SCOTTSDALE, AZ—While attending the lip-balm industry's largest annual conference, Blistex marketing executive Bernard Ganley committed a number of embarrassing social gaffes, breached several codes of conduct, and generally acted in a manner unbefitting a major lip-balm company representative, sources reported Thursday.
Ganley, who was sent to the four-day conference to launch Blistex's new lip moisturizer, first humiliated himself Monday morning when he failed to remember what the signature product was called. By the end of the week, the 62-year-old executive had made a dozen more blunders, including walking straight past an important regional wholesaler, stumbling over basic industry terminology, and suggesting that applicator tips were a "thing of the past."
"Bernard should have been honored to be part of such an esteemed event, but instead he makes a complete ass of himself," said conference attendee Donald L. Porter. "To say the things he did in front of ChapStick CEO Russell Morton, whose grandfather single-handedly built the lip-soothing industry—it's an atrocity."
"Asking if ChapStick ever tried adding mint to its medicated formula," Porter continued. "Is he out of his godforsaken mind?"
The national symposium, which took place at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center, was reportedly almost ruined by Ganley on a number of occasions. According to sources, the thoughtless executive threw away free samples right in front of vendors, asked horrified onlookers the difference between salve and balm, and alienated several Carmex distributors when he noted that the company was still using those "little white jars."
Many claimed the all-natural lip-care company Burt's Bees received the worst of Granley's insensitive remarks. Granley failed to recognize Burt's Bees CEO John Replogle and then overlooked the senior executive's outstretched hand after it was determined that the two of them had met several times before.
In addition, Granley offended Replogle when he told him that Burt's Bees' products tasted a lot better than he remembered.
"I understand that Blistex is one of the top three lip-balm manufacturers in the country, but who does he think he is acting so dismissive?" said Kiss My Face CFO Crystal Ward. "Burt's Bees is established now. You don't just brush them off. And you definitely don't go up to that table and not talk to Harriet."
"Jesus Christ," Ward continued. "You just don't do that."
Granley's competitors were not the only ones to feel the brunt of his inappropriate behavior. On Tuesday, the Blistex executive drew the scorn of his own company after incorrectly referring to its new sheer moisturizing solution as "ointment," and was nearly fired on the spot later that same day after suggesting that Blistex's flagship cherry flavor be discontinued—a move many called "unthinkable and highly offensive."
"You can't attack cherry flavor and expect to get away with it," said vice president of Blistex business development Steve Mundle. "This will get back to corporate, it'll get out to people. Heads are going to roll."
"This was supposed to be a breakthrough year for Blistex; we were supposed to be celebrating," Mundle added. "Instead. one loose cannon had to destroy everything we worked so hard to build."
Granley reportedly made his worst faux pas on the final night of the symposium, when he invited conventioneers up to his suite for the annual cocaine orgy, only to stand naked in front of the entire room and ask if anyone had brought Vaseline.