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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM PARTY CITY
December 12, 2003 10:45 AM   Subscribe

CC Hates - In a printed weekend circular that went out to thousands of Dallas TX residents, Party City outlet stores promote 25% savings on menorahs, including a TINY almost impossible to spot typo.

circular printed by ADVO .. watch this space ... That's ADVO, The Targeter of Choice
posted by Peter H (44 comments total)

 
"ADVO representatives in Dallas said they are mortified by the oversight and that they are trying to figure out why the error was never caught. "

I hardly call that an error.
posted by jeblis at 10:53 AM on December 12, 2003


yeah, it's an error.
an oversight is an error.

I just wish I could've seen the faces of people opening the paper to read that.

nice of C.C. to identify himself for the whopper of a lawsuit he just set himself up for...
posted by Busithoth at 10:56 AM on December 12, 2003


That's even worse than this.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:59 AM on December 12, 2003


that's awful--i'd be starting a boycott right about now if i lived in Dallas
posted by amberglow at 11:00 AM on December 12, 2003


Really obvious typos sometimes get missed.
This could have just been an inocent mistake.
posted by Blue Stone at 11:04 AM on December 12, 2003


An "innocent mistake", Blue Stone? What on earth could "CC Hates The Jews" have been a "typo" for? "We've Got Deals on Dreidels"?
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:05 AM on December 12, 2003


Party City is probably the biggest loser in all of this, their ad was marred by the graphic design company, but now people probably won't shop at their store.
posted by drezdn at 11:09 AM on December 12, 2003


Of course I was joking; no way was this a typo - but really big errors, real errors, do get missed, despite being (in retrospect) obvious.

It's a nightmare scenario for the designer.
posted by Blue Stone at 11:10 AM on December 12, 2003


monju -- It's even worse than this, too.
posted by nickmark at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2003


That's an OOPS for the ages, there.

But a call for an investigation of ADVO, and even the gratuitous criticism of ADVO in this post is a bit misguided, imho. Do you really think ADVO's happy this got out? To the contrary, I suspect some ADVO management were ready to commit suicide. I can't imagine how a public relations nightmare can be seen as anything but an oversight (even a grossly negligent one).

Along the same lines, amberglow, who would you boycott? ADVO? If there's anyone to boycott, it would have to be the printer who slipped it in as a practical joke. Of course, it might be tough to boycott him since he'll no doubt be on the street in short order.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2003


Yeah, who do you boycott? Party City looks like a victim to me, and most individuals lack significant graphic design needs. Hell, I've already got a de facto boycott of the entire graphic design industry goin'.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:17 AM on December 12, 2003


From the Black History Month Link...

Giant Food Store... That is the most generic name I've ever heard.
posted by drezdn at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2003


I'm surprised that they think "CC" was the person who wrote the message. I'd think it was the other way around, and CC was the person who left his desk. That's usually how this sort of prank goes -- Tom leaves his desk, and the next day "Tom can suck it" or something shows up in the headlines.
posted by tingley at 11:24 AM on December 12, 2003


Giant Food Store... That is the most generic name I've ever heard.

Hey, giants gotta eat and apparently they like soup.
posted by donovan at 11:29 AM on December 12, 2003


I agree with pardonyou?. If you really want to stick it to ADVO, post a link on your blog. But boycotting Party Center (if, indeed, that's the intended target of the boycott) is silly.

But I will be sure, the next time I need to produce thousands of sale flyers, I take my business elsewhere. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 11:30 AM on December 12, 2003


I used to like The Jews back when they had that old lead singer. I can see where CC is coming from.
posted by xmutex at 11:39 AM on December 12, 2003


Headline: Holiday Ad Has Hidden Hate Message

Yeah, real hidden alright! Is all type under 72 points considered "hidden?"
posted by zsazsa at 11:45 AM on December 12, 2003


A shirt for CC.
posted by shoepal at 11:46 AM on December 12, 2003


Now I won't be able to sleep tonight knowing that CC hates jews.
posted by dr_dank at 11:53 AM on December 12, 2003


But this is pretty funny.
posted by xmutex at 11:56 AM on December 12, 2003


I used to like The Jews back when they had that old lead singer. I can see where CC is coming from.

xmutex brings all new context to this story! now i don't know what to think, heh.

Maybe if it was a typo. What could he have mispelled?

CC hates the pews? - Since a pew is clearly a church thing, maybe this was an attempt to market-focus to the channukah crowd

CC plates for jews? - There are plates in the advertisement shown. maybe CC plates are special for the holidays.

Tasteless jokes aside, really, I think alot of blame is on the proofreader in the design house, and the press manager at the plant, since they should be, in theory, the last eyes on whatever gets printed and are responsible for errors like, um, this.
posted by Peter H at 11:58 AM on December 12, 2003


North Dallas has a very large Jewish community that you can't miss.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2003


I would threaten both the design/printing firm, and Party City. Let them both apologize very very publicly, or lose business. Both approved the circular, and saw proofs of it before it was printed.
posted by amberglow at 12:07 PM on December 12, 2003


Wow. I want to laugh but it's really.. ok, a small snicker. Party City may want to sue the graphic design team, just to make up for losses encountered by this ads display.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:09 PM on December 12, 2003


I'm sure Clear Channel is firing up the lawsuit machinery, too. Well, at least if they had the same "first-glance" reaction I did.
posted by chandy72 at 12:11 PM on December 12, 2003


From xmutex's link:
Department insiders describe Wimbish as the odd man out, he may just be trying to fit in, with a little locker-room humor and cop-shop shenanigans.

Just a few months ago, he said as much when we asked about his new mustache.

"I looked around the table and all my command staff had mustaches," said Wimbish, "So I thought I'd try one."
Bizarre.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:15 PM on December 12, 2003


which member of his command staff do you think he tried out?
posted by Peter H at 12:18 PM on December 12, 2003


sorry, i couldn't resist that joke to monju_b's post. carry on....
posted by Peter H at 12:20 PM on December 12, 2003


Monju: this is worse.

And CC is quite the asshat, whoever he is, but what about the 120 other dumbasses in the production line who missed the giant 72-point type? I mean, seriously.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:22 PM on December 12, 2003


I have no idea how this got passed anyone.

Nor this.

I think this one came from the EU.
posted by skallas at 12:56 PM on December 12, 2003


Having worked with many print houses over the years, this is in no way the printer's fault. Printers print what you send them to print, whether they are computer files, pieces of film or what have you. They peruse the printed documents to make sure that things like color and alignment haven't gotten messed up in the printing process. They are not proofreaders, but printers. This is why printers send back proofs to the designers, because it is their responsibility to do a final proofing. Any reputable printer and/or design house would NEVER just mail out a print run without having the final proofs looked at by the design house/publisher. It just doesn't happen. At least not by anyone who knows how to run a business.

This seems a bit sinister to me. We are not talking about a typo, a misspelled word here. It just boggles my mind to think of how this slipped past the eyes that were being paid to pay attention. This is not subtle. It's like a car leaving an assembly line without a steering wheel.
posted by archimago at 12:59 PM on December 12, 2003


I would threaten both the design/printing firm, and Party City. Let them both apologize very very publicly, or lose business. Both approved the circular, and saw proofs of it before it was printed.

Are you sure that Party City saw proofs after the stupid message was put in? Do you work for Party City? Seriously, I dont know anything about the normal chain of activity involved in approving a circular, but I would imagine that some amount of trust is placed in the designer. It's like boycotting all Wal Marts because I decide to go into one of them and run around naked.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:01 PM on December 12, 2003


Ignatius, in all likelihood, someone at Party City was supposed to sign off on the proofs and probably did without even looking at proofs based on past work with the designer. I've done it as well a few times in my own career in publishing. You work with someone long enough and you begin to trust them because of past work experience, especially if even minor typos never make it to press.

It's an explanation, not an excuse. The person at Party City is just as much to blame for not catching this.
posted by archimago at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2003


What archimago said. The printer prints what you send them. You get a proof. You are supposed to proofread it. Once you do, you sign a form that says "Yes, this is correct, run it." Once signed off, the only thing they'll do on press is adjust to make sure things stay matched to the proof. That's it.

However, if I was the press jockey, I might have tried to make a phonecall. I wouldn't stop the press (and I damn well *would* have charged for the print run -- you signed off on the proofs, you pay for the print run.) But I'd make a phone call. But that's me.
posted by eriko at 1:31 PM on December 12, 2003


Now you know why the graphic artist freaks out when you try to use their computer.
posted by soren at 1:33 PM on December 12, 2003


How does the saying go, that you should never attribute to malice what you can blame on stupidity? I'm pretty certain that this was a piece of sophomoric humor designed to get a chuckle out of the designer that horribly backfired when, as archimago suggests, no one ever bothered to proof the ad. Had it been an actual piece of hate speech, it seems to me that it would have read something like, "Jews Murdered Jesus" or at least "Party City hates Jews" or something that, you know, made some kind of sense as a statement.
posted by vraxoin at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2003


When I worked for the college newspaper, we had a cranky old guy who did the layout and paste-up. The masthead at the time included a quote, which was chosen by the editor. One night, the editor forgot to give the layout guy a quote, so he typed "This is fucked up." -- Jim into the quote box and sent the page to the newsroom for proofing, figuring the swear would draw the attention of the editor.

At least three editors and an additional layout artist looked at that page. Guess how many phone calls we got the next day?
posted by me3dia at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2003


According to the local news (who ran this story lead last night) the graphic designer in charge of the ad had stepped away from his desk and someone else changed the line. The ad had apparantly already gone through proofing, so he just hit submit. As to the printers, well they apparantly just hadn't noticed (see notes above).

They had a PR guy for ADVO apologize publicly on the news and said that the guy that was "pulling a joke" had been fired. He cleared Party City and the printer from any culpability, and the spokesperson for the ACLU said that they were satisfied with the apology and that appropriate actions were taken.

Practical jokes can be funny, but this wouldn't have been funny even if it had been caught and the two designers just got a chuckle out of it. Hopefully the guy responsible has a difficult time finding work in the field again.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:50 PM on December 12, 2003


Yes, skallas. when I saw that "actual item", I thought to myself: "I think everybody in that office was a little sleepy from staying up late to watch Conan O'Brien".
posted by wendell at 1:58 PM on December 12, 2003


They had a PR guy for ADVO apologize publicly on the news and said that the guy that was "pulling a joke" had been fired.
Good...now party city should apologize, perhaps in their next circular or something or also on the news...I'm willing to bet they won't need to stock as many menorahs next year, and if i were them, i'd be shopping for a new designer and printer. The QC people at the press should have noticed this before it went out.

What archimago and eriko said: I'm the last person on my end to see everything that goes to press...you can be sure that I make sure we all sign off, and yet again when it comes back from prepress, and once more (just me this time, onscreen) when the printer is ready to roll. That's magazines, but no printed material is ever just sent without a proof or a blue being pulled, even if it's just seen onscreen remotely, afaik.
posted by amberglow at 2:24 PM on December 12, 2003


It's like boycotting all Wal Marts because I decide to go into one of them and run around naked.

Ignatius, if even one of their stores' personnel were daft enough to allow this, I'm sure every single MetaFilterite would absolutely start boycotting WalMart. Except for the 71.5% that already boycott them based on responses in past threads.
posted by billsaysthis at 2:55 PM on December 12, 2003


You know, this is nothing new. Sometimes deadline pressures are so great for something like this that obvious typos slip by.

I remember one time a newspaper in my company's chain had a cutline under a photo reading "shitload of snow." the photographer put it in as a joke, but it ran.

Another time, a copy editor saw "Enola Gay" in a front story headline (Enola Gay being the name of an airplane), and in the interest of both political correctness and eliminating white space, changed it to "Enola Homosexual."

It happens all the time.
posted by schlaager at 7:58 PM on December 12, 2003


Back in the day, one of my favorite pranks was to blurt, in a shocked tone, "What do you mean, you hate the Jews?" while walking through crowds with my friends. I probably had too much discretion to munge up a document with "CC Hates the Jews," but it could have happened in a moment of weakness.

For what it's worth, though, I love the Jews. I only hate the dirty Papists.
posted by subgenius at 8:52 PM on December 12, 2003


monju_bosatsu :Department insiders describe Wimbish as the odd man out, he may just be trying to fit in, with a little locker-room humor and cop-shop shenanigans.

Just a few months ago, he said as much when we asked about his new mustache.

"I looked around the table and all my command staff had mustaches," said Wimbish, "So I thought I'd try one."
Bizarre.


Evil Shenanigans
posted by echolalia67 at 1:19 AM on December 14, 2003


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