2012: Details continue to emerge on exactly how, and why, the cruise ship Costa Concordia crashed into a rock and capsized off the coast of Italy earlier this month. According to the New York Times, it seems that the ship’s captain has placed some of the blame on his employers, Carnival Cruise Lines, who he claims instructed him to swing by the shores of the Tuscan island resort as a publicity stunt:
Captain Schettino said that executives of Costa Cruises had planned and requested the maneuver before the ship left Civitavecchia, its last port before the crash, for the publicity.
The newspaper La Repubblica quoted him as saying that Costa Cruises was aware of what he said was a “recurring practice” of approaching coastlines to show off the boat and salute those ashore.
Costa Cruises said in its statement that its rules allowed the ship’s captain to make “touristic navigation five miles off the coast.” The company did not respond to questions about the policy or the captain’s reported statements.
1926: This wouldn’t be the first time a company’s aggressive marketing efforts have brought harm to their potential target demographic. In 1926, the New York Times reported that a Berlin candy company had tried a less than subtle approach to drum up sales for their hard chocolates:
Chocolate bombs dropped from airplanes as an advertising stunt by a Berlin candy company have bruised so many pedestrians that the police have halted the sweet bombardment.
The company had been sending up two planes on Sundays. Every park, beer garden or street in which the fliers chanced to spot a crowd was bombarded with hard chocolates, wrapped in heavy foil, from an altitude of about 100 feet.
The aerial gifts were particularly objectionable to bald-headed men, whose custom it is to stroll with heads uncovered on the theory that the sun's rays stimulate the growth of hair. Mothers complained that children fighting for the prizes ruined their Sunday clothes.
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