It never ceases to amaze me how stupid smart people can be. Ty, Inc., the ultra-successful makers of the Beanie Babies, presumably has some pretty bright people running the show. But the way they have mishandled the controversy over the launch of their “Marvelous Malia” and “Sweet Sasha” dolls sets a new low in corporate ignorance and arrogance. And it puts a huge dent in Ty’s credibility and brand equity.
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Their first mistake was to shamelessly try to exploit the popularity of the Obama daughters without seeking the permission of the Obama family (which, I suspect, would never have been granted had Ty had the courtesy to seek it). Then, to make matters dramatically worse, they have insulted the intelligence of the media–not to mention their customers–by claiming that the dolls’ names were chosen not because they happen to be the names of the Obama daughters, but “because they are beautiful names.”
What a co-ink-i-dink! The people at Ty in charge of doll names pick the two most beautiful names they can think of and, wouldn’t you know it, they just happen to be identical to the names of the First Daughters! What are the odds?!?!
Perhaps Ty Warner and his PR people should make a field trip to a local theater watch the Academy Award-nominated “Frost/Nixon.” If they do, they just might learn that sometimes the coverup is a bigger offense than the original crime.
In the meantime, will any objective customer or prospective customer of Ty ever again believe anything the company says? Not if they’re smart.