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Paragliding donkey, and other stupid marketing moves
Some companies can make horrendous errors in the desperate quest to attract business. As a group of Russian tourist touts send a donkey soaring, Kipp sees how wrong things can go.
July 21, 2010 4:13 by Sam Potter
There was widespread shock worldwide this week when video footage of a paragliding donkey surfaced on the internet.
Russian police have reportedly opened a criminal investigation after a group of entrepreneurs at a popular holiday resort tied the beast to the parachute before sending it on a bizarre flight. The group behind the stunt was apparently made up of tourism touts, attempting to convince beach goers to follow in the donkey’s footsteps and pay for their own flight.
According to reports the stunt, in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, turned sour when the donkey began screaming in distress. Watching children began to cry, and the donkey’s landing was less than perfect. Police are now investigating if those responsible are guilty of animal cruelty; if so they could be jailed for up to two years.
Anybody with a shred of decency would have dismissed the idea of this prank out of hand. And anyone with any common sense would have known it would go horribly wrong – forcing an innocent animal through such an ordeal wouldn’t win you much business pretty much anywhere you try it. But the business world is littered with people who have dreamed up, planned, and executed terrible marketing ideas.
Take the firm in New Zealand hired to promote the computer game Splinter Cell: Conviction. A man with bandages on his hand pointed a black handgun at customers in a bar, causing panic and sending them diving for cover. Police officers said they could not tell the gun was plastic until they had taken it from the actor. “We consider these types of stunts to be very ill-advised and have real concerns a similar one may one day end in tragedy,” said one extremely understated policeman.
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