best best friend, and gave him $10.

    • JustRuss

      I find this comment gratuitously childish and snarky, and it made me lol.

  • Joshua

    The word “spike”, to me, implies something like the stereotypical gag of pouring some vodka or whatever in the punch at a school dance. I don’t think I’ve ever heard spike used to denote roofies or other drugs (roofies is a verb by now). I guess that’s where the copywriters were too.

    • Do you (non-roofiey) spike an individual person’s drink?

      And…the image doesn’t suggest that. If they were standing around a punch bowl or one person was standing around a punch bowl…maybe.

      That reading sounds like a lame defence…”I didn’t roofie her! I just spiked her drink! AND THEN SHE CAME ON TO ME BY BEING ALL PASSED OUT AND ALLURING AND STUFF!!!”

      Barf.

    • Warren Terra

      Getting your attractive female companion further along the sober-tipsy-drunk-catatonic spectrum than they anticipated or can recognize, because they’re taking in more alcohol than they realize, is not fundamentally different from roofie-ing them. Maybe it’s less effective, but it’s the same idea – you are interfering with their ability to exercise judgment, without their knowledge.

      • JL

        This, and in fact, it’s far more common than “roofies” or any other rape drug that is commonly labeled as such.

      • Lee Rudolph

        attractive female companion

        I think you misspelled something there. Possibly “target”?

        • Hogan

          Best friend, target–it’s a complicated world out there for a bro.

    • CD

      A distinction w/o difference. People have been using surreptitious alcohol for the same purpose for a long time.

    • Egg-nog is basically an alcohol-delivery vehicle already, no?
      What fiend put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?

      • catclub

        Who drinks egg nog sans alcohol? ick.

        So spiking implies to me extra drugs.

        • farin

          But if your best friend were somehow stuck with nonalcoholic eggnog, wouldn’t it be a friendly gesture to correct that? (Assuming all the things necessary to make that a safe and healthy act.)

        • LeeEsq

          Children?

        • nixnutz

          I don’t think I’ve ever tried it with alcohol, the idea of mixing booze and dairy has always seemed super gross to me. I loved eggnog as a kid but I graduated to glögg at Christmas when I was still a teenager.

          • postmodulator

            the idea of mixing booze and dairy has always seemed super gross to me.

            If you overindulge in that mixture, the hangover is like a brain tumor.

        • Origami Isopod

          I actually like the taste of eggnog on its own, but I can see why most people wouldn’t.

        • lizzie

          Me. I have a sweet tooth and do not like alcohol. To me it tastes terrible and makes me instantly dizzy and headachey (not talking about a hangover).

          It’s different in cooked dishes, though.

      • tsam

        Why does the word fiend crack me up every time I read it?

        • Because you are a fiend fiend.

    • the stereotypical gag of pouring some vodka or whatever in the punch at a school dance. I don’t think I’ve ever heard spike used to denote roofies

      A quick web search leads to a long list of drug-specific references, though I should probably repeat the process with some other search engine, in case the Gazoogle has tailored the results to my search history.

    • Alcohol is the most common “date rape drug” by far. And yes, that does include adding booze to a target’s drink when they’re not looking.

    • nixnutz

      I agree that “spike” in this context (egg nog is a form of punch) doesn’t read rapey to me at first glance but that in no way invalidates any one else’s reading and I’m fairly surprised this would make it all the way to print.

    • so-in-so

      I’m old enough to think of alcohol first when I see “spike” too, but it doesn’t mean the analysis is much different.

      “Baby it’s Cold Outside” is kinda rapey too, when you listen to it. Fully expect to hear it among the Christmas music while shopping this year anyway.

  • *bangs head against wall*

    • I hope it was the copywriters’ heads (and those of the execs approving it).

      I hope they were on pikes when head banging commenced.

      • Linnaeus

        That’s it. I’m calling your local constabulary.

        • OT: is one of those police-equipped RVs an ambulatory constabulary?

  • Witt

    Elm: I’m left to wonder what sort of environment exists such that those who did notice didn’t feel comfortable saying so or were ignored when they did.

    Bingo. I don’t believe for a second that this ad got past umpteen pairs of eyes and nobody flagged it. I do quite easily believe that the people who noticed it were either scared to object (because they’ve gotten the message that they’d be punished) or just fearful of seeming like the Humorless ™ person.

    Which is also what makes it clear that this is set up to happen again: No admission in the “apology” that this is a PROCESS issue, rather than a one-off incident.

    • Lee Rudolph

      I don’t believe for a second that this ad got past umpteen pairs of eyes and nobody flagged it.

      To be fair, they may all have been subliminally seduced by the phallus in the lady’s visible hand.

      • In the world of kooks, that guy was a real original.

    • njorl

      Or, those who noticed thought, “If this goes to print, maybe that asshole will finally get fired.”

  • Lee Rudolph

    Jeeze. I go downstairs to eat, come back to a new thread listed among the Recent Posts (meaning the picture above is not on my screen), see the title, and assume it’s the long awaited mea culpa, tua maxima irrumata from Campos, and I get roofies?

    • “It’s my fault, you are a great mouth fucker?”

      • Lee Rudolph

        My intention was “mouth fuckee”, but I’m not a Latinist in any way, shape, or forum.

  • LeeEsq

    When people think they came up with something cute and clever, they don’t think of the possible ways it comes across badly. That’s why third person review from a neutral or even hostile source is important.

    • Lee Rudolph

      When people think they came up with something cute and clever, they don’t think of the possible ways it comes across badly.

      I may have made this short shameful confession before, but it’s a propos, so bear with me.

      On March 6, 1983 (I had to check Wikipedia), a woman was gang-raped on a pool table in New Bedford, MA; this made national news, and was of course very big news in New Bedford, and was still big news in May, when (my temporary job teaching at Brandeis having come to an end, with no other work as a mathematician lined up or in sight) I applied for and got a job as part-time copy editor at the New Bedford Standard-Times. Sometime during the summer my friends at the University of Geneva offered me a job for the coming academic year, so I left the S-T at the beginning of October. I got back from Geneva the following May, again with no work in sight, and went back to work at the paper.

      Sometime that summer—so, 15 months or so after the pool-table rape, when it was no longer particularly salient—we got a Sunday feature about a guy who was coming to town to give an exhibit of fancy pool shooting, “sharking” if you will (a phrase used in the feature). I was assigned to write a headline for the story. New Bedford is (of course) just across some water from Martha’s Vineyard, the site (under a pseudotoponym) of Jaws. I thought “Just when you thought it was safe to come back to the pool table” would be a cute, clever headline for a Sunday feature. I convinced the chief copy editor, it went on its way, and I got on with my next task.

      Until in a couple of hours the city editor exploded, called us both over to his desk, and came very close to firing both of us. For—honestly!—not having thought of the possible way my hed came across very badly.

      TL;DR: yeah, you are absolutely right. (But I don’t think that the ad in question is an example, frankly.)

    • Hogan

      In the words of John Scalzi, the failure mode of “clever” is “asshole.”

      • LeeEsq

        I’m more generous in my take. Most people don’t like to cause offense and feel bad when they inadvertently cause harm. It’s just that a lot of people also like being seen as clever and clearness requires quickness. This leads to some bad decisions sometimes.

  • AdamPShort

    My only quibble with this post is that the ad is actually only pro-sexual assault by implication; it’s EXPLICITLY pro-poisoning.

    Even if you aren’t planning to sexually assault someone, it’s not OK to poison them.

    • CD

      Yep. Even if it is just alcohol that “spike” means, that’s a moderately dangerous drug.

      • AdamPShort

        Indeed. I hate the words “dose” and “spike” because they sound kind of fun. I got dosed! Woo hoo!

        Putting something into someone’s drink without their knowledge with the intent of impairing them is poisoning. It’s not a fun prank; it’s a serious violent crime.

        • lsimmonds

          Is it? I am genuinely curious about that. If someone puts something otherwise legal in someone’s drink without their knowledge what’s the charge? Does one need to prove intent to impair?

          • AdamPShort

            “Battery by poisoning” is the charge. As to whether intent is necessary, it likely varies by state but in Virginia knowingly introducing a drug of any kind into a person’s drink without their knowledge, whether or not it would be legal for that person to ingest it intentionally, is a crime. If further harm was intended against the target, it can be aggravated battery.

            This would actually be a good place to point out that GHB/Rohypnol and other predator drugs are extremely rare. The most common drug of predation, overwhelmingly so, is alcohol.

    • lsimmonds

      Yes! What you said. The best case interpretation is that is “only” the girl planning on drugging the man without his knowledge. That’s the the happy path here… WTF?

      • Origami Isopod

        “The girl” and “the man,” huh?

        Also, how many times do you plan to tell us that it’d be JUST AS BAD if she did it to him? Noone has said it wouldn’t be, but there are far more men out there who drug and rape women than vice versa.

        • lsimmonds

          Sorry if I over commented on that, but I never said it was “just as bad”, and do not mean to imply that. It’s not.
          I think the idea that it was the female slipping something to male is tortured at best. It’s just astounding to me that even if one does back flips to paint it in a better light you still wind up with a crap sandwich.

        • AdamPShort

          girl/man is yucky, but the rest is the opposite of what lsimmonds wrote.

    • Except if the copy had read “Slip a little poison into your friend’s eggnog while she’s they’re not looking,” or it had been interpreted as advocating poisoning, Bloomies would have fired its advertising company. This did not happen.

      Spike the drink, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, was A-OK though.

      • lsimmonds

        I guess that’s what gets me (and why I keep flogging this point – sorry, last one I swear). It not just that they overlooked the implication of sexual assault, its that the implication of sexual assault must have been an actual positive for them.

        As you say, this would have never got through if it was just about drugging your friends behind their backs.

      • AdamPShort

        Yeah, I agree with you, I just hate this idea, which is as old as time, that “pranks” that involve taking risks with other people’s bodies are just some harmless fun. We don’t consider intoxicating someone against their will poisoning, but legally and morally it is indeed poisoning. You shouldn’t poison people! Even if you’re just trying to be funny!

  • Peterr

    Reminds me of a time a couple of years ago when I walked into a big box store for a bottle of wine, and hanging off the shelves in the liquor department were boxes of condoms. The juxtaposition of the two just screamed “Get her drunk and go for it!”

    When I came to the checkout line, the clerk mechanically asked “Anything else we can help you with today?” I paused, then told her “Yes — you can have someone take down the condoms from the shelves in the liquor department.” She started to laugh, then saw my face and stopped. “You’re serious? There are condoms on the shelves with the wine?” I nodded, “Absolutely. Aisle 17.” She reached for the house phone next to the scanner. “I need the store manager at my register.”

    The manager came over, and said to the clerk, “What do you need?” She pointed to me, and I told him “I’ve obviously got no problem with you folks selling alcohol (pointing to my purchase), and I’ve got no problem with you selling condoms. But putting them on the same shelf certainly makes it look like you’re telling potential customers to get their dates drunk and have their way with them.” He looked at me, stunned, and I nodded. “Aisle 17.”

    Either the manager did not know what some shelf stocker had done, or he was a very good actor. Whatever the case, he went off very quickly, and the clerk finished ringing up my purchase. As I was heading out the door, I heard a voice shout “WHAT THE . . .” that sounded a lot like the manager.

    Did I mention I was wearing my clerical collar?

    • I assume they moved the condoms so that they were next to the bibles.

      • Hogan

        Or possibly the diapers and baby food.

    • Seems like it might have also been a prank someone played on the store.

  • shah8

    I err from the standpoint that yes, they do have copyeditors, and the copyeditor probably said this wasn’t proper. The boys in Armanis didn’t agree and kept it up just to affect a daring and transgressive tone to their advertising. The work was done before the ad was taken down and apologized for.

    There are some things that are routinely understood to be a bad idea, but always keep popping up. Like “chink in the armor” when referring to prominent East Asians.

    • keta

      I’d bet a Bloomingdale’s catalogue has never seen so much coverage.

      “Accidentally” making a mess of it can be a science.

  • j_kay

    Wow, Bloomingdales’ even screwed up their catalog like that? Because customers are bad,

  • Rob in CT

    Very well played, Shakezula.

  • wca

    That’s why earlier this year Anheuser-Busch was forced to watch helplessly as it issued “beer” with labels bearing the slogan “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.”

    I think the original slogan was better: “The perfect beer for adding ‘Hey y’all, watch this!’ to your vocabulary for the night.”

    • Lee Rudolph

      I think the original slogan was better: “The perfect beer for adding ‘Hey y’all, watch this!’ to your vocabulary for the

      rest of your life.”

      • Hogan

        Which will be short but full of incident.

  • mojrim

    Of course there is no such process. Have you already forgotten Cock-Ring Ken?

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