This is a tale about Snuffy the Seal.
Two tales actually.
Last year, the Discovery Channel rolled out their annual event called Shark Week.
To promote Shark Week, they created a TV commercial in the guise of a news broadcast, that, as we in the industry like to say, went viral.
A great idea.
Executed quite well.
That's not something you usually hear about a standard splice and dice cable network promo.
The spot garnered a lot attention. Perhaps too much attention. Before long, parents groups, animal rights groups and people who are easily offended and prone to organize groups and petitions, were expressing their "outrage" at this wanton display of butchery.
Had the network brass at the Discovery Channel not possessed the backbone of the jellyfish, they would have told the molehill-makers to pound sand.
For one thing, it's a TV commercial!
For another, there is no Snuffy!
And for another other, it's a TV commercial!
But that's not the way it works in these absurdly sensitive times.
You want a free case of beer? Pretend you're an old spinster, with cats and an impressive collection of Hummel porcelain dolls, then write a letter to the Dos Equis Marketing Department asking why they haven't done a commercial about the Most Interesting Woman In the World?
Witness this year's promotional campaign for Shark Week and watch how they carefully put to rest all the harped-up concerns about Snuffy, the fictional seal that never got eaten in last year's fictional TV commercial.
They completely caved and did what is now referred to as a walk-back.
Ok, now I'm offended.