Advertising at a Funeral

Friday, December 6th, 2013

E.B. White said “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it”. In other words, explaining a joke tends to ruin it. However, when it comes to things of a ludicrous nature, analysis often serves to heighten my amusement. So it is with this tweet, which followed the recent passing of Nelson Mandela:

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, subject of Weinstein Co’s Idris Elba-starrer 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' which opened Nov 29 and has awards buzz.
Awful, just awful.

I first saw this via my pal Neven Mrgan, who retweeted a link from @Arr, wherein the post was dubbed “the tweetest tweet of all time”. There’s a pretty good history of marketers and the like using social media all kinds of wrong (Kenneth Cole is a repeat offender, for example), but this is just stunning. I spent some time trying to trump it:

  • R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, man who was black, like Armani’s stunning new ‘Midnight’ line of leather jackets.

  • R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, human who ate food, just like what we serve here at The Olive Garden. Where you’re family!

  • R.I.P. Nelson Mandela, man who was imprisoned, just like the criminals the Corrections Corporation of America keeps locked away behind bars.” [Editor’s Note: Twoosh!]

I don’t think she can be topped though. Let’s quickly dissect Finke’s tweet. It starts by segueing from the incredible real life of Nelson Mandela to a damned movie. It then makes sure to mention the star, Idris Elba, with some truly bizarre grammar. Finally, it closes with a mention that the movie “has awards buzz”, though reviews appear decidedly mixed. It’s an astonishing train wreck, all the way from the comma on to the period.

But I skipped over the capper, the thing that really kills me. That’s right up top, where Finke felt the need to mention the fucking distributor for the film, The Weinstein Company. Thank goodness she had enough characters left to squeeze that one in there, because it’s truly important.

Less than an hour after her horrible initial tweet, Ms. Finke decided to dig herself in deeper, with this defense:

I write about the entertainment biz. And that movie is a wonderful tribute to Nelson Mandela since it's based on his autobiography.

Multiple people attempted to get through to her and make her realize the disgusting crassness of what she wrote. They pointed out, simply, that she’s also a human being. Me, I’m not so sure. If she is, you certainly wouldn’t know it from her tweets.


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