September 29, 2005

That Will Do, Jeeves

From Stefan Beck at the New Criterion comes this forehead-slapping item about the fate of the the icon pirated from P.G. Wodehouse:

Citing "user confusion" over what the butler character represents the search site has said that Jeeves will soon be phased out.

There is no firm date for when the character will disappear from the Ask site, but it will soon stop being the brand's most prominent icon.

No decision has been made about a new name for the Ask search site.

I'm of two minds about this. The use of Jeeves to begin with (and by the way, he's not a butler, goddamit, he's a "Gentleman's Personal Gentleman") has always rankled with me. On the other hand, this looks like a cut-and-run strategy in the face of pure cultural Philistinism, so I'm not altogether sure it's such a good thing. I'd have been far happier if the retirement had come about as a result of simple late-blooming respect for the character and his author.

On the whole, it's probably best just to let Jeeves go quietly and come up with an icon more on the level of the people who apparently are having trouble with him. Might I suggest Paris Hilton, instead? Every time someone enters a search request, a little image of her could pop up and say, "That's hot!"

Posted by Robert at September 29, 2005 05:58 PM | TrackBack

Hey, first the despicable IFC bites the dust and now this. Itís a good, good dayÖ

In fairness to the marketing geniuses at Ask [Your Name Here!], this was a lose-lose proposition from the start. People who understood the reference were offended, while those who didnít were confused, as they are by so many things. Just a bad idea all around, but then I suspect the people behind this campaign would be considered a bit thick by the gentlemen at the Drones Club.

I have no idea what theyíll come up with thatís vulgar enough to be universally understood and bland enough to give no one offense, but itís probably going to be pretty awful. Luckily, I wonít care, as long as they stop pestering Jeeves and let him return to his extended shrimping holiday.

Posted by: utron at September 29, 2005 06:36 PM

Wait a minute...wasn't he a balloon in the last Macy's parade?

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