Thursday, March 1, 2012

Somehow, the press takes "The American Mustache Institute" seriously

Whoever oversees H.R. Block's public relations, please give them a raise.

Although taxing mustaches is about as long a logical stretch to doing your taxes as me being nominated for President in the fall, the press somehow has been taking this very obvious PR stunt far more seriously than it warrants.

Last summer, Abercrombie & Fitch offered "Jersey Shore" star The Situation a boatload of money not to wear their clothes in a press release. It was treated as seriously as Ben Bernanke issuing a statement changing the interest rates. The story appeared everywhere as if A&F was really going to do this, including the NY Times and other publications. Gossip rags will publish anything that is fed to them, but high-standing reputable news sources?

So kudos to Business Insider's Laura Stampler for calling out CBS (!) and The Weekly Standard for treating the Million Mustache March as if it is real. Let's see, the event happens on April 1st, which is, uh...

For God's sake, the H&R Block logo is all over every single thing about the Million Mustache March.

It's competitive in the tax preparation business. Turbo Tax and H&R Block have been offering all kinds of freebies since last year to lure customers. Somebody had to think of a new trick, so why not try to abolish the fictional tax on mustaches? Will this actually help H&R Block's business in the end? We'll know in a few months. I personally don't see the connection between mustaches and tax preparation.

But why do respectable news organizations fall for this very transparent stuff?

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