Lunchtime News Chum: Truth in Advertising, Barbies, Neverland Rides, and Fried, not Baked, Goldfish

Lunchtime reading of various news sites over the last few days has unearthed a few nuggets of news chum, almost all of them related to various aspects of business and marketing:

  • From the “I Liked The Company So Much I Bought It” Department: The LA Times is reporting that Burger King is unearthing a deep secret in their newest ads: most celebrity endorsers do not use the products they endorse.
  • From the “She Looks Just Like Me” Department: Those of you that have daughters will remember shopping for Barbies, and noticing that the black Barbies looked just like the white ones, but with different color plastic. No more. The LA Daily News is reporting that Mattel is coming out with a new line of black dolls that has more authentic features, which Mattel defines as “fuller lips, a wider nose, more distinctive cheek bones and curlier hair”. The line, called “So In Style”, includes a hair-styling set that will allow girls to curl, straighten and style their dolls’ hair for $24.99.
  • From the “Buy It Now” Department: Remember how GM was going to this big experiment of selling their cars on eBay. It didn’t work. The NY Times is reporting how GM is abandoning eBay’s auto marketplace, as of today. Instead of eBay, GM is going to focus on its new, national marketing campaigns and its money-back guarantee program in which dissatisfied buyers can return their vehicles within 60 days.
  • From the “George Washington Slept Here” Department: Coming soon to a carnival near you: Michael Jackson. Well, not Jackson himself, but his rides from Neverland. The LA Times is reporting how carnivals are marketing the former Neverland-rides and their connection to Jackson… and it’s working. The saddest part of the article is at the end, where it notes:

    Though busloads of sick and underprivileged children would occasionally visit Neverland, Jackson sometimes hopped on rides alone, chugging through sleepless nights on his steam train, tooting a whistle heard on ranches for miles around. But mostly the rides were unused, a silent amusement park with no cotton candy, no flashing lights, no stomach-churning exhilaration. “These rides are built to move people every day,” said [the man who bought many of the rides]. “But at Neverland they just sat and sat.”

    Almost makes you feel sorry for the rides.

  • From the “If Joe Camel Said So” Department: The OC Register is reporting on how a coalition of restaurants and food companies are launching an ad campaign to say high-fructose corn syrup is good for you. Well, if not good for you, then at least no worse than other forms of sugar. Do you think they are protesting too hard?
  • From the “No, No, the Other Goldfish” Department: The SF Chronicle is reporting on how a Houston TX woman got so mad at her husband that she netted out her husband’s pet goldfish, fried them, and ate them. Officers who were dispatched to the woman’s home arrived to find four fried goldfish on a plate. The woman said she already ate the other three. Hmmm, I thought goldfish were supposed to be the baked, cheesy treat.