Bluff The Listener

Originally published on June 4, 2011 11:04 am
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Alonzo Bodden and Amy Dickinson. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

ANNETTE RICHARDS: Hi, how are you?

SAGAL: I'm fine. Who's this?

RICHARDS: This is Annette Richards. I'm calling from Indianapolis, Indiana.

SAGAL: Indianapolis, not far away. What do you do there?

RICHARDS: I am a part time math instructor.

SAGAL: That's cool. And do you do anything for fun?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RICHARDS: I play around with the fiber arts.

SAGAL: Fiber arts?

RICHARDS: Tatting and I can spin fiber and I can also sew.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Tatting?

SAGAL: I'm sorry, tatting?

RICHARDS: Tatting, yes.

POUNDSTONE: What's tatting?

RICHARDS: A long time ago they used to make lace that way. So it's sort of like macramé but on a very small scale.

SAGAL: Wow.

POUNDSTONE: It would never occur to me to tat.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I know. Annette, welcome to the show. You're going to play the game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Annette's topic?

KASELL: This will be just like selling umbrellas in a rainstorm.

SAGAL: Which is an easy thing to do, unless you were to use a slogan like, "When the lightning starts, hold up this metal pole."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: See, this week we read a story about somebody trying to sell a pretty good thing in a pretty bad way. Each of our panelists are going to tell you three stories of wrong-headed approaches to marketing, only one of which is real. Choose that real story, you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. Ready to go?

RICHARDS: Yep.

SAGAL: Let's hear first then from Amy Dickinson.

AMY DICKINSON, Host:

When the local zoo in Syracuse, New York learned that one of their kangaroos had a baby roo nesting in her pouch, the zoo decided to market their good fortune by hosting a high concept event, featuring the famous 7-foot-tall drag queen Rupaul.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: Zoo director Gay Choffe(ph) explained it. "We called it the Ru in the Zoo. Get it? Roo? The idea was to create an event that would bring attention to our wonderful kangaroo exhibit."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: The trouble started when Mr. Paul, wearing a Bob Mackey outfit and matching boa was asked to strike a pose next to the anxious mother kangaroo and she responded the way kangaroos do, with a swift kick to his plaza pants, followed by a pummeling.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: The human Ru fell off his platform sandals, sustained cuts and bruises and a badly sprained ankle. "Kangaroo'd," he tweeted.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: And attorneys on both sides are working out a settlement.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Rupaul tries to promote a kangaroo and it does not work out. Your next story of someone with good intentions misfiring comes from Alonzo Bodden.

ALONZO BODDEN: What's up your butt?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: This question was asked by numerous billboards across the state of Washington. The billboards showed people with pained expressions and the question was writing right above them, what's up your butt?

The idea was to raise awareness about colon cancer, the third leading cause of cancer related deaths in America. County Commissioner Shon Small told the Tri- City Herald, "We're going to give the taxpayers what they want," and agreed to remove the billboards after numerous complaints. Well at least they didn't ask who's up your butt.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: I added that last part.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODDEN: Just so you know.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The "What's up your butt" colon cancer campaign not working out. Lastly, let's hear from...

POUNDSTONE: If it's not real, it should be.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

POUNDSTONE: Religious groups choke on healthy foods campaign. As America's health care costs continue to soar, the American Council on Healthy Eating frantically tries to promote a healthy diet. Somehow "Where's the Beef" always comes out ahead of "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Determined to find a memorable approach, the American Council on Healthy Eating has inadvertently drawn the ire of religious groups with their "What would Jesus chew" campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: Which they quickly pulled when the controversy began. "Obviously, Christians are not adverse to the idea of eating healthy," says Larry Bowers, the head of Christian Media Watch. "We also, however, hold dear the image of Jesus Christ and reject the use of his image in any form of advertising."

"We, of course, deeply regret any offense caused by the campaign," says Haley Stitz(ph) of the American Council on Health Eating. "We intended the image of the last supper with Jesus eating fruits and vegetables and sipping a cup of soy milk, while Judas bellied up to a burger and fries, to be a humorous nudge."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "But it seems it may once again have driven the nation further into the grip of a diet of fatty potluck."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, one of these campaigns really was tried and really did not succeed.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Was it from Amy Dickinson, a zoo's attempt to market their new baby kangaroo with Rupaul? A disaster ensued. From Alonzo Bodden, a colon cancer awareness campaign that used the catchy slogan "What's up your butt".

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Or from Paula Poundstone, a campaign for healthy eating called "What would Jesus chew" with a big rendition of the last supper.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Which of these was the real story of a marketing campaign gone awry.

RICHARDS: Wow.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DICKINSON: Tat that missy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

RICHARDS: I think I'm going to go with Alonzo's story.

SAGAL: Alonzo's story.

RICHARDS: What's up your butt?

SAGAL: The what's up your butt.

RICHARDS: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: All right, that's your choice. Well, to bring you the real story, we spoke to somebody who was actually connected to this ill-fated campaign.

DENNIS KLUKAN: The billboard is a picture of a 50-year-old man with a kind of quizzical expression on his face, and it says what's up your butt.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That was Yakima Public Health District Administrator Dennis Klukan.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: He ran the ill-fated "What's Up Your Butt" campaign out there. Congratulations, Annette, you got it right. You earned a point for Alonzo for being sincere, and you've won our prize. Carl Kasell will record the greeting on your home voicemail or whatever you got. Thank you so much for playing.

RICHARDS: Thank you so much for having me.

SAGAL: Thank you. Bye-bye.

RICHARDS: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.