Well played, Amazon.
When I visited Amazon's website this morning, the glaring orange of the e-retail giant's latest marketing campaign flashed in front of me.
The orange background is gaudy and personally offensive to my eyes, but the message is, too -- should you read it in a particular way.
#amazonshitcarshow. Your eyes can't help but navigate towards a particularly vulgar phrase in the middle, and at first, laughing, I couldn't help but wonder at the spectacular PR fail this particular hashtag represents.
Designed to promote The Grand Tour, Amazon's answer to the BBC's once wildly popular petrolhead show Top Gear, if read in one way, the message says "Amazon's hit car show." In the other -- well, some Amazon Prime subscribers with access to the show might agree.
James May, Richard Hammond, and fist-swinging Jeremy Clarkson are the presenters of the show. As I looked more closely at the promotional banner, however, I noticed each presenter's headshot was positioned to be staring at the word "sh*t" in apparent disbelief.
In the meantime, Twitter has exploded. While a number of denizens of the Twittersphere have mockingly compared #amazonshitcarshow to the infamous Susan Boyle PR calamity #Susanalbumparty, others have questioned the sanity of Amazon's PR team, and some are simply enjoying a laugh over the hashtag.
Others, however, have praised the tech giant for the clever promotional move.
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The Grand Tour's team knew exactly what they were doing, and even released a video clip suggesting the marketing was rushed -- complete with May and Hammond working on a slogan for season three.
When a Twitter user deemed the hashtag "unfortunate," they responded by saying, "Well it's not creative, but it's direct and to the point letting fans know that amazon's hit car show has returned."
#amazonshitcarshow has trended, everyone is talking, and whether or not you think the joke is vulgar, you can't deny it is excellent marketing.
Leaked internal memos belonging to Amazon have suggested that a show's worth is based not on its viewers, but estimates on how many new Amazon Prime subscribers it attracts. If trading off the trio, swearing, and a planned marketing failure bring more subscribers to the fold, perhaps this will be enough to ensure the show is given another season.
It does make you wonder, though, if The Grand Tour needs the boost.