300 Naked Women Feared Lost [Branding The Onion]

Sunday Afternoon Reading


If you get to know Chicago, you’ll understand why I like it so–despite the winters. It’s the American midwest work ethic, the reason Chicago is called the City of Big Shoulders, the City that Works. It’s the people and the midwest sense of humor.

It was Sunday. I stopped by a neighborhood bar, picked up a free newspaper from the stack by the door. I ordered a glass of wine and asked for a hamburger with pickle, onion, ketchup, and mustard. Then I scan the headlines.

Immediately I saw 300 Naked Women Feared Lost . . . . I was reading the The Onion logo – America’s Finest News Source. A great friend to have along with a glass of wine and a hamburger on a Sunday afternoon in Chicago.

I know that you can find this free paper in other cities–it’s even online–but it’s in every neighborhood bar, bookstore, and coffee shop in downtown Chicago. We think of it as our own. Maybe it’s an onion-connection thing. Historians say the word, Chicago, means stinking onion.

The Onion is not only America’s Finest New’s Source . . . per their trademark. According to their media kit, they are also hailed by the New Yorker as “The Funniest Publication in the United States.” “A Message from The Corporate Office” attributed to “the esteemed Captain of Commerce” promises that

. . . Every one of our readers is firmly ensconced within the plum 18-49 demographic . . . we went so far as to lobby the halls of Congress . . . to make reading The Onion mandatory for this group . . . Thankfully the law passed in 1997, forever ensuring that our readers are highly paid easily persuadable young folk with money to burn. . . .

Now there’s brand-centered promotion that knows its goal and communicates its big idea–crisp, clear, sweet. It’s what I call Frosted Mini-Wheats promotion. It satisfies my adult sophisticated sense of humor and my kid-like sense of fun at the same time.

If you’re not familiar with this news source, it’s a perfect thing to try this day after April Fool’s Day, when we’ve just changed the clocks to lose an hour of sleep.

And about those naked women . . . check the story. It ran July 18, 2001. I still remember it. I still think it’s funny.

Now that’s a brand that lives up to its promise.

–ME “Liz” Strauss

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  1. says

    stinking onion? eh, … now I know why they call Chicago the Windy city 😉 I know , I know, I’m juvenile but you had to know a flatulence joke was coming…

    btw Liz, Do Not click on my link as it goes to my new “small office …” blog. 😉

  2. says

    Okay, Martin,
    I’m laughing too hard to click your link, and besides I’m totally confused. I thought you said it was small business media blog. Now it says small business lists.

    Project is over. Time to do the prototype.


    PS. I had my husband click the link. :)

  3. says

    errr Liz … one can own more than one domain 😉

    SmallOfficeMedia.com is alive and kicking
    SmallOfficeLists.com is the newie
    and there are other SmallOffice… blogs/sites coming.

    Just between you and me, Liz: I’m trying to capture the “small Office___ .com” market of the blogosphere

  4. says

    Martin, I know that you can own more than one domain . . . but aren’t you the guy who was er . .. backing off of blogging just ah. . . . few short weeks ago???

    How about smallofficeoffices.com?


  5. says

    Thinking of the wrong guy, Liz :-)

    No, you’re right. I have backed off blogging. Blogging as in writing fresh content day-in, day-out, chasing the links etc.,

    But the way I’m trying to see it is that now I’m not really blogging but using blogging as my publishing platform, if you know what I mean.

    I tend to see WP (what’s behind the blog) simply as a CMS (God how hard it is to hack WP to do what you really want it to do!!!)

    So these days, the way I’ve set up my new sites, I’m “blogging” say 1 hour a day and spend more time learning the advertising game (no real point in blogging without making any dough or having no monetization plans) – of course, that’s after I finish each day with my outside gig.

    smallofficeoffices.com – now you’re making fun of moi

  6. says

    I’ve quit chasing links too. I’ve decide everything is like dating. I’ll let them chase me . . .

    I agree about WP, I just had a stinky time trying to figure out the smallest thing, and I’m tenacious about winning against the machine.

    I like the hour a day plan that gets you blogging for fun and some cash. I also like your new site where I didn’t click, but left a comment.

    Smallofficeoffice.com could be a team blog where lots of folks write. That’ would be cool.


  7. says

    “let them chase me” – I think we’re both starting to get it. I like the organic approach to blogging – not the try hards. If you keep shwoing up with the goods it’ll happen.

    WP – I’m like you. I pretty much stink at tinkering with it but I can stubbornly spend hours trying to tweak the most mundane of things. I won’t let it beat me even though the count is probably 15 to 3 in favour of WP (I’ve hacked up blogs so badly at times I had to re-install them again). And don’t get me started on the Firefox / IE differences!!!

    The hour-a-Day Plan – best thing I’ve done (in a financial and personal sense). And thanks for the comment, there’s a response over there.

    SmallOfficeOffice.com – Hmmm, sounds like way too much work and effort involved – I’ll delegate it to you :-)

  8. says

    We could just be proving to be a good influence on each other. Whoa. There’s an idea.

    I’m never far from my original template when I’m tinkering with the code. That’ doesn’t stop me. I just wish WP had an undo key. Life would be so much easier. . . .

    I’ll delegate the smallofficeoffice thing to my smallofficeoffice people and have them get to your smallofficeoffice people.

    I need to rush out and see what the response was to my comment over there.

    I’ll be back shortly.

    Have a cold one on me. :)

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