Here's my Funny Business "Bad Marketing Idea of the Week."
The owners of an ice cream store in Ocala, Florida, thought it would be great if they had an employee stand outside wearing an ice cream cone costume.
Unfortunately, the man with vanilla on top looked like a KKK protestor.
According to Ocala.com, the Ice Cream Family Corner and Sandwiches was opened two months ago by Jose Cantres and Jesus Diaz. Since creating the ice cream cone mascot, "Business is getting creamed...employees heard through word of mouth that potential customers have steered clear of the shop to avoid the character."
Now, maybe from a distance it looks like the guy's wearing a Klan robe, but, up close, you can see the vanilla-colored hood is covered in sprinkles and sits on a waffle cone. Maybe some might take this as a sign the KKK is rebranding itself as kid friendly. The fact is, the episode has put ice cream sales in a deep freeze. The news report says store employees believe "the costume is to blame for the rocky road the shop finds itself on." (There's more of that, by the way, including "the clientele...melted away," and "the partners have managed to maintain their good humor.")
Since learning about the misunderstanding, store owners have removed the mascot. They've also expanded beyond ice cream to selling "the best Cuban sandwich in town." I don't believe there is a Fidel mascot in the works.
Perhaps most surprising is that store manager Liza Diaz, from Puerto Rico, claims she's never heard of the Klan. She can't even really pronounce the name, "referring to the white supremacist group as the 'Ku Ku Klan' without a hint of irony or sarcasm." Actually, she may be onto something. If Ben & Jerry's can have "Schweddy Balls", why not Ku Ku Klan? Pure vanilla riddled with nuts.
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