Friday, November 20, 2009

Am I Just too Sensitive?



Just now I saw the above commercial for kayak.com. I suggest you watch it, if you can stomach it. For those who can not, allow me to describe it for you. An old man is packing a bag, in walks a younger man, his son I assume, and asks if the old man is going on a trip. The old man says he is returning to where it all began, and from the army picture on the wall, his age and the description of a combat beach landing, I assume this to be a D-Day reunion. The entire time the old man is talking, an old fashioned arrival/departure board is showing travel options. As the old vet reaches the climax of his speech, Cancun comes up on the board, and the son smiles. They are trying for a double entendre, and humor, but I find nothing funny about two hundred nine thousand allied deaths, especially when they are making light of such a massacre for profit. There is now way in hell that I will ever book anything with kayak.com. If I wanted to visit my family in Texas, and Kayak was the last travel agency on the planet, I would walk over hot coals for two thousand miles, rather than book a flight with these skid-marks. If they think that veterans are some joke, especially the greatest of us all, or not worthy of our attention and respect, than I REFUSE to give them my business. I will be boycotting them, and if it remains a boycott of one forever, than I am good with that. Commercials are meant to influence our purchasing decisions, and I must say this travesty of a commercial has certainly helped make up my mind, though I am sure not in the way they planned. Perhaps I am just too sensitive. I admit I have a dog in this fight and might not be objective, but somehow I doubt it. Tell me what you think about this commercial. All opinions welcome.

-----UPDATE-----
An anonymous reader posted a "Contact Us" link for Kayak.com so that I could gripe directly to the company that had ticked me off. I sent the following rant:

Due to your advertisement making fun of veterans, I will NEVER book anything with your company. Your sense of humor is deplorable. I have encouraged others to likewise boycott your company. I hope to soon see your company declaring bankruptcy.

I have to give Kayak props though, the CMO responded less than twelve hours later with this:

Dear Sir,

I just read your e-mail, and I'm very sorry that our ad offended you. We definitely meant no disrespect. I have the utmost respect and gratitude for our veterans and the sacrifices they've made for us. I know what they did for us. I personally have many family members who have served or are currently serving including my father. One of our co-founders father's served in WWII as did the main actor's father. The ad is intended to convey that the character is poking fun at himself. We've also received positive feedback including from current service members and veterans though I'm not discounting your sentiments at all. Again, I sincerely apologize, and we certainly did not mean to offend you.

Respectfully, Robert

I leave it for you to decide what they meant, but as for me, I stand by my original sentiments.

-----UPDATE 2.0-----
Today (12/7/09) I sent another email to Mr. Birge, thanking him for his quick response, and to let him know that his defense of the ad was posted. That pesky sense of fairness. Within two hours, he had responded to that email as well. For all that they have offended my sensibilities, I have got to give them credit, they read the gripes and are not afraid to respond. Here is what I wrote:

Mr. Birge,

I do appreciate your quick reply to my gripe. I have not changed my opinion on the humor of your commercial, though I do believe it more a case of poor taste (my opinion) rather than maliciousness. I understand, and have even seen, that there is positive feedback on this commercial. I try to keep a good sense of humor about most topics, and often laugh at my own absurdity, and even usually see the humor when my beliefs are lampooned. However, there is a growing trend to make our veterans, of which I am one, a target of ridicule and other humor that is in poor taste. It generally takes much to offend me, but this trend, and it's effects, do the job effectively. I urge you to take a close look at the content of future advertisements, as I am not the only one that found this particular ad disrespectful. If you were to continue to advertise with similar content, even tongue-in-cheek and innocently, it would definitely inflame many of a similar mindset to myself. While I still am not happy about the ad, I do however have a sense of fairness, and as such, posted your letter explaining the ad as an addendum to my original blog post. Once again, I thank you for your response, as well as the rapidity in responding. This shows a dedication to customer service that is severely lacking from most companies in this day and age.

Thank You,
Right Wing Extreme
http://www.peoplesrepublicofamerica.blogspot.com/

His reply:

Dear Sir,

I appreciate your note back. Veteran's are one group that I would never intentionally ridicule, and I'm not a sensitive type. We truly did mean things in a different way, and I definitely didn't take your e-mail as a gripe.

With respect.

Robert

Props for the quick response, but I have to disagree, even I would call my original email to Kayak a gripe.

GOD BLESS AMERICA AND DEATH TO HER ENEMIES!

20 comments:

TRESTIN MEACHAM said...

This is really poor taste. I know I am not going to use them.

Hannityinaskirt said...

You aren't too sensitive. I thought the same thing when I saw it. Disgusting and insulting.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Trestin,
Thank you for confirming that it is not just me.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Hannity,
I totally agree.

Anonymous said...

It's not just you, and not just a conservative thing either. I'm quite far to the left, and I found it to be quite offensive. Too many good men fought & died in that battle for them to trivialize it and make it into a joke to sell tickets.

I'm contacting as many veterans' groups as I can to get the word out about this commercial.

BTW, if you want to complain about the ad, go to http://www.kayak.com/feedback/form.Also, if you want to let others see the ad to let them know about the problem, it is on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RFoEn5EYJw.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Anon,
Thank you for the info. I will definitely be lodging my complaint.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this ad is totally inappropriate! I found this site doing a search for the same reason.

Terrible Taste said...

They continue to run this ad all over the place. I was offended by it and found your page by searching the internet to see if anyone else was. I am not conservative but I'm glad to find someone who agrees with me about this. I cringe every time I see it and think about someone who actually fought at D-Day watching as this company uses it to sell cheap tickets to f'ing CANCUN. Gross.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Anon 12/13,
It is good to know I am not alone.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Terrible Taste,
I have seen this ad several times since I wrote this post. In the updates, I have included several instances of correspondence between myself and the Kayak CMO. I believe them when they said the mean no disrespect, but I really wish they would pull this ad. I am also glad to see that this is not a partisan issue. You are the second lib to actually post your displeasure here. Thank you for your support of our vets.

Toby said...

Right Wing Extreme, I hope you don't think that only the right thinks this ad was in really poor taste. I'm pretty much a socialist lefty retired Coastie and I agree with your assessment. I make it a practice to pay respects at Military cemeteries when I travel. I don't think anyone that has wandered the grounds of Arlington, or Normandy, Nettuno in Italy, or Hamm in Luxembourg could think that there was any humor in the Kayak ad.

That being said Kayak does have the right to their version of humor and I have my right to let them know I'm never going to spend a dime with their company.

I'll talk it over with the father-in-law over Christmas dinner. He's a damn lefty too, shot down in his B-17 over Axis held territory and evaded capture. We're not all twinks :)

Toby

Right Wing Extreme said...

Toby,
At least you did not say you were in the Navy. Seriously though, I realize that this is not, or at least should not be, a partisan issue. To be honest I think I have received more comments on this from the Left than the Right. For the record, I have, and still concede Kayak's right to air their commercial. I simply am using my right, and one you are taking, to not do business with them. I did not call for a boycott as such. I said that I will not use their service. Additionally I do not think that the average Leftists are bad people per se. most are misguided or wrong-headed, but differences make the world go 'round. My problem is with your leadership, much the same as my problem with the leadership of the Right. Maybe one day I will articulate this point better. I would be interested in hearing what your father-in-law has to say on the subject. Please post his thoughts if you can find the time. I also have to admit to some jealousy as I have not visited most of the great American Military Cemeteries.

Indiana Cooke said...

Birge's reply to your email sounded so sincere, I was almost taken in. Until I received the same reply from him, probably generated automatically.
"I just read your e-mail, and I'm very sorry that our ad offended you.
We definitely meant no disrespect. I have the utmost respect and gratitude for our veterans and the sacrifices they've made for us. I know what they did for us. I personally have many family members who have served or are currently serving including my father. One of our co-founders father's served in WWII as did the main actor's father.
The ad is intended to convey that the character is poking fun at himself. We've also received positive feedback including from current service members and veterans though I'm not discounting your sentiments at all."

They appear to be censoring critical comments about it on YouTube.

Right Wing Extreme said...

I received this email from Judy C. in my inbox this morning:
Hi there, found your blog after finally getting a gut full of that commercial, emailing Kayak and AMC (last channel I saw it aired on), and starting a post on Ebay’s History forum that so far has only drawn a couple of chronic trolls who are probably Ebay employees. Googled to find some ammunition to use against those trolls, found your blog. My “rebuttal” post on Ebay’s low-traffic history forum now includes a link to your blog. Thanks to Ebay’s ranking power, my post has pg 1 ranking in a “kayak.com commercial” Google search, so maybe some other folks will get to the both of us.

My post on Ebay

Didn’t know any conservatives are allowed to live in Oregon. Our son moved to Portland 5 years ago and has become so liberal that we can only safely discuss the weather.

Judy Cooke

PS. As a longtime advertising person, I find myself wondering whether Kayak INTENDED to create a stir. Bastards.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Judy,
Thank you for you support of our troops. I have posted on that thread to lend some support. Keep the faith, we WILL get our country back.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Indiana Cooke,

Thank you for letting me now about the canned response. I feel slightly foolish that I was taken in by canned drivel. However the response I received later could not have been canned. I have heard that negative comments on YouTube were being censored, but I saw several when I visited to confirm.

Indiana Cooke said...

Ebay pulled the post, citing as cause, "Your post was removed for the following reason:
Posting Web site in the title of a threaded discussion." (The topic was "Anyone else offended by Kayak.com TV Commercial?")
Typically, thread pulls on Ebay forums only result when it's reported by another Ebay member. Since it's doubtful another Ebay member gives a hoot about a post on that rarely frequented forum, I'll be watching for Kayak advertisements on Ebay.

Right Wing Extreme said...

Indiana Cooke,
Wow that's messed up. Not Even a reason given.

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Right Wing Extreme said...

Anon,
Your welcome. I would be interested in this assignment I helped you with. If possible could you send me a copy?