Monday, May 9, 2016

I'm Positive This Is Negative

Last week, New York based company Mately got in hot water when they used long-time Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie in an advertisement without permission.

Mately is a startup company that specializes in mail-away test kits for HIV and other STDs. The ad in question shows Bert and Ernie apparently looking over their own test results before engaging in some good old fashioned healthy anal sex.

Jesus Jetskiing Christ!

In the ad, a smug looking Bert is presumably showing his test results to a concerned Ernie, who's apparently worried his life partner is riddled with sexually transmitted diseases. Bert proudly exclaims, "See Ernie, you've got nothing to worry about, everything is positive!"

Whaaa??? That doesn't make any goddamned sense. In the medical world, "positive" means the condition being tested for was found in the patient. So if Bert was getting tested for HIV, then a positive result means he has it. Which seems like Ernie would actually have plenty to worry about. 

If Bert is trying to be optimistic here and let Ernie know that he's clean, then he used a very poor choice of words. Did anyone proofread this ad before they uploaded it?

Needless to say, Sesame Workshop, who produces Sesame Street and owns the various characters on the show, were not happy. Spokesmen for Sesame Workshop claimed the ad campaign was an "unauthorized, unlicensed use of our characters" and sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mately. The ad has since been pulled from the Mately website and social media pages. 

Mately "CEO" Brandon Greenberg quickly issued an apology, stating, "We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone or if any images were use inappropriately... This was by no means part of an advertising campaign intended to tarnish the Sesame Street brand.”

Well of course you didn't intend to tarnish the Sesame Street brand. How could the fact that you implied that a puppet on a beloved children's program may be riddled with AIDS possibly harm the brand?

This whole ad kerfuffle could end up torpedoing Mately's business plans. They're attempting to fund the startup through an Indiegogo campaign, whatever the hell that is. They need to raise $500,000, but as of last week have only managed to scrape together an embarrassing $3,859 (with two months to go). Gosh, who'd have thought people wouldn't want to test themselves for STDs in the privacy of their own bathrooms?

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