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Sunday 17 May 2020

Tear gas ice cream? When a marketing idea becomes a brain fart

It is marketing 101: Have a point of difference and a story to tell.

A Hong Kong ice cream shop came up with what it thought was a brilliant marketing idea, adding tear gas to its range of flavours.

The main ingredient of this particular ice cream is black peppercorns, a reminder of the pungent, peppery rounds fired by pro-Chinese police on the streets of Hong Kong fairly recently in face of democracy protests. 

“It tastes like tear gas. It feels difficult to breathe at first, and it’s really pungent and irritating. It makes me want to drink a lot of water immediately,” customer Anita Wong, who experienced tear gas at a protest, told the Associated Press wire service. 

“I think it’s a flashback that reminds me of how painful I felt in the movement, and that I shouldn’t forget.”

First of all, who wants to taste or smell anything like tear gas other than as a one-off novelty? 

And secondly it is hard to image Hong Kong Tourism operatives, desperate to restore the region's image, find anything favourable about this type of publicity. 

Thirdly, the shops owner asked that his name - and that of his store - not be revealed for fear of reprisals. Which makes it pointless. Fail.   

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