Boners BBQ: A Study In How To Hate Your Customer

January 17th, 2012 | Matt LaCasse | 21 Comments

BonersBBQ, Bad PR, Bad Social Media, Bad Everything

This isn’t going to be another deconstruction of the awful PR and social media job done by Boners BBQ in Atlanta recently. There are hundreds of those out there (though Unmarketing’s take is among the best).

This is going to be a “How to ensure your business never gets off the ground” kind of post.

The first step? Have a terrible looking website that advertises a secondary slogan so juvenile and childish that it is difficult to find it offensive.

There are plenty of examples of entities with edgier themes out there. Hooters, every single professional sports team that employees cheerleaders, you name it. Sex sells in our culture.

“A little South in your Mouth” with a girl riding a rocketship? Not big on subtlety, are we? And that’s fine, even if more than a little tacky.

It’s the BACK of the shirt that baffles me (the image on the right). Not I, nor anyone I know, would wear a shirt like that for any amount of time in public.

And that’s the whole reason why you MAKE shirts for your business in the first place, right? Cheap and easy word of mouth marketing?

The problem here is not someone unsavvy in PR or social media. The problem here is a business that has been started that never had the intention of succeeding. Boners BBQ was built to fail.

When your entire “atmosphere” is based on hating people, you’ll never win over enough customers to keep yourself profitable. There’s something to be said for being yourself, and you absolutely should.

However. If “yourself” is someone that publicly ridicules people for valid opinions you happen to disagree with, and using slogans about prostitution on your t-shirts, it may be time to re-evaluate “yourself.”

You succeed in business by getting people to spend money with you. If no one is coming to eat at your restaurant, or seeking out your services, you are going to fail.

You can indeed target a niche audience, and smart start-ups DO, but when that niche is one of hate, insults, stupidity and laziness, I have a hard time forecasting success.

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Matt LaCasse

Matt LaCasse

Social Media Account Manager at KimberMedia
Matt LaCasse believes that finding the methods and channels customers and audiences use, and engaging with them in their comfort zone, is the key to effectively communicating with those groups on behalf of clients. He does social media management for  KimberMedia and teaches for  @bgckids. He is a husband, Iowa Hawkeyes and Chicago Cubs fan. He may, or may not, use humor as a defensive mechanism. He also blogs.
Matt LaCasse
Matt LaCasse

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21 comments
jenzings
jenzings

Just catching up on my feeds--busy week--and just have to say that t-shirt is stunningly awful.

The most depressing thing out of all of this is the owner of this..."restaurant"...has managed to turn this controversy into a publicity win for him. If you check out Ken Mueller's comment on Gini's post about this situation ( http://fyre.it/Imr ), apparently a few local radio stations are now supporting him.

Thoroughly discouraging.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Sounds like recent high school drop outs started the business Matt. Great analysis!

But I wish to pose a unique question to you. What if the food was just so good people will come no matter what? Do you still think they will fail or possibly just underachieve?

sanjivapersad
sanjivapersad

The irony here is that Boners are doing so many things right. They've sought out mentions of themselves on other websites and social networks. They're engaging with people (in a manner of speaking), and they've been very open and communicative about an ongoing controversy instead of just sweeping it under a proverbial rug. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up commenting on this post.

Of course, that's all buried under the rampant sexism, misogyny, and complete disregard for the customer.

MattLaCasse
MattLaCasse

@HowieG If your product is out of this world stellar, you can probably get away with being a misogynistic poophead. But you'll never make that jump to being a TRULY successful business. People will come to your restaurant in SPITE of it, not because they enjoy being there. So, I think you've nailed it. If you want to be a successful businessperson, at some level you have to be a successful people person.

laurenkgray
laurenkgray

@mattlacasse Not yet! Very motivated for PRSSA work, job hunting and filling out a lot of various applications :]

JustInTheSouth
JustInTheSouth

@bradhuss well they may be changing their name to the chick the verbally assaulted on the FB page. #WhoComesUpWithBusinessNames

mdbarber
mdbarber

@mattlacasse Great post. I liked the new angle. Tired of the bashing; yours was positive. Hope things are good with you.

MattLaCasse
MattLaCasse

@sanjivapersad You're absolutely right. They're doing SO much right, but when you can't get out of your own way, then it ends up not making a difference. You can do everything right, but when most people don't want to do business with you, it's still a recipe for disaster.

MattLaCasse
MattLaCasse

@laurenkgray Atta girl! You're so much better than I am. My senioritis set in the spring of my junior year. ;)

MattLaCasse
MattLaCasse

@mdbarber Thanks much! I'm doing well, just keeping busy, as always of course. How's the Great White North?

MattLaCasse
MattLaCasse

@mdbarber Yikes! And here I was upset about it being just below freezing this morning here in Missouri. My sincerest apologies.

mdbarber
mdbarber

@mattlacasse Busy here as well…and bitterly cold. Still -7 at the house at 11 AM. Just took some pix tho; incredibly pretty. Posting soon

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