September 15, 2007

Simply Controversial

Should non-political publications allow their advertisers to criticize political figures in their ads? Is there a limit of exhaustion to political sniping? And what the heck does George Bush have to do with video telephony?

Those questions sprang to Bob Mileti's mind when he saw this advertisement for the Bressler Group's Ojo phone in Appliance Magazine.
Putting the word "simple" in large type next to a presumably Photoshopped image of President Bush holding their product, the Bressler Group obviously intends to express the simplicity of its device by implying that even someone as "simple" as Bush could operate it.

Actually, I initially found the ad amusing, but wondered why a manufacturer would try to sell a product by annoying 37% of the market (according to the latest Fox poll). Also, why would Appliance Magazine -- which has little connection to politics -- want to leap into the high-tension world of political debate, especially with such a tired meme as claiming that a Yale graduate and Harvard MBA could be a simpleton? Piers Morgan tried that when Bush fell off a Segway four years ago, only to do the same thing on camera last month and break three ribs in a rather delicious bit of karma. After all, the most controversial topic in the latest issue appear to be the need for high-quality connectors.

Mileti didn't find it amusing, and fired off e-mails to the magazine and the manufacturer. (Mileti copied me and several other bloggers on the e-mail exchange.) The magazine responded quickly to acknowledge Mileti's outrage, but also to note that editorial control over advertising is limited (at almost all publications) to ensuring that no lewd imagery or illicit or illegal products or services get promoted on its pages. That's a fair standard to apply; the magazine sells its space, and the advertisers have responsibility for its content. That keeps the accountability where it belongs.

The Bressler Group didn't respond quite as well as Appliance Magazine. Their Director of Marketing offered a "sorry you were offended" apology that put the blame for his offense back on Mileti, but told Mileti they would not run the ad again, based on his response and the likelihood that they may have offended 37% of the people who might buy the product. Mileti shot an e-mail back to Bressler Group expressing his dissatisfaction with the quasi-apology and Bressler's reluctance to acknowledge their error. Bressler replied that they had agreed to stop running the ad, and wondered what more Mileti could want.

So who's to blame here? The reader who got offended, the magazine that carried the ad, or the manufacturer who injected political views into commercial speech? How many Captain's Quarters readers found the ad amusing, and how many found it offensive?

My view is that Bressler made two errors here. Given the highly partisan nature of today's politics, they should have avoided using Bush as their comic foil to make their point about simplicity. In earlier days, people would have had some respect for the office and not considered using a sitting President to advertise a product in any context, and certainly not an insulting one. Today that's less true, but it still seems pretty foolish to concoct an ad that will anger a significant chunk of people who might otherwise find the product attractive. The second error is using the "sorry you got offended" apology that puts the blame for the dispute on the other party. In my two decades in customer service, I learned very quickly that such "apologies" never resolve any dispute, but only make them worse, as Bressler and Mileti proved here.

On the other hand, it's really just a joke. I doubt that George Bush would find it offensive, or at this point in his term, out of the ordinary. I'm more interested in that big controversy over high-quality connectors.


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Comments (55)

Posted by Scraprion | September 15, 2007 10:30 AM

"A man with a degree from Yale, an MBA from Harvard and who can fly a F-102 jet fighter is called an idiot by millions of Americans. Imagine how educated and talented they must be."

Quote stolen from the net from a very smart person.

Actually the left wing 'core democrats' use the 'he's dumb' to cover up their own stupidity.

I expect to 'never buy one of the phones'. Simple.

Posted by Rose | September 15, 2007 10:42 AM

I seriously dislike the disrespecting of authority figures based on calumniating, slanderous, baseless insinuations and accusations - made purely for political advantage, and as Ellis Henekin calls it, is nothing but purely "Political Theater".

When they do it to merely try to "equalize the scales" because of the SOUND FOUNDATION of serious and valid charges against members of their own party, as a way of sloughing off those accusations without having to answer for them before a proper inquery, charges really ought to be brought against them.

I speak in this case of the more serious instances, such as the MoveOn.Org ads, and the appearances of Nancy Pelosi and Dennis Kucinich on Arab TV to undermine American interests - but that is what feeds such things as this lesser instance, and causes a general attitude among the general public to not only despise the authority of the man they target specifically, but works to undermine the natural healthy structures necessary and vital to any community, in the process.

As the daughter of a small business owner, I have frequently observed such activity in other small businesses. Thankfully, not in my dad's, because in heavy construction work, there just isn't the room for such silliness, and the business was too small for that sort of jockying for position.

But a local bank, and several other small businesses went through it, and I knew what I was seeing because of my dad's business. Before it was over when such a piece of work gets a good grip, no two employees were left speaking to eachother, and the boss fired the entire lot, and started over. Sadly, in such cases, several excellent employees always end up with bum raps and a bad mark on their resumes.
And the bad ones NEVER seem to get their just due! They seem to land on their feet with a great new job somewhere else!

Oh! DUH! Just like in POLITICS.

Anyway, I'll be watching this company. I won't let anyone in my family purchase anything that helps them! THEY are the Cavemen, in MY book!

Posted by Donna | September 15, 2007 10:53 AM

I'm always quite amazed that opponents of George Bush so like to brand him stupid. What, then, does that make them? More stupid? After all, he beat them in two elections.

Posted by viking01 | September 15, 2007 11:02 AM

This all started with Clinton's "If I'd invested in quality, professional dry-cleaning for my subordinate employees I wouldn't be an impeached pervert disbarred for perjury" advertisement.

After Slick's many con games and scandals that opened the flood gates for similar advertising. A burden all future presidents will likely bear whether they can keep it zipped or not.

Posted by Glenmore | September 15, 2007 11:03 AM

Gerald Ford, perhaps our most athletic president, was constantly the butt of jokes about his supposed clumsiness.

Posted by Jon Prichard | September 15, 2007 11:05 AM

Honestly I think we're all getting a little too touchy. There's nothing offensive about this ad and, although Bressler's marketing department didn't respond very well, I don't think the term 'Simple' has anything to do with the President.

In the first place, video-phone technology has until quite recently been the purview of the President or very wealthy people. Some of the latest video-phone offerings use the phrase 'the same technology used by the President' in their marketing literature.

Secondly, video-phone technology is inherently difficult to use. This particular offering is plug-n-play (allegedly) and so the term 'Simple' is the most important aspect of the product (I suppose 'Cheap' would be good too but not as a marketing term).

Getting a shot of the President of the US looking at your product and then coupling that with the product's best attribute is a marketing coup. I doubt the marketing department had any thoughts at all about this being offensive.

Not everybody thinks about politics 24/7 like those of us who blog or read blogs like CC. Most people (Republicans included) wouldn't be offended in the least by this ad or even correlate Bush with the term 'Simple' as a derogetory statement.

We've become like the Geico Cavemen, basically offended every time Bush's name is mentioned in a negative context, because there is so much Bush bashing going on that we naturally assume the worst motivations.

Posted by Eric | September 15, 2007 11:16 AM

Captain Ed says:
On the other hand, it's really just a joke. I doubt that George Bush would find it offensive, or at this point in his term, out of the ordinary. I'm more interested in that big controversy over high-quality connectors.

Eric says:
Yes, a joke that is not funny to me but might be funny to those that dislike Bush. Here are a few ads that we’ll never get to see, so please use your imagination.

I would like to now see an add for a carpet with a picture of Hillary and a tag line that reads, “Lies well,” or maybe a picture of Bill Clinton with the tag line, “Lays anywhere.”

Here’s another. A picture of Muhammad holding a can of Raid with the tag line, “Kills on contact.”

These lines are designed to illustrate why this type of marketing is so laughably poor. Really, the VP of Marketing for the Bressler Group should be fired, but I’m guessing his boss, the CEO, thought it was a hoot. They live in Philly and they are artist/ designers. Obviously, they wear their politics on their sleeve, so they have now become fair game in my book.

Now, I lack the resourcefulness to find out how much money this company has donated to the Hillary Campaign so far, but I know someone on this BLOG will be able to find out.

Here are photos of the company’s senior management. Don’t they just look fun?

Posted by Bennett | September 15, 2007 11:18 AM

I don't know if it's appropriate or not but I do think the President has a great cause of action (appropriation of name or likeness for commercial purposes). This may explain why they've decided to stop running the ad more than any concern over offending someone's sensibilities.

Not that the President would sue but most businesses don't like taking that chance anyway.

Posted by NahnCee | September 15, 2007 11:31 AM

Wow. Are you sure they live in Philly? Buncha white people doing silly things dressed in black -- I would have said SF/Berkeley.

Posted by Eric | September 15, 2007 11:34 AM


Bresslergroup has been a key part of industrial design Philadelphia for over 35 years. Over that period Bresslergroup product design and Philadelphia product design have gained prominence. We happen to be situated in the heart of the I95 corridor where ¼ of the US population lives and works. The region is home to Fortune 500 companies, major headquarters for international companies and countless mid size and small product oriented companies. Besides product design Philadelphia offers many cultural and historic attractions. And industrial design in Philadelphia is growing through university programs including University of the Arts, Philadelphia University, The Art Institute of Philadelphia and a new program at the University of Pennsylvania. So if you're planning a trip to Bresslergroup, consider taking some additional time to experience what product design in Philadelphia is all about.

Bresslergroup Inc.
2400 Market Street, Suite 1-2
Philadelphia PA19103.3031
tel 215.561.5100
fax 215.561.5101

Posted by Don Kosloff | September 15, 2007 11:38 AM

Any publication should have absolute freedom to run any ad that they have the slightest desire to publish for whatever reason that may suit them. That includes balancing profit against personal distaste. Any thought to the contrary is subversive to the Republic. Such publications should also be ready to accept the consequences of publishing such ads.

Posted by eaglewings | September 15, 2007 11:44 AM

Sorry, but this ad violates the most fundamental rule of the right of publicity, which is no company can use the name or likeness of a living person for their advertising of products without the person's consent. This is the law in New York and California has an even harsher/stricter right of publicity. This isn't a libel/slander type of tort, where the President would have to show constitutional malice to recover, all he would have to do is show the ad containing his likeness and prove he never consented to it. Case closed.

Posted by MarkD | September 15, 2007 11:49 AM

Bush should sue, and announce that any damages will be awarded to the Salvation Army.

Posted by essucht | September 15, 2007 11:50 AM

I think this ad is indicative of the closed circle much of the left hangs out in. They can go much of their lives without hearing anything but the same leftist spin.

I'd guess that in the social sphere of the executives in question BDS is the norm, and those that disagree know not to open their mouths.

This sort of thing has been around for a while on the left - remember Pauline Kael? But I think it has gotten far worse in the left few years.

I think it goes to how lazy leftists have become in the humor department. Bush is a simpleton? Haven't heard the one before!

Not that there isn't room for this sort of thing if well done - heck, I'm still waiting to see the local used car dealers dress up like Muhammed and declare Jihad on high prices.

Posted by Eric | September 15, 2007 11:51 AM

Bresslergroup says:
The region is home to Fortune 500 companies, major headquarters for international companies and countless mid size and small product oriented companies.

Eric says:
I wonder what percentage of those companies are owned or managed by people who are in favor of the President? Or who have met the president? I'm thinking it's likely to be much higher than the 37% of the general public than currently profess to support Bush. I'm going to throw out the number 80%. Does anyone think I'm way off base with this estimate?

Also, as I reread the article, I keep going back to the first question, “is this good marketing,” and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they thought that it would be the case. It’s not often that the senior leadership of a company makes a decision to take an action that could put their company on the coarse to ruin, but in the few cases it does happen, there is usually a profound upside to the gamble. What is the upside here? I see this as a case of really stinky management.

Furthermore, celebrity endorsements are designed, traditionally, to appeal to the people who like the celebrity involved, not vise versa (be like Mike, Tiger Woods for Buick, the list goes on and on.) With this being the case, that would actually make Bush the best candidate for a celebrity endorsement on the planet because he has the largest number of supporters of any human currently on Earth. More than the Pope. That’s always true of every American President. They have enemies too, but the point is they have the most supporters.

Posted by Eric | September 15, 2007 11:55 AM

essucht says:
Not that there isn't room for this sort of thing if well done - heck, I'm still waiting to see the local used car dealers dress up like Muhammed and declare Jihad on high prices.

Eric says:
Now that's what I call funny.

Posted by Rose | September 15, 2007 12:01 PM

Fact: the more the Dims des tory the level of discourse in public, the more likely the day will come when they themselves will come to seriously re g ret the antagonism they themselves deliberately created , when it comes home to roost in more open and even more hostile venues, which they have richly earned.

They themselves have decided it is entirely appropriate to slander, even mountng running slanderous campaigns for years, to desecrate war memorials, to slander Generals who are in high command of our own troops in the battlefield, to encourage their politicians to go to foreign soil to do interviews in foreign venues that undermine our troops, as Pelosi and Kucinich have recently done - adding themselves to a long list, desecrating other memeorials such as the Chinatown mural tribute to one of the 9/11 stewardesses, and the abomination that is supposedly the Flight 93 Memorial.

Those atrocities are so horrible, if the GOP or Conservative base were to match it ON PAR, it would be open civil war - how far behind can the actual engagement of such open hostilities actually be???

I do not understand how any civic leaders worth their salt cannot see that a few cases filed now for Treason would save a ton of grief!

However, it may be far too late for that, now!

All I know is that when the Dim Liberal Socialists get what they are begging for, they ain't gonna like it! But it will certainly be well-deserved!

I haven't seen signs in a long time that any Conservatives will be feeilng sorry for them, either, like they might have a few years ago.

Posted by Eric | September 15, 2007 12:11 PM

Those atrocities are so horrible, if the GOP or Conservative base were to match it ON PAR, it would be open civil war - how far behind can the actual engagement of such open hostilities actually be???

I do not understand how any civic leaders worth their salt cannot see that a few cases filed now for Treason would save a ton of grief!

I've had the same thought. We're loosing our ability to have civil discourse. This type of action helps to prove it. How childish this whole thing is. It's behavior that resembles a schoolyard, not a civilization.

In essence, the kind folks (and they may actually be so,) at Bressler Group decided to corporately insult the leader of our Nation. It's about the same mentality of a kid throwing a spitball at a teacher.

Why not just draft a letter to the President saying you think he’s dumb, and let everyone at the company sign it?

Posted by always right | September 15, 2007 12:13 PM


Some on the right think the ad offensive, they don't buy into the advertised product.

Some on the left think buying the advertised product makes them look simple (like GWB), they don't buy the product.

Looks like a winner to me for such a clever advertisement genius.

Posted by F | September 15, 2007 12:49 PM

Note in his bio that Bressler brags about being a hands-on manager. There is thus little doubt that he chopped off on the ad. Whether it is poor marketing or risks offending 37% of potential buyers matters little to me. I am more troubled by the fact that it shows disrespect for the highest office in the country (as does a president who takes a large payoff for representing a commercial client after leaving office, a la Bush 41 and Clinton.) I suppose this is a result of making our presidents celebrities, and I suppose it's a good antidote to any temptation toward regal presidencies (remember JFK?) but it would be nice to see the office held in higher esteem. F

Posted by viking01 | September 15, 2007 1:04 PM

I also found the caption "Easy" on Paris Hilton's anti-herpes drug ad and the caption "Butch" on angry Hillary's flannel shirts ads similarly offensive.

Okay, maybe not the ads for flannel shirts.

Posted by rbj | September 15, 2007 1:05 PM

The White House takes a dim view of any ad in which the President could be construed as endorsing the product -- it has been like that for a long time, not just with George W. Bush.

Posted by Mr. Michael | September 15, 2007 1:08 PM

Man. What a bunch of hooey.

George Bush himself makes fun of his speech patterns, and cultivated the meme of his 'simpleness' to his great advantage in his campaigns: consider how much he loves to point out how his adversaries have misunderestimated him!

The company made a mistake, as has been pointed out, by using a living person in their ad without permission/compensation. Were I Bush, I'd sue for tons-o-cash and donate it to a VERY Right Wing organization. THAT will keep this kind of abuse under control.

But as a conservative... yeah, I thought it was funny. No, I do not think it was a particularly bad insult... it was a joke. And in many jokes, somebody is the Butt of the joke.

Laugh it off and go do something positive today, sheesh.

Posted by MarkT | September 15, 2007 1:38 PM

Were the women here just as outraged by the Heineken ad of the woman/robot? Or is that one OK because it hints at the traditional (servile) role of women?

Personally, it didn't occur to me that "Simple" was being applied to Mr. Bush - it seemed like it was describing the product. I also thought "wow, how did they get him to pose with their product, that's really lucky".

Posted by Carol Herman | September 15, 2007 2:05 PM

Cheaper than hiring a model. The President's image is free.

And, the only test that fits is: "will it sell?"

Here? Probably doesn't insult the President at all.

And, the President's imagine can be used in PARODY. That's already been decided by the Supremes.

You could probably also use an image of the Supremes. But Ruth Bader Ginsberg would be sleeping. What value would that have for "simple?" Even when true?

What guides most brands, when spending money on advertising is BRAND ID. Getting a better leg up?

Well, here ya are ... but what, exactly, is being sold? Seems that for a phone, this one doesn't fold and go inside your pocket.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 15, 2007 2:07 PM


Company could not have found a handsomer model.

But, it "simply" doesn't fold. Can't put it in your pocket.

Might be a lost cause, right there?

Posted by jack | September 15, 2007 2:24 PM

Captain Ed said:

"So who's to blame here? The reader who got offended, the magazine that carried the ad, or the manufacturer who injected political views into commercial speech?"

It's obviously Bush's fault.

Posted by RD | September 15, 2007 2:31 PM

Speaking just for me, I wouldn't have noticed the ad...I have become inobservant to advertising over the years and quite frankly pass it by without noticing it. In fact, sometimes I go through a magazine and tear out all the advertising if I am going to carry it with me to's surprising how little is left after doing this. However, I no longer subscribe to any women's magazines even though offers as low as $6. or $7 /year come in the mail. I'll be darned if I am going to contribute to fluff pieces and cover stories about Hillary or any political candidate even though no more than pennies of my money goes to that particular story...none of my money, nada, zilch will go to a cover story on Hillary and I expect they will start appearing in the next year. I also object to companies that I own stock in donating to political campaigns (and here again I'm talking only small amounts of stock) and hope the day comes when enough stockholders will say "no more".

Posted by Shaprshooter | September 15, 2007 3:01 PM

"Simple" is better advertising fare for the product than the word "Megalomania" and a picture of Shrillary.

Posted by Shaprshooter | September 15, 2007 3:09 PM

F said: "Note in his bio that Bressler brags about being a hands-on manager. "

So was Bubba. Literally!; so why didn't he use him for a model?

Posted by Shaprshooter | September 15, 2007 3:12 PM

Donna said: "I'm always quite amazed that opponents of George Bush so like to brand him stupid. What, then, does that make them? More stupid? After all, he beat them in two elections."

And the origin of Bush being stupid was a bogus report/study out of Canada. They slurped it up!That would make the left/Dems GULLIBLE.

Posted by Mason Jahr | September 15, 2007 3:18 PM

Bush lied people died...ahem, wrong topic. Move along there's nothing to see here.

Posted by obladioblada | September 15, 2007 3:18 PM

Incredibly stupid advertising and public relations. The "sorry you were offended" response is unprofessional, the kind of thing a parent expects from bickering children. Somebody was offended by their ad and took the time to voice his concern and the PR department gave a snotty response.

The proper response was:

"The ad was intended to be humorous but it obviously offended many people. We regret the decision to run it and will not use it again. Please accept our apologies."

People who take the time to complain are the ones who will consider doing business with you. The remainder vote with their feet.

Posted by sherlock | September 15, 2007 4:38 PM

I just left a very polite message with the folks at Bressler, using the numbers they posted in their comment above. I told them that should I ever require the services of a design firm, I certainly would never consider one that would exhibit such sophamoric behavior, and demonstrate such a fundamental misapprehension of what most real Americans think about the President.

Posted by capitano | September 15, 2007 5:01 PM

Despite its lefty leanings, I had been a subscriber to Texas Monthly for two decades -- until last January when they put a Dick Cheney look alike on the front cover with a gun threatening to shoot you in the face if you didn't buy this magazine. My reaction was the same as many others.

What a stupid idea (and yeah, Dick Cheney would probably think it was funny). I refuse to spend my money on any product where the seller resorts to the political equivalent of fart jokes to insult me. Maybe the KosKids will step in an make up for the lost sales -- yeah right.

Posted by Xango | September 15, 2007 7:49 PM

I honestly think that the majority of these morons who head up these agencies, and marketing firms are young ,mush heads and the older ones are still in the VNam rage stage..
One thing I know is..if I were the president/CEO of a company that did any advertising..I sure as heck would be vetting...everyone...that had a hand in my ad..
Beauty is only skin deep but stupid is forever....

Posted by jpe | September 15, 2007 8:58 PM

I would think that the company knows its demographic. If they were selling double wides, they probably wouldn't have opted to make a casual crack at the president, but this company probably isn't alienating much, if any, of its customer base.

Posted by RD | September 15, 2007 9:54 PM

Apparently jpe you are in the demographic that needs a very simple to use telephone. It is not pride that goes before a fall but your step.

Posted by Sensible Mom | September 15, 2007 10:07 PM

I wonder if the ad agency considered using:

Easy. With a picture of Bill Clinton.

Posted by FredTownWard | September 15, 2007 10:09 PM

This isn't quite on the same level of stupidity of author Mark Kurlansky who upon being told by a reporter that President Bush was reading his book, "Salt: A World History" and recommending it to others, chose to kick a gift horse in the teeth by pretending to be surprised that Bush reads books and then launching into a classic Bush Derangement Syndrome tirade, but it is heading in the same direction.

Leaving aside the rather touchy legal area of just how much "fair use" of a president's name and likeness for commercial purposes is allowed before you open yourself to getting your ass sued off, it is difficult to imagine this ad generating a single new sale, either from BDS sufferers or from people who actually buy the premise, that this product really is simpler to use. But it is easy to imagine this ad costing a lot of sales as not just Bush supporters, but a lot of ordinary middle of the road people make a little mental note -- when the time comes to buy, it WON'T be from you.

Posted by Rose | September 15, 2007 11:53 PM

Posted by Eric | September 15, 2007 12:11 PM


Totaly agreed. Yet when they pull their trash, and we merely say, "Look what they did," they immediately tell us what hate mongers WE are "for trying to violate THEIR FREE SPEECH!"

And when the day comes when Jesus says, Stand over here and receive what is due for those who did unto the least of these, such actions as this and so, then they will be as Jesus said, "What did WE do? When did WE do this and so?" And He will tell them, when you did this...., and now, here is your reward.

They will not be happy campers!

Posted by sherlock | September 16, 2007 12:09 AM

Should these "creative" people feel that they have been unjustly criticized, I hope they at least have the intellectual consistency to not utter even the slightest whine. Not the slightest.

Posted by Adjoran | September 16, 2007 2:12 AM

I believe it is illegal to use the President's image in advertising, or any other commercial use.

Posted by Bob Mileti | September 16, 2007 6:30 AM

My first letter to the Bressler Group and Appliance Design, stated I was appalled at the ads inference that the President was 'Simple"... nothing more!

What became the real laugh, was their responses. Yes they apologized to me for being offended by the ad, but said nothing about the ad being in poor taste, let alone just a poor marketing stunt! It was this subtle admission that their intent for running the ad which infuriated me. I guess I was expecting more of the classic "that's not what we meant" excuse for their response.

After pressing them in a few more email exchanges, all I got was the same thing... we won't run it again. But no sign of acknowledging poor taste in running the ad in the first place.

Point is, I also knew it was suppose to be a joke. Unfortunately not all jokes should be at the expense of a third party.... especially one totally unaware of being made fun of. This is a trade publication and not a news magazine that you would find at a news stand, so the chances of the President seeing this are slim to none.

So why would a company run such an ad, with nothing to gain from a business perspective, other than to insult the President? We've all heard jokes before that were funny, yet inappropriate given the circumstances. it was just plain stupid, but only half as stupid as their responses.

Oh and I too couldn't resist the opportunity to take a shot, so I added this to my last email:

"I would have been just as upset if your ad had depicted Bill Clinton holding a lie detector with the title Monica Lewinsky... like your ad it denigrates not only the publication, but the readership community as well."

Anyway thank God for the Internet and Captain Ed for exposing such things! Also Thanks to Ed for great editing skills and adding some coherence to my email ramblings! I'm a Designer, not an English major!

Posted by jpe | September 16, 2007 7:49 AM

I believe it is illegal to use the President's image in advertising, or any other commercial use.

Parody. No one's going to mistake the ad for actual endorsement, so the First Amendment protects the use.

Posted by Jeremy Abrams | September 16, 2007 8:28 AM

I found the ad amusing, but will also avoid the product as a result of viewing it. One can be amused and disaffected at the same time.

Posted by Trump | September 16, 2007 11:19 AM

Hey, it is their company and they can create whatever ad campaign they want (within whatever laws there are)

If they feel comfortable with an ad that may alienate potential customers, good for them. Good luck with that. Hopefully a competitor will put out a similar product in a way that doesn't alienate anyone and reap the rewards.

Posted by Trump | September 16, 2007 11:43 AM

Of cours, it IS indicative of a mindset where some of these people allow their petty politcal hatreds to infect all other areas of their lives. Who among us hasn't seen it done a million times, where in conversations, almost out of nowhere, it turns somehow to anti-Bush "jokes" or rhetoric?

Children....simply children

Posted by Dave | September 16, 2007 12:42 PM

Actually, my second thought (after "That's a dumb ad") upon seeing this was "Boy, that'd make a good 'De-Motivator' poster".

Narrow Minded
The belief that everyone else has, or should have, the same views that you do.

Posted by Mikey NTH | September 16, 2007 12:57 PM

It was a silly thing to do; it courted controversy when it did not have to do so. Avoiding controversial people and issues in product advertisement should go without saying.

You know, "So simple a caveman could do it." No controversy there, right? Ahem.

Posted by ck | September 16, 2007 8:20 PM

"especially with such a tired meme as claiming that a Yale graduate and Harvard MBA could be a simpleton?" ---- Because everyone knows it's impossible to get through college, especially with a senator grandpa and a powerful dad, without being really really smart... right?

Posted by paul a'barge | September 16, 2007 9:15 PM

On the other hand, it's really just a joke

While these pedantic leftists continue their attack on our values and those we elect to stand by our principles, the gonad-free among us continue to give ground to those who attack us based on the idea that the other side is "just joking".

No wonder we can't win the war on terror. We can't even fight those among us on the other side.

Grow a pair, pal. Show no quarter and give not an inch. Or, get out of the road if you can't lend a hand (to winning the battle).

Posted by dude1394 | September 16, 2007 11:52 PM

Well I for one don't really expect to support a company that thinks making light of the president of the united states is funny.

Their bias's are showing.

Posted by Rose | September 17, 2007 7:07 AM

We should have learned in the 60's how much damage a healthy sense of humor can do to the enemies of the creators of the humorous material, with the hits "Laugh In", "The Smothers Brothers", "All In The Family" and other Leftwing top hit comedies of the era.

It doesn't take that much to denegrate the targetted institution of authority and make such a joke of it that it is ineffective, and it's purpose is totally invalidated.

Some institutions need to be developing a sense of humor about themselves and lighten up, from time to time, but that doesn't mean that you should let subversive groups do in undermining what they cannot accomplish in the Ballot Boxes.

Most of them treat this like the joke of running a substitute teacher crying from the room and forever leaving the employment of the school - but we have to remember that a healthy, thriving community is ESSENTIAL, not merely DESIRED, for each individual to literally SURVIVE, much less to thrive and flourish - and it is up to each of us to see that all members of the community uphold their responsibilities in that area - or suffer appropriate consequences, INCLUDING THAT OF BEING FORCED FROM THE COMMUNITY if they refuse to straighten up and shoulder their obligations.

When a community is small, a small amount of damage is drastic enough to be seen quickly by all. But in a mega community, the damage is so "insignificant" in comparison that folks are tempted to think it is in fact insignificant. But a large community is destructable, just as a small one is. It is just harder to tell what that line is which demarks the mortal thrust.

But in the last 10-15 years, we have met and crossed too many lines of demarkation where we are now on the destructive half - watching the bottom half of the glass emptying out!

At a time when college graduation should be spiking, high school drop out rates are, at a time when families should be rallying, they are unraveling faster than ever - prosons are showing us thanks to this, that these "statistical failings" are far more significant in our prison population than we ever imagined, establishing the truth of our former greatest fears, being reflected in the crime stats of the day.

It seems like a small thing to laugh at the President of the United States of America - but it is as harmless as the small red mark of small pox plagues.
Yeah, the small red spot isn't scary. oooo, who is scared of a small red spot - or a joke.

Be afraid of the disease - be afraid of the rebellion of the heart that spurns a healthy democratic process in a nation such as ours!

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels -- men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." --Dwight Eisenhower

No, I am not being hysterical - I am saying, beware of the illegitimate power of the influence of degenerate forces, whose target isn't near so much "the seat of real authority", as it is YOU!

Crossing several metaphors, here - BUT! Beware the Fagin, who isn't near as interested in making you "see your parents for the selfish, unloving users" he depicts in his initial whisperings, as he is in separating little boys from their parents' protection, so he can more easily get about the business of changing stupid little boys into donkeys for sale to the lowest denominator.

The damage is real at the initial stages, and even though the ultimate outworkings aren't manifest at that point, that is where the work needs to be done to prevent the whole damage. Stop it at the termites' first bites. America already has huge timbers falling to pieces, and we are still falling for the lies that THEIR individual "RIGHTS" to destroy are more important than the damage they are doing.

"The people have a right to petition, but not to use that right to cover calumniating insinuations." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1808. ME 12:166


INSTEAD, "we understand their frustration!"

But they are burning down the house you need to survive the winter months in!

SLANDER IS NOT THEIR RIGHT! TREASON IS NOT THEIR RIGHT! And 40 years of Liberal destruction isn't enough to make us notice where the axes of Liberalismn are doing their greatest damage.

No man in Bush's position can "EARN" the respect of the Liberals. But every one of us know parenting and military enough to know that when respect for authority is VITAL, the way to get it is NOT through "EARNING" the respect of the rebelliously subversive elements - THAT is when the "POLICE" come out and MAKE them respect authority out of fear.

Maybe that sounds like "THOUGHT POLICE" - but that is how these Liberals have been working, for 50 years - to make us DISRESPECT the institutions which keep a community VIABLE.

WE HAVE TO BE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE, just like kids need to know better than to listen to people who denegrate their parents to them, with intentions ultimately of hooking them on drugs, etc!

They do NOT have a right to DISRESPECT the STRUCTURES of a community they live in TO DEATH!

THAT is NOT a democracy - THAT is ANARCHY.

"The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, no other remains but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism." --Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1817. ME 15:127

Posted by dude1394 | September 17, 2007 9:35 AM

A follow up from besslargroup:

"Dear Mr. *******

We’ve decided not to run the ad again. Sorry if you were offended by it.

Please note too that the ad was a Bresslergroup ad and that your customer did not run the ad.

Michael Flanagan
Director of Marketing"

I consider this closed for me and I've always liked the product itself.

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