The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 March 2007

Try to see it my way

The Consumerist, generally a favorite around these parts, offers a roundup of the "top 10 worst gaffes, flops, and disasters in the history of American marketing and advertising", and indeed the cited items (including New Coke, the Edsel, and Calvin Klein's pubescent hotties) qualify as serious missteps. I take exception, though, to number 5 — the Beatles LP Yesterday and Today and its infamous "butcher" cover — not because I think the record is all that fab, or because I'm amused by the attempt to associate baby dolls with baby back ribs, but because of this offhand closing remark:

Yesterday and Today went on to become one of the only Beatles albums to actually lose money, thought this probably had less to do with its cover art than that it was a compilation album with no new material.

Depends on what your definition of "new" is. In the United Kingdom, Beatles albums generally contained 14 tracks; US releases usually had 11. Only six of these tracks had been released before in the States, and none on an album: "Yesterday" and "Act Naturally," a 45 containing two songs that were cut from the US version of Help! (we got bits from the score instead); another 45, "Nowhere Man" and "What Goes On," cut from Rubber Soul; a third single, "We Can Work It Out"/"Day Tripper." That left "Drive My Car" and "If I Needed Someone," also clipped from Rubber Soul, and "I'm Only Sleeping," "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Doctor Robert," which hadn't yet been released on the UK version of Revolver, and which would not appear on the American release.

And it was this butchery by Capitol, EMI's US outpost, which was often cited as the motivation for the "butcher" cover, though in fact this same photo had been used already on a Beatles release: the UK single of "Paperback Writer."

Posted at 9:34 AM to Tongue and Groove

I'd have to remove Tylenol from the #4 spot. All the rest of these were self-inflicted, Tylenol's cyanide problem was due to an outside source (though it was helped along by lax security).

Promote #5-#10 to #4-#9 and insert as the new #10 the Taco Bell Chilito (chill-EE-tow). Introduced in spring 1990, this chili-cheese burrito is still available at most locations, but not under the name Chilito.

Why is this worthy of #10? Because in most Latin American dialects of Spanish, "Chilito" = PENIS. What's worse, it took Pepsico (parent company at the time) almost two years to discover this fact.

BTW if you order a chili-cheese burrito from Taco Bell, make sure you eat it last. The chili and cheese when nuked take forever to cool down to edible temperatures.

Posted by: Dan B at 5:16 PM on 4 March 2007