A couple of days ago, I got the following fast-casual promotional flyer in the mail:

One thing that I immediately noted (and commented on) was their copy: a bold call. (For a bold burrito?) By way of example, at Panic we try to generally err on the side of marketing caution — the world is full of many viewpoints, and we don't want to alienate — but even so, we once got an e-mail from a customer upset at our web-use of the term "kick-ass". Noted.

Today we headed to Baja Fresh to try out this magic new Diablorito. When we got there, though, the marketing had changed just ever-so-slightly...

Fantastic! "Uhh some stuff and also some things and don't worry about it also.. A LOT!"

The menu board featured an even more elaborate correction: an entire adhesive panel to replace the previous text.

Well played.

I'm a long-standing fan of sticker-fixes. Why pay to print an entirely new, corrected piece, when you can roll out old-school instantly hot-swappable physical bug fixes to every client using your distributed workforce? If I see a sticker-fix on packaging I will always, always peel it back to see what it was in the first place — it's usually insightful to see what gets changed and why. My previous favorite was a gaming peripheral that secretly revealed an entire back-of-a-box filled with 100% hilarious bad-English, but I think I have a new winner here...

El Diablo indeed!

Talking Point: do you think it would have remained unchanged/uncomplained if they had used "helluva" instead?


H - E - double hockeysticks! For a moment I was confused about double-toothpicks. Maybe it's a regional thing. Like the saying "Lead us not into Penn Station."
Blogger Sedgwick Coleus 9/14/2007 11:40 AM  
But, how was the burrito?
Anonymous Anonymous 9/14/2007 12:02 PM  
Not very good. Certainly not "devilishly good". Packed full of shrimp, though. This much is true.
Blogger Cabel 9/14/2007 12:11 PM  
Man, you just killed so many baby angels with this post.
Blogger Phil 9/14/2007 12:35 PM  
Hahah... I think that "helluva" would have probably been more kosher, but I don't know. They should have stuck with it how it was.
Anonymous Tom 9/14/2007 12:39 PM  
Jesus, those Christians...
Blogger pauldwaite 9/14/2007 4:06 PM  
Just be glad you have Baja Fresh. They pulled up stakes and left Utah a few years ago. Up until then, I ate there at least once a week. I still try and hit one whenever I'm around one (in Seattle or California, usually).

Personally, I'm surprised they didn't just sticker over the double-L with "ck" to have "a heck of a lot." Or maybe just go with it and say "a shitload of shrimp!"
Anonymous gb 9/14/2007 4:17 PM  
To h-e-double-toothpicks with those whiny prudes. I say change the slogan to: "F**k, that's spicy!"
Blogger Nathan 9/14/2007 4:20 PM  
I too had to think about 'double toothpicks' - in Canada it's always h-e-double hockey-sticks. :)
Anonymous Lucien W. Dupont 9/14/2007 5:02 PM  
Let's just be thankful they didn't use "hella"
Anonymous Anonymous 9/14/2007 6:50 PM  
Cool pictures but your writting kind bad. Not I should of just looked at the pictures. Oh yeah it's a blog.
Anonymous Anonymous 9/14/2007 7:26 PM  
^^ Comment of the month nomination.
Blogger n0wak 9/14/2007 7:36 PM  
My favorite bit of stickerization is at Taco Del Mar. They have a menu that lists the types of burrito fillings (carne asada, shredded beef, chicken, etc).

One of the options used to be "Alaskan Cod". But now there's a sticker over it that says "Fish".
Blogger CM 9/14/2007 11:29 PM  
I wonder if Hell Pizza from New Zealand would get off the ground in the US:

They've had some interesting marketing concepts like giving away free condoms with pizza (why!?).
Anonymous Anonymous 9/15/2007 12:15 AM  
Why change it at all? I'm interested in hearing about the consequences of not changing the supposedly offensive text. What was the nature of the complaint you got about "kick-ass?" Was it a threat?

And, to anonymous, regarding the condoms: I think condoms should be given out with _every_ fast food purchase, and I'm completely serious. Think about it. If condoms were as ubiquitous in kitchen cabinets and glove compartments as napkins and ketchup packets, there would be a lot fewer STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
Anonymous Matt 9/15/2007 1:11 AM  
That's their less-worrying catchphrase? Really? "Packed" with the devil?
Anonymous Anonymous 9/15/2007 7:08 AM  
If it wasn't for the shrimp, Jesus would have totally eaten that burrito.
Anonymous Anonymous 9/15/2007 12:49 PM  
Tonite we dine in hell [Laugh-Out-Loud Cats]
Blogger Sedgwick Coleus 9/17/2007 7:16 AM  
I grew up eating Helluva Good Cheese in upstate NY. I swear there used to be two "l"s in the name, but I might be mistaken.
Anonymous Anonymous 9/17/2007 1:45 PM  
I love sticker fixes too, My favorite was the sticker put on the Quark 7 box covering the Universal logo, when the product shipped it wasn't actually intel ready :P
Anonymous Ben Gold 9/18/2007 1:56 PM  
Lmao, Baja Fresh made me throw up one time- I don't eat there any more. Instead, I'm ALL CHIPOTLE. :-D What can I say? The guac's addicting. :-)

And Cabel, when are ya gonna get an entry on your website about the new iPods? I remembered the awesome reviews you did for Nintendo DS Lite. Don't dissapoint your fans! *PEER PRESSURE... UHH... I mean... ONLINE-PERSON-THAT-YOU-DON'T-KNOW PRESSURE!* :-D

Anonymous Anonymous 9/18/2007 2:01 PM  
lol it's worse here in england
Anonymous Anonymous 9/21/2007 3:43 AM  
Why do they feel they have to take out 'hell' but 'devilishly' is OK..? The devil reference doesn't even make sense without it being 'a hell of a lot'.
They should change it to "a big gurrito and biggishly good"
Anonymous Anonymous 9/22/2007 6:22 AM  
Best. Weblog. Ever.
Anonymous Anonymous 9/27/2007 12:43 PM  
Reminds me of the time Los Angeles was papered with oddly conspicuous sticker-fixes on every billboard for the movie Just Like Heaven. Someone must have decided the tag line "It's a wonderful afterlife" was too spiritual (or too copyright-infringey) so they slapped on a sticker reading "No one can see her the way he does" or something like that.

When the marketing department can't even decide why I want to see a movie, I give up trying.
Blogger Jameson 9/28/2007 8:55 AM  
I have to say, the first thing I thought of was mad-libbing that black bar. And my mind substituted,

"You'll fart" A Lot
& Devilishly Good!
Anonymous Anonymous 10/03/2007 8:51 PM  
In today's ultra-PC society here, I was really shocked to see the word "Hell" being used in signage by a major chain. I even took a picture of it when I was in there. Now I wonder if my local Baja Fresh has also sticker-fixed the offending word...
Blogger Lee 10/04/2007 11:21 AM  
I just visited the Baja Fresh near my office today (Foster City, CA), and the display is untouched on the menu board, in all its double-toothpick-adorned glory :) I guess they didn't get the memo.
Anonymous Steve Cochrane 10/10/2007 9:23 PM  
I remember being at a theater once when Men In Black II came out. This theater had received a bunch of promo stuff for MIBII, and had plastered it everywhere - without reading it, apparently. Instead of a zillion posters with the movie's tagline, "Same planet, new scum," they'd covered the walls with posters that read "Same planet, new...", well, let's just say somebody forgot to write the S in "scum." They were up for a surprisingly long time before being blacked out.
Anonymous Kevin 10/12/2007 2:06 PM  
My friend's portfolio/blog is called Bad Ass Ideas and a more senior designer won't visit it because of this, no matter how many times she tries to send him the link. Do you think it's a generational thing?
OpenID yellohsub 1/14/2008 7:47 PM  

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Name:Cabel Maxfield Sasser
Job:Co-Founder, Panic Inc.
Location:Portland, OR