A Chilly Reception

Steve Baker for English Language Wikipedia

A media snafu doesn’t necessarily involve millions of dollars wasted on a campaign that flopped. It can mean a marketing blitz that was simply in bad taste. To wit, BMW spent a mere $394 in order to have a weather front named for its Mini Cooper. As Vanessa Fuhrmans of the Wall Street Journal explains, “A marketing agency for Mini decided that BMW should bet on a sponsorship that would make potential customers associate Mini’s new roadster with brisk but sunny weather.”

As it turns out, the Cooper Front was more than brisk:

[A]s Cooper swept through Eastern Europe, it brought more than the wintry sunshine Mini had hoped for. Temperatures sank to below minus 30 degrees Celsius, or minus 22 Fahrenheit, and more than 250 people have died, mostly in Ukraine, Poland and Romania.

Mini has since issued a statement, saying it regretted the cold snap’s “catastrophic proportions” and deaths of its victims. “It was not intentional, and you cannot tell in advance what a weather system will do,” it said.

Fair enough. But a hurricane? “Kyrill, a hurricane that tore through Germany in 2007, killing 47 people throughout Europe, was a 65th birthday present to Kyrill Genow from his three children,” writes Fuhrmans. “With no high-pressure systems available for male names that year, they settled on a low-pressure front, but were shocked when it turned into a vicious storm.”

How about a tsunami?

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