On the rare night that I get to watch LIVE tv, I just happened to catch the second episode of The Celebrity Apprentice. I’ve stopped watching the show after the third season because after a while the novelty of the show wore off. However, I wanted to see this one show specifically because of the comic book aspect. In a nutshell, the men (team KOTU) and the women (team Athena) had to create a comic book character to promote Zappos.com.
The focus of the company was their customer service. Both teams had the idea to have a female character to embody this trait. If you watch the episode way at the bottom of this entry, you’ll see how similar their concepts came to light. However, the execution was less than stellar but then again with the time constraints and major egos got in the way of the creative process. To quote The Princess Bride, “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” In the Apprentice’s case, they both had rotten super-heroines.
The most glaring faux pas was Team KOTU led by Scott Hamilton named the heroine EEE (as seen above) while Team Athena named their character Z. I’m still miffed about how to embody the customer service angle into a hero since, in my opinion, the CEO of Zappos didn’t seem very enthusiastic about the concept to being with. Yes, at the end he believed both teams did a great job but honestly, the website has no mention on the winning concept to promote the site. Unlike past winners, their concepts would show up the next day in their ads/menu/today show whatever… just as long that sponsor got their airtime on the show.
Then again I am still haunted by the TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids that help out Superman and Wonder Woman in this case with their Tandy Computer. Oh, the pain of those past tie-ins but looking at the Apprentice, there is nothing new. What’s worse, is that I still own this comic book. Looking back, I understand the connection to push a project and to be linked by association to a popular brand or celebrity but it cheapens both parties unless the concept is clever like when Darth Vader met the Energizer bunny. Now that was an ad I could get behind.
Moving forward, I looked over the Zappos.com site for myself and honestly, a comic book character as a mascot or guide doesn’t blend well. I have seen some of the online commercials and honestly, they are more fun to watch as these spots deliver the Zappos experience more effectively. So, am I being overly critical? You bet, but when they mess with my stuff they better bring the goods.
If there is ever a great model to follow would be Erin Esurance character. She is in her own right a comic book character who does deliver how easy to get insurance online through her many adventures. As I too would love to be in a situation to create a comic book character as a tie in, I will not be following any examples on The Celebrity Apprentice nor watch the show.
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