360° Coverage : Rolling Stone, Groupon Show The Viral Benefits of Historical...

2 Updates
Rolling Stone, Groupon Show The Viral Benefits of Historical Inaccuracy
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Rolling Stone, Groupon Show The Viral Benefits of Historical Inaccuracy

Apr 11 2014, 8:19am CDT | by

null What a great man was John Hancock, whose bold signature graces our Constitution.  His legacy matches that of one of our greatest Presidents, Alexander Hamilton.  Discuss. Who cares if these...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

22 weeks ago

Rolling Stone, Groupon Show The Viral Benefits of Historical Inaccuracy

Apr 11 2014, 8:19am CDT | by

null What a great man was John Hancock, whose bold signature graces our Constitution.  His legacy matches that of one of our greatest Presidents, Alexander Hamilton.  Discuss.

Who cares if these facts are wrong?  As long as people are talking about your company, they are talking about your company.  

This week, Americans were greeted by another historically inaccurate advertisementThe cover (I use the term advertisement to accurately describe its intended use) of Rolling Stone features a nude, partially exposed Julia Louis-Dreyfus with the Constitution preamble printed on her back, below which bears the signature of John Hancock, the largest autograph on the Declaration of Independence.  In short, Rolling Stone, you have the right era but the wrong document.  Hancock signed his name large so that George III could read it, and thereby ensured his fame, but he did not attend the Constitutional Convention, where that document was drafted. Constitution it was not. Declaration it was.

But no matter. Nudity, controversy, and virality are a tough match for history.   After all, as Groupon.com taught us earlier this year, Alexander Hamilton was a President of the United States.  An advertisement that company put out for Presidents Day identified him as such, and people who use and do not use Groupon, including this writer, were talking about it for days. Never mind that Hamilton never held this position.  He served as George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury and though rumors abounded of his tinkering with American presidential politics, he never even ran for the position.

In both these cases, the story, replete with moral outrage from the Twitter-sphere, went viral, generating the desired attention.

These inaccuracies are likely (successful) publicity stunts.  How can a large company, with writers, editors, and consultants, make such a mistake, when there are so many layers of proofing and checking and re-checking?  Probably it could not.  Requests for comment elicit generally tongue in cheek responses, such as Dreyfus’s tweet that she was “in a drunken stupor,” a reference to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Groupon later dropped the pretense.  ”Most Presidents’ Day promotions make people fall asleep, so we wanted to do something different that was in line with our brand and sense of humor that got people talking and writing about Groupon,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to the Chicago Tribune.  It was funny, but was the joke on us?

The consequences of such an “error” must seem minuscule to a company in comparison to the benefits of water cooler gossip and thousands of links to your site.  Who cares really?  Most Americans grasp on the intricacies of history is weak anyway.  With this being the case, how many people talking about the story will care that John Hancock’s signature is below the wrong document?  In 2007, a US Mint poll showed that only 7 percent of those surveyed could name the first four Presidents in order. A later poll by Marist was not more encouraging. Misleading ads, whether intentional or otherwise, do not help clarify the collective confusion.

And you, reader, who might be tempted to form an opinion about this “controversy,” do you know John Hancock?  Here are 5 things you might not have known about our former “President”.

- Yes, he was a President but not of the United States.  Hancock was President of the Continental Congress and also the Marine Board (see image for proof) during much of the Revolutionary War;

- Hancock was a wealthy shipping merchant in the colonies, in fact one of the wealthiest men in America.  He had much to lose by openly advocating independence;

- Like Mitt Romney, he was Governor of Massachusetts (twice);

- One of his closest friends, Samuel Adams, was also a Massachusetts Governor.  These two men were hated by the British crown more than most, and a special bounty was placed on their heads.  Had the colonists lost, they surely would have been first to the firing squad;

-  Hancock was not only the largest signer on the Declaration of Independence. He was the first.

But these are just facts.  Now let’s all talk about Rolling Stone’s new cover.  There’s a half naked famous person and she’s got the Constitution on her back.  And below that is the most famous signature in American history: John Hancock.  Tell your friends…

 
Update
2

2 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 by 30 p ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

3 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Ebola hit countries to lose $809 million by 2015: World Bank
This projected loss will be the medium-term impact of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) on these countries, Xinhua reported.
 
 
Russian food ban deals blow to Austrian pork farmers
Vienna, Sep 19 (IANS) Russian import ban imposed in retaliation for Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis brought down the price of pork in Austria, affecting the farmers in the country.
 
 
Russia seeks to keep out foreigners from media business
Moscow, Sep 18 (IANS) Russia will soon introduce a bill in parliament to restrict foreign ownership in Russian media, a media report said Thursday.
 
 
France to help set up hospital in Guinea to fight Ebola
Paris, Sep 18 (IANS) French President Francois Hollande Thursday said his country would help set up a military hospital in Guinea to assist in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in west Africa.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Dylan Penn wants to be a director
Dylan Penn wants to be a director one day. The 23-year-old stunner - the daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright - is set to make her acting debut in the horror movie 'Condemned' next year and she's also got her heart...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Undelivered aid commitments hamper progress on MDGs: UN report
United Nations, Sep 19 (IANS) A UN report released here Thursday said that undelivered aid commitments by developed countries are holding back progress on the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Israel not to tolerate 'drizzle' of rockets: PM
Jetusalem, Sep 19 (IANS) Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Hamas knows well that Israel will not tolerate a "drizzle" of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, according to a statement released by...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Obama pledges diplomatic resolution of Ukraine crisis
Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) US President Barack Obama Thursday pledged continued efforts to seek a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. "In addition to the concrete expressions of support through security...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Luke Evans wants to dine with Meryl Streep
Los Angeles, Sep 19 (IANS) If actor Luke Evans had a chance, he would love to take Oscar winning actress Meryl Streep for dinner someday. He finds Streep to be quite "lovely". "I'd like to have dinner with Meryl...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
US Senate approves plan to train, arm Syrian rebels
Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) The US Senate Thursday approved President Barack Obama's plan to train and arm Syrian rebels in the efforts to fight the Islamic State (IS) militant group, a day after the House of...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Security ramped up after terror plot on Australian Parliament revealed
Melbourne, Sep 19 (IANS) Australian authority Friday has ramped up security in the capital of Canberra after potential terror attack plot against the Parliament House and the country's top leaders was traced....
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jay Z, Beyonce renew wedding vows
Los Angeles, Sep 19 (IANS) Singers Jay Z and Beyonce Knowles, who have been surrounded by rumours that their marriage is in trouble, reportedly renewed their wedding vows when the latter celebrated her 33rd birthday...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Jessica Simpson is 'done' having kids
Jessica Simpson is ''done'' having children. The 34-year-old star and her new husband Eric Johnson already have two-year-old daughter Maxwell and 14-month-old son Ace together and they are adamant they don't want to add...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley had posters of 'beautiful women' on wall
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley used to have posters of ''beautiful women'' hung on her bedroom wall. The 27-year-old star, who is dating Jason Statham, admits she's never been one to have pictures of hunky men stuck up...
Read more on Celebrity Balla