OMG. Justin Bieber is totally jumping on the planking/owling bandwagon with something totally new called cone-ing. Or he's jumping the shark. Or something. It's hard to tell exactly what the point is of the bit of tomfoolery that 's going on in the below video in which he purchases a Frosty from Wendy's and then tries to return it to Burger King. But one thing is certain: He comes off looking like a jerk.
Before I make a federal case out of this, let me say this: Yes, I understand that Bieber is a teenage boy and teenage boys are often jerks. I was a teenage boy once -- and often descend into jerkery as an adult. I did my fair share of pranks. Pranks by their very nature are a bit cruel. Back in the days before Caller ID, we'd gather around the phone and torture unsuspecting geriatrics and small-business owners with strange requests.
But there are a few key differences between Bieber and us.
Firstly, we didn't have video technology with which to share our hilarity. Note to Bieber and friends: What's funny to a small group can look even more cruel when shared with thousands. The targets of the prank might not find it so hilarious. And some people might get a little worked up that a really rich kid is having sport with people just trying to get through a shift at the local fast-food joint.
Secondly, neither my friends nor I had millions upon millions of teen and tween girls -- and their parents -- watching our every move. Many of these children will think this is awesome, which will upset their parents. Some of these children may be sensitive and think this is cruel, which will upset their parents.
Thirdly, we didn't have multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals with various marketers -- the sort of marketers that might frown upon a spokesperson of theirs mocking the employees of other marketers.
For the above reasons -- or others I haven't even thought of -- I expect that young Bieber will be offering some sort of mealy-mouthed apology in the upcoming days. It's just unseemly and bad for the Bieber brand.
Though I guess we should thank Bieber for answering one burning question. Can there possibly be a "trend" even stupider than planking? Yes. Yes there can.
Hear from Fortune 500 brands that have been forced to pivot as consumer preferences evolve, as well as entrepreneurs building brands from scratch to meet new consumer needs. This event peels apart the layers of brand building with a carefully crafted roster of top marketing, technology, and creative leaders.Learn more