News Update: Super Bowl Sunday Edition

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, I decided to take a break from writing long selfreflections and instead, do a News Update focused on great/idiotic moments in corporate branding.

Today I shall discuss marketing strategy or lack thereof. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For anyone else also not watching ads occasionally punctuated by football, enjoy! (bolding in all quotes is mine)

1) Fancy Feast opens NYC pop-up restaurant

You can’t make this up:

Fancy Feast is expanding into human cuisine, with plans to open a pop-up Italian restaurant in New York City with upscale dishes inspired by its canned dinners of fish, chicken and beef.

The Purina cat food brand’s eatery will launch this month in downtown Manhattan, where it will serve feline-inspired Italian dishes to humans that “mirror the sensory experience of cats at mealtime,” the company said in a press release.

On the one hand, does anyone look longingly at canned wet cat food and think, “Now there’s a sensory experience of cats at mealtime that I wish I could enjoy“? On the other hand, this idea is just ridiculous enough that I could see the crazy cat people going for it.

Cat People of WP, comment away! “Colorful Cat Food Cans” by donjd2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Admittedly, this is not really news – Purina opened the pop-up restaurant in August – but it was too good not to share. This begs the question – how was the restaurant??

The ribs were “so tender they fell of the bone” and the beef was “stew-y” and “rich” and “extremely tender.” It’s also beautifully plated.

Side Note: This Grub Street review of Fancy Feast’s restaurant has got to be the most idiotic piece of journalism I have ever read. When I read a review of the Fancy Feast restaurant, I want to know the important details: What was the menu? How did the food taste? Are there luxury litter boxes in the bathrooms? Instead, Grub Street gives me unoriginal pseudo-intellectual questions (“Who do we work for? What is free will?”), an off-topic brain dump about parasites in cat shit, and a prediction that cats and humans will both be eating insects one day. WTF.

2) Taco Bell’s breakfast sales soar. It can thank Pete Davidson

Breakfast at Taco Bell has been saved — and the chain has Pete Davidson to thank.

Sales of Taco Bell’s breakfast burritos and egg-stuffed quesadillas jumped 9% in the fourth quarter of last year…In October, Taco Bell hired the former “Saturday Night Live” star to spearhead a new ad campaign for its breakfast menu.

I have an alternate theory: Inflation is high, and you can get a Taco Bell breakfast burrito for as low as $1.49. Hell, I have never set foot in a Taco Bell (setting aside lack of kosher options even by my standards, the one in my hometown was rumored to have a rat problem…), and yet, for that price, if I were sufficiently broke, hungry, and desperate, I‘d get a Taco Bell breakfast burrito. I don’t think anyone broke, hungry, and desperate enough to eat at Taco Bell cares about Pete Davidson either.

For $1.49, I get the appeal. “Taco Bell Breakfast Burrito” by JeepersMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This headline gives celebrities too much credit. Celebrities hawk products and trends all the time. Yeah, I kinda get why someone might believe that glazed donut nails are a thing because Hailey Bieber wore them once (even CNN thinks this), or that Goop’s products work (ha!) because Gwyneth Paltrow looks pretty and shit, and it’s not totally crazy that people would jump on the crypto bandwagon bubble after hearing about all the rich successful celebrities endorsing crypto. But no one is thinking “What would Pete Davidson do?” when they need a cheap hangover recovery breakfast.

Taco Bell has a theory as why breakfast sales were poor previously:

We honestly over-innovated in breakfast,” Sean Tresvant, Taco Bell’s chief brand officer, told CNN last year.

This is the most Corporate America sentence that has ever been uttered.

Side Note: Poets/Creative Writers of WP – There is a Taco Bell Quarterly Literary Magazine!

3) Tiffany & Co. x Nike Collab

It’s been said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but Tiffany & Co. decided to leave the glam and glitz behind for its latest, buzz-generating collab with Nike on its soon-to-be-launched sneaker.

Because that makes sense. Nothing says luxury jewelry quite like a sweaty gym shoe.

Many of reactions on social media quoted echo that WTF sentiment (I love this “Just (don’t) do it” headline.) But the collab has at least one defender:

“A lot of people are hating on the Tiffany x Nike shoe but… the elevation of the black Air Force, the Air Force being iconic to Nike + the black color having its own mythology to the ‘ski mask’ way i love it,” said wellness consultant Joe Holder, who has worked with Nike in the past. “Not timeless but timely, a nod to our current moment in many ways.”

Not timeless, but timely, a nod to our current moment” – another profound yet nonsensical brand statement. How does one get to become a brand consultant? I would love to get paid to say shit like this instead of having to say mildly intelligent things at my full-time job.


In other shoe-related news,

4) Adidas says it could lose more than $1 billion for dropping Kanye West

Things are not going well for Adidas lately.

Photo by Henry & Co.:

First, Adidas loses the trademark lawsuit they brought against another designer selling designs with four stripes (apparently, Adidas does not know that their own logo is three stripes) because, according to the defendant’s lawyer, “Adidas does not own stripes.” Now the brand stands to lose over $1 billion in operating profits after cutting ties with Kanye West and the Yeezy brand:

At one point, Adidas reported that the now-controversial rapper’s Yeezy line accounted for nearly $2 billion in annual revenue, which is nearly 10% of the company’s total annual revenue.

While other companies and platforms moved quickly to distance themselves from West, following his hateful and antisemitic remarks about Jewish people, Adidas took some time to make the cut.

Experts and analysts have cited his brand’s involvement in the company and the revenue it provided as a reason for Adidas’ hesitation.

How does one gets hired as an “expert and analyst”? I mean, duh. No shit. Of course a company is going to take time to decide if antisemitism is really a good enough reason to lose 10% of their total revenue. (I’m not defending Adidas for hesitating on cutting ties with West; I just don’t think the fact that they did hesitate is surprising.)

Adidas now faces the problem of what to do with the Yeezy inventory:

Adidas said it was still deciding whether to scrap its remaining Yeezy stock and would take a €500m (£443m) hit to its profits if it is all written off.

I have a great idea – Adidas should partner with the guys making shoes out of sex toys and reverse recycle Yeezy merchandise into dildos. Then, when someone says, “Fuck Yeezy“, Adidas can say, “We got this!” and sell them an environmentally-responsible sex toy.

Seriously, someone needs to hire me as a brand expert. I have many excellent ideas, and I will try my hardest to say things like “We over-innovated in breakfast” with a straight face.


My last story today is not new, but, like the Fancy Feast restaurant, I felt compelled to share this:

5) Wendy’s Rips Into McDonald’s French Fries with Savage New Billboard

Following their French fry reformulation, Wendy’s created a new billboard campaign:

The billboards read “hot and crispy fries don’t arch, just sayin’” alongside a photo of a folded fry that has an uncanny resemblance to half of the “M” in the famous McDonald’s Golden Arches symbol.

But it’s the description of the fry reformulation that is the real highlight:

“What we’ve done is balance the cut of the fry and kept a little bit of the skin of the potato on the fry to be able to drive flavor,” [Wendy’s President Kurt Kane] said. “We used a batter system that allows us to be able to maintain crispiness, both when they’re fresh and hot out of the fryer as well as several minutes later.”

This is the most beautifully technical description of French fries I have ever read. Naturally, I had to find out more about the reformulation, and the internet did not disappoint:

Fries in to-go bags tend to get soggy, and that’s the issue Wendy’s is aiming to fix. This change isn’t totally due to the pandemic, however. The company has been researching this upgrade for four years.

How can you not admire Wendy’s commitment to solving the problem of sad, soggy fries?

Sad French fries make me sad. Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels

The scientist (yup, I have a degree in science) and French fry afficionado loves the description of the research plan:

About 20 different designs were considered before landing on one…Early reactions are positive: Wendy’s cited a national taste test conducted by the company that showed participants preferred the chain’s new fries over McDonald’s in a two-to-one margin. Kane said it’s on the “right track to outperform our old fry.”

I’m going to start using this in conversation. Boss asks, “JYP, how’s this-and-such project going,” and I’ll say “We’re on the right track to outperform our old fry.” Man, I really hope Wendy’s has a Super Bowl ad.

Speaking of which, I almost forgot this was supposed to be Super Bowl-themed. Go Sportz!


  1. I appreciate marketing when it’s got funny/clever wordplay or acting or whatever. Like there’s a brand of eggs here called Gunnings Bumnuts. Gross but funny, right? And catchy too. And there have been a couple of TV ads in the last 30 years that have made me chuckle. But in general marketing/marketing speak makes me puke. LOL. Bit like that Purina restaurant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We don’t have many of these brands in the UK but it was still funny.

    When you said “human cuisine” I honestly thought it was going to be a story about cannibalism, or meat made to taste like human flesh.

    I wonder what Nobel Prize you get for a breakthrough in French fry science?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My cats don’t like Fancy Feast. Maybe other cats don’t either. Let’s see if there’s enough stupid humans out there to eat it. Excellent news coverage.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my goodness! You had me at, “Are there luxury litter boxes in the bathrooms?” SCORE!! I swear, if you were to do NYC Midnight and get assigned comedy (or romantic comedy), you’d hit it out of the ballpark. This is hilarious!!

    I take umbrage at any insult against the perfection of McDonald’s fries! 😀 Gracious saints. Is Wendy’s insane? There’s no comparison!!

    Oh, yeah, I don’t know about those expensive shoes. Maybe it’s just me, but I go through shoes really quickly and always have to replace them. I’m likelier to buy some in like-new condition on eBay than to buy exotic, jewelry-trimmed expensive shoes! 😮 The concept does seem to be a bit lacking! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! But you give me too much credit for originality. The news is sufficiently ridiculous that I can snark on it without needing to have enough imagination to make up a humorous plotline on my own.

      I actually haven’t had McDonald’s fries or Wendy’s fries in some time so I can’t claim a strong preference between them. But as someone who loves French fries generally, I support strongly held opinions on fries of all types. This is important stuff!! #priorities 🍟

      I think there is a very specific niche audience for that shoe…and it is not me, and I fully accept that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Purrs! This is a great way to start the week. I always enjoy your posts. Particularly this morning when having my cafecito, I imagined myself at the Fancy Feast restaurant and laughed so hard. Meow!

    Liked by 1 person

          • I think what is needed, then, in this Capitalist society, is more market pressure. We are not reading enough articles about French fries, not seeing enough celebrities with fries, or product placement in movies and TV shows, and until fries become part of the national dialog, spurring colleges and universities to host more research and to offer more fry related curriculum, this situation will continue to devolve. In my own small way, I help with a fry column on Yelp featuring daily fry reviews and recommendations. I encourage you to vote with your fast-food dollars. And that is all I have to say about that.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I mean, if a massive increase in French fry research is what we need to get students involved in productive research instead of involved in school shootings, then we are long overdue. Sorry, that got dark. My point is, this is not the worst political platform I have ever heard. Maybe we should be voting not just with our fast food dollars but also with our ballots…

            Side note: Offblog, I am starting to write a political satire novel. My novel will be more “so stupid it’s funny” vs. “serious intelligent dark dystopian novel”. I wasn’t originally planning to include French fries in the novel, but I think your comments have inspired me…

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Having worked as a copywriter in marketing environments I feel great pain whenever I see any ad copy. Somewhere, out there (right now), a copywriter is slaving over a horrendous slogan and thinks it’s good. Indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah you work in marketing? We must network! I do not work in marketing but my new life goal is to become a chief brand officer / expert branding consultant so I can make gobs of money 💰 saying things like “it’s a timely moment” and “this breakfast is over-innovated”. How do I get into this career path? Is there a way to break into the highly prestigious branding world? Do I need to date the CEO?

      Liked by 1 person

      • First and foremost, you must rely on the maxim, “The early bird catches the worm!” Repeat that every 35 seconds. It is your business mantra.

        If that fails, date the CEO. If that fails, keep creating businesses until one becomes successful. Then claim you’ve worked harder than everyone else. That is all.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.