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Tough Times for Funny Products

Thursday, 18 Aug 2011 | 2:32 PM ET

Think today's market is bad? Here's bad. You could be trying to market finger-shaped nose hair trimmers. Yes, there are things out there more awkward than the call you got this morning from your broker.

Here are a few.

Source: shopinprivate.com

Awkward Product #1: the aforementioned Finger Nose Hair Trimmer, "for the hair that used to grow on your head, but now sprouts out of your nose and ears." As the name suggests, this is a nose hair trimmer shaped like a human finger...going up your nose.

The best part of the hair trimmer's marketing pitch is the VERY SPECIFIC AND GRAPHIC example of who needs the device.

"Say you have a friend named Tom and he has some insane nose hair reaching out of his nostrils. Tom proofreads the product descriptions that you write at the Internet company where you work."

What? Who?

I would expect a pitch which says, "Tom who works in your office" or "Tom who is the head of sales". No, this Tom proofreads product descriptions you write at your web company. Pretty specific. Sounds like there's a real "Tom" whose nightmarish nose hair inspired this product, because the story goes on. "Every time you have a meeting with Tom, it's a bit frightening. Those nose hairs seem like they're going to jump out of his nostrils and attack you."

Geez, settle down, buddy.

"Don't let this happen. Buy him one of these finger shaped nose hair trimmers. You can pretend it's all a big joke, but I bet that Tom's nose hairs will disappear the next day."

Tom, you've been warned.

Awkward Product #2: Holy Smoke.

Photo: myholysmoke.com

The name maybe makes you think of awesome cigars?

Perhaps a strain of medical marijuana that does wonders?

No.

Holy Smokeis a company that takes cremated ashes of a loved one and stuffs them inside the deceased's favorite bullets.

Talk about a parting shot!

Did Grandpa prefer a 12-gauge or 20?

"Once the caliber, gauge and other ammunition parameters have been selected, we will ask you (by way of your funeral service provider) to send approximately one pound of the decedents ash to us. Upon receiving the ashes our professional and reverent staff will place a measured portion of ash into each shotshell or cartridge." It's not cheap, costing $1,250 for either 250 shotgun shells, 250 pistol cartridges, or 100 rifle rounds. The company is based in Alabama...which led me to this...

Awkward Event of the week: the University of Alabama sorority rush. Alabama may be ranked #2 in the upcoming football season, but its sororities fall short, based on a marketing ploy which even invokes Rebecca Black. Sorry ladies, but the Greeks have enough problems already.

Finally, Best Awkwardness of All:the Belt Sword.

It's a sword you can hide in your belt. I don't see any problems with this. However, there is a marketing challenge, and, perhaps, a law enforcement/TSA challenge.

Photo: beltsword.com

On the website itself, there's a demonstration of the product in a video presented by a man standing out in the woods wearing kangaroo-like cammies. Not very catchy. Actually kinda scary. So the Belt Sword people decided to sharpen their marketing game by hiring someone more much more appealing to demonstrate the product, though I'm not sure she knows what a sword is or how to use it.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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