I saw this WORLD CLASS post on LinkedIn today about a marketing campaign gone very very wrong. This particular brand of chocolate milk wanted to print random codes on their bottles, those codes being made up of three numbers, four letters, three numbers.
Guess what. The first complaint was from a mother who’s child had come up to her and showed her that the random arrangement of letters spelt out fuck. When they changed, 200,000 said fuck, and another 200,000 had some something worse.
There’s a phrase in software engineering that goes “software is hard”, and it’s this sort of thing. Most software engineers would know not to use the whole alphabet – dropping F, C, and T gets rid of most of the problems – but in this case it appears no one thought of it.
Software is like building castles in the sky with your mind, and that’s great because it’s incredible creative, but creates a veritable petri dish of unintended consequences. The solution – make sure you get the best advice you can * AND THEN SAY SOMETHING ELSE