Monday, September 11, 2006

Jokesters unmasked

Regular readers know that we at Nation’s Restaurant News have been trying to deduce who’s been lampooning us—admittedly gently—in an irregularly published electronic newsletter called Food Channel Month Daily (“Fake Insights for Restaurant Executives.”) As gumshoes, we’re not fit to carry Columbo’s raincoat (explanation for younger readers: He was a popular TV detective back in the days before every cop show started with “CSI” or “Law & Order.” We’d watch it on the Philco after parking the DeSoto and slipping off our spats).

We couldn’t figure out who the jokesters were, but this is a good time for apologies to my friend Bill and the others we suspected. Though, truth be told, they should be flattered we adjudged them capable of chicanery of that league. FCMD made us laugh, sometimes loudly, and we can be as mirthless and cynical as tax collectors.

But the Zoros who’d been good-naturedly jabbing us have taken off their masks at last. Turns out the satire was the brain discharge of an off-beat ad agency called G&M Plumbing, best known for the “Dan” campaign it developed for Del Taco. In a note you can read for yourself at, the daffy lot acknowledged they were hoping to snag some publicity and thereby land a customer or two in the restaurant field.

As you can imagine, parties of all sorts are constantly trying to con, cajole or blackmail us into giving them coverage. Usually, the very attempt leaves us all huffy (see our Food Writer’s Diary blog, written by my colleague Bret Thorn, for tips on how not to write a press release or otherwise pitch us).

But in this case, it doesn’t feel so bad. If you’re going to fall victim to viral marketing, it’s best to go down laughing.

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