Over the Line?

Call me old school or a prude or just blame it on my conservative New England roots and the daily perch I occupy from the sleepy Northwest Boston suburb of historic Lexington, Mass. However, I, for one, thought that T.G.I. Friday’s use of the term “kick ass” in the lead of its press release when describing a new summer promotion was as tasteless and unimaginative as its chicken finger dinner special.

Is there such a thing as bad publicity? You betcher $%& there is! Never mind that it created a lot of buzz in the blogoshere, a ton of discussion on twitter and elsewhere. In this case, I think that is just a bunch of noise being exchanged by PR people, bloggers and media type everywhere. Not that these groups don’t patronize and spend their hard-earned dollars at T.G.I. Friday’s, but really would all this attention compel you to dine there? While TGIF’s twitter following is probably going to expand exponentially this week, will they see much of an uptick in business as a result of the BYOB press release?

It begs the question – have we lost all sense of decorum and standards when it comes to communications? Will other consumer brands (I definitely cannot see this happening in the B2B world) – vibrant or otherwise – stoop to this level in their PR, social media and promotional efforts? Unfortunately, I say yes. Whether intentionally or not, I am willing to be that copy cat marketers and PR folks – again in the consumer, not B2B, realm are apt to say, “Hey, if T.G.I.F can do it, so can we.” Expect more of it. It is the natural evolution of public communications – kind of like the degradation of language (and content) on radio and television we’ve witnessed the past 20 years.

I am interested in your thoughts on this. Is T.G.I.F on the cutting edge here? Will their efforts be successful? Will they be copied? Will they hurt the brand of a “family oriented” chain? Would you use this language in your company’s press releases, web copy or on your blog? Am I way off base?

— Posted by Tim Hurley

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1 Response to “Over the Line?”


  1. 1 Tim Hurley September 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I guess the trend continues. “Ripped from the Headlines” today include such beauties as: “FTW” – part of a headline of a decent blog; “Friggin” – part of a headline in a Fortune.com profile on Carol Bartz of Yahoo and “Ass” – okay that was on the cover of Cosmo – spotted while in line at CVS.


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