The worst marketing gaff of all time was the brainchild of the General Motors guys.
They spent a gazillion dollars marketing a new car product for the South American market.
The name of the car they spent all that money on was the Chevy Nova.
In Spanish “Nova” means “no go”.
Apparently, a lot of people in South America speak Spanish.
The Chevy Nova bombed.
I still find it amazing that a big organization with a lot of people and a lot of money could be that stupid.
It puts me in mind of Florida’s government and Red Tide.
I recently discovered that I could be that stupid.
If you haven’t heard, our area has had another bout of Red Tide.
This time every newspaper and media outlet in the world decided to scream it to the high heavens and print tons of pictures displaying tons of dead fish.
Everyone became hysterical and all the tourists left.
The level of hysteria is astounding.
One woman called the Bistro to scream at me that the Bistro Beach Cam was lying.
She said we were hiding the bodies of the dead people that were littering the beaches.
“The dead people are there – I know – and you’re hiding them... !”
I put the receiver down slowly and carefully.
I am kind of in charge of marketing for the Beach Bistro, Eat Here and The Doctor’s Office.
I thought I would let folks know that the Grouper was safe and the air conditioning removed all evidence of the tide... and that there were no dead people.
I thought it would be cute if Eat Here bought a bunch of little goldfish and we put them in a tank and when families came out to dinner we could give the kids a goldfish in a little plastic bag.
The kids would hold up their cute little goldfish next to their cute little faces and smile and we could take their pictures and put them online somewhere and tag them “live-fish-on-Anna-Maria” and people would smile and we could show that things were all right and we could go back to the good old days before Big Sugar invented Red Tide and killed all the fish and all the tourists.
Sounds like an OK idea... right?
Not as big and stupid as the Chevy Nova but right up there.
What happened was that smart people who knew you could still eat inside around Red Tide came and brought their families and loved Eat Here's really great food and had a great time and as the happy families left we gave the kids a goldfish and the kids loved the goldfish and got excited and happy... and the parents got angry and said, “We ain't taking that goddam goldfish home”, and the kids started crying and pitching a fit and we turned a bunch of happy families into whirling dervishes of discord and they all hated us.
Eventually we found someone who wanted a fish tank and the gold fish are doing OK.
We had one large goldfish with a big orange forehead that looked like a comb-over so we named him Donald and he is hanging out at The Doctor’s Office where we are running Red Tide special cocktails with little red fish candy garnishes.
The Beach Bistro Bar is giving away goldfish crackers instead of real goldfish and the Beach Cam is showing beautiful sunsets and happy people on the beach.
Tides come and go.
The Red Tide appears to be leaving but my chefs’ jibes about the genius of the Great Goldfish Gaff will be with us forever.
Goldfish and the Chevy Nova.
Insightful stories, colorful commentary and subtle political incorrectness by Sean Murphy, proprietor of Beach Bistro, Eat Here and The Doctor's Office, Holmes Beach, Florida – Anna Maria Island, USA, as syndicated to The Anna Maria Islander and Anna Maria Island SUN newspapers.