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Tamar’s Friday #FailureToLaunch #5 – “Siri, what is MC Hammer on?”

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
21 October 2011

It’s been another good week for online/marketing failures, so as ever we’ve been able to gather together some of the best examples for you – perfect reading for a chilly Friday afternoon! Enjoy…

“Sorry, I can’t do that Dave…”

Now that the Apple 4s has been released to the public, thousands of people have had the chance to play around with it’s flag-ship new feature – the faux-AI personal assistant ‘Siri’. Reviews have generally been positive – the idea of a (good) voice-recognition assistant has a lot of people very excited, so I suspect a lot of them are keen to see it succeed. But just as Siri has been impressing gadget-lovers the world over, examples of it’s weak spots have already begun to surface…

We’ve greatly been enjoying the site “Sh!t That Siri Says” over the past few weeks, but as this article from CNN demonstrates, Siri actually fails at a number of quite simple commands:

“For example, the voice-command service refuses to launch applications. (“I can’t do that for you, Mark. I’m sorry to let you down.”) The iPhone 4S has an improved camera and a button on the lock screen to quickly access it, but Siri is not a photographer. (“I can’t take your pictures for you.”) Twitter is embedded in the new version of Apple’s mobile software, but ask Siri to tweet, and it says, “Sorry Mark, I can’t help you with Twitter.””

It looks like the novelty of Siri may quickly. But to provide a bit of balance, here’s a very nice video showing some of the things Siri CAN do…

Ricky Gervais is a bit of a twit

Having only recently re-joined Twitter (“”), Ricky Gervais is already sparking controversy with his use of offensive terms in his tweets. As the BBC explain:

Ricky Gervais has been criticised by disability groups for repeated use of the word “mong” on his Twitter feed. The comedian’s recent tweets have included phrases like “Good monging everyone”, “Night night monglets” and “Two mongs don’t make a right”. The word is sometimes used offensively about people with Down’s Syndrome. Mencap said using it could reinforce prejudice but Gervais insists the word has changed meaning and that he never meant to refer to people with Down’s.

Whilst we don’t want to wade in to the argument – for fear of getting abused by Gervais’s many followers (some of whom clearly don’t understand Gervais’s argument that the term is no longer used in a disability sense) – we will say this:

Gervais has a history of getting publicity by criticising or teasing a variety of people, and whilst he seems to occasionally be contrite about this current incident (particularly in interviews – all of which he uses to promote his upcoming TV show “Life’s Too Short”…!) he seems to have failed to appreciate that, whilst he might be trying to “reclaim” the word, most of his followers are happily bandying it around in it’s original context. A bit of a #FAIL by Gervais in our opinion…

Colonel Gaddafi

As has become the norm when a public figure dies these days, Twitter went in to joke melt-down this week after it was announced that Libya’s much-hated leader Colonel Gaddafi had been killed.

Whilst we’re not going to repeat any of the jokes here, we will highlight the Huffington Post as one place that showcased a few of the cleverest.

We’ve not spotted any corporate tweets cashing-in on his death yet (see last week’s Failure to Launch for some classics) though it’s surely only going to be a matter of time…

STOP! Searchin’ time…

We were amused to learn the news this week that MC Hammer has set up his own search engine – the weirdly named Wiredoo. Hammer “launched” the engine Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco – a conference attended by all of Google’s top brass. Rumours that Sergei Brin ran around the room pointing to his Google shirt screaming “You can’t touch this!” are so-far unconfirmed…

Here’s what Hammer had to say about his work:

“‘It’s not an attempt to reinvent search. You can always make things better.”

Sadly, the site isn’t live yet – though it’s evident from the logo in the holding page below that the branding is being done by a 13 year old… in 1997. Good luck, Hammer!




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