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Circuit City: What, me no laugh at parody?

MAD Magazine gets the last laugh now that Circuit City has apologized for telling employees to destroy copies of the August issue, which contains a parody of the retailer's advertising.

MAD magazine parody
MAD Magazine

MAD Magazine is getting the last laugh now that Circuit City has issued a mea culpa for telling employees to destroy issues of MAD that contain a parody of the retailer's advertising.

The Consumerist pointed us to a copy of a letter of it received from a Circuit City corporate communicator after the site wrote about the alleged search-and-destroy mission. In the letter, Circuit City apologizes for its "knee-jerk reaction," and says its has issued a retraction order and directed affected stores to put the magazines back on sale.

The magazine's August issue contains a (pretty darn amusing) four-page "Sucker City" circular with announcements like: "Believe it or not, $3,599.99 is the sale price," and "Wii Gaming System Guaranteed In Stock...if you're friends with an employee who hid it in the back for you. Otherwise, oh, sorry, all sold out." Sucker City also sells products including a self-editing Web cam that "stops embarrassing YouTube videos before they're made."

The good news is that at least one member of Circuit City's PR team appears to appreciate the value of a good ribbing--or at least appreciate the value of pretending to have a sense of humor. This is the letter:

Hi, Ben,

I spotted the article about Circuit City and MAD Magazine on your site. fyi, I became aware of this "situation" only this morning, and I have sent a note today to the Editors of MAD Magazine.

Speaking as "an embarrassed corporate PR Guy," I apologized for the fact that some overly-sensitive souls at our corporate headquarters ordered the removal of the August issue of MAD Magazine from our stores. Please keep in mind that only 40 of our 700 stores sell magazines at all.

The parody of our newspaper ad in the August MAD was very clever. Most of us at Circuit City share a rich sense of humor and irony...but there are occasional temporary lapses.

We apologize for the knee-jerk reaction, and have issued a retraction order; the affected stores are being directed to put the magazines back on sale.

As a gesture of our apology and deep respect for the folks at MAD Magazine, we are creating a cross-departmental task force to study the importance of humor in the corporate workplace and expect the resulting Powerpoint presentation to top out at least 300 pages, chock full of charts, graphs and company action plans. In addition I have offered to send the MAD Magazine Editor a $20.00 Circuit City Gift Card, toward the purchase of a Nintendo Wii....if he can find one!

All the best,
Jim Babb
Corporate Communications
Circuit City Stores, Inc.
Richmond, VA

Now, we're just wondering how Steve Jobs feels about the magazine's "Calvin and Jobs" comic strip.