Stay Tuned/27 April 1997

From Eccentric Flower


stay tuned

27 April 1997
(Sunday Papers)

Another slow week, but I managed to find a few things to gripe about. When do we start getting the summer barbeque ads?

Milk and Potatoes

The first good advertising circular I picked up this weekend was mostly cosponsored by the milk people. You know, the milk people. The "Got Milk?" people. All that jazz. Don't they have a real name, you ask? Sure: the National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board. Catchy, huh? Now you know why they keep it in the small print.

This is one of the rare cases where you have national ad/slogan recognition (and awards galore, if you follow that kind of thing) without an actual brand name. No specific brand of milk is ever indicated in their ads. That would make their member companies very unhappy.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, the front of the circular was basically "things that go great with milk" - a tableful of assorted products, all of which were advertised inside. The logistics of getting all these food companies to sign off on this must have been astounding.

Some of the products, mind you, were stretching it a little. I mean, Idaho Potatoes (another non-branded promotional group! Two in one day!) with milk? Maybe milk in my mashed potatoes, but somehow milk is not what I reach for to accompany my french fries.

I do have to allow, of course, that the otherworldly presence of the Potato Buddy doll may have colored my opinion in the matter.


The Continuing Cereal

Various folks have all noted the debut of Kellogg's Cocoa Frosted Flakes and have wondered if I'm going to comment on it. I am not. I posted the URL last week in the URL Watch [see comments at bottom], and you can take a look at the site and draw your own conclusions. I have drawn mine: this is a singularly vile idea for a cereal. But I don't really think I'm the target market.

Gender Issues

You know, I don't generally wax political on the matter of gender. I have my own agenda and it doesn't seem to correspond with anyone else's in the universe, so I've given up discussing it. But may I say a word or two about deodorants?

With the obvious exception of a certain category of feminine product which has already been discussed to death in these pages, most distinctions between male and female lines in "personal care products" are pointless. Take deodorant. The scent in deodorant is nearly undetectable when worn, and you don't really need perfume in your deodorant anyway. (You don't need aluminum in your deodorant either, but that's another story.) The only factors which should determine the deodorant you purchase are its strength, its price, and whether you think it's slimy when you put it under your arms.

If you're a guy and the deodorant you favor happens to be honeysuckle rose, put it on; no one will be able to tell by the time you get to the subway anyhow. Contrariwise, if you're a gal and you favor something Brut-y or Old Spice-y, who gives a damn? Think of it as a small but nonetheless courageous step toward subverting traditional gender roles if you like.

It's just frivolous line extension and a lot of people are falling for it.


Oh, and speaking of gender, can anyone tell me what sex this curious hand is? It has a male heel and thumb, but the fingernails are a little too long for most men (and they've been buffed and glossed within an inch of their lives). The coat sleeve makes me want to think male, but the cloth-covered shirt button is strictly female.

I'm not sure whether I should congratulate these people or slap them.

Kitty Snob

Just in time. I was getting anxious for a good snob appeal ad; hadn't seen one in weeks. Fortunately Fancy Feast rolls out one of their ads every few months.

What's bizarre about this product is that it really does look like the stuff displayed in the dish. (Not counting the crystal goblet.) I don't expect kitty food to look like little chunks of meat.

Nor, for that matter, do my cats.

Troping the Text

Two or three random textual items:

An ad which contains a pair of eyes superimposed over a field of wildflowers. The complete text, exactly as it appears:

Block your eyes
allergic reaction.

I try to not be overly nasty about those apostrophes, but here I'm genuinely mystified. Do they mean "Block your eyes' allergic reaction"? Or is it "Block your eyes from allergic reaction"?

Next, Mazola offers the following "grill tip" (emphasis theirs):

"To help keep foods from sticking and to make clean up easy, spray your cold, unlit grill with Mazola No Stick."

Wouldn't want to be spraying those aerosols on a lit grill and having some eyebrow-less consumer sue us, now would we?

Strange Bedfellows: Glade aerosols are sponsoring the tour of ... ah, go on, take a guess ... of Ringo Starr (and his All-Starr Band). I'm not sure which party this reflects more poorly on, but if you send in 2 proofs-of-purchase and 4 bucks, you can get a CD which has exactly one Ringo track on it. Makes sense to me ....

And finally: Those wacky folks at I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! want you to "Send Mom a Talking Bouquet!" Yup, you call their 800 number, prove you bought some product, and record a message for Mom. Then give them your credit card number, natch (they're not giving these bouquets away, silly). When Mom gets the bouquet,there's a number on the card for her to call. She hears your recorded message. Then she calls you and asks, "What controlled substances were you taking when you got that idea?"

Seriously, I hate to sound like the long-distance companies, but on Mother's Day, you could at least call the woman and give her the message in person. And maybe send a better bouquet, too, because the one in this ad is some kinda ugly.

Hindsight: 21 February 2007

Some people thought I was making the Potato Buddy doll up. I wasn't.

The URL Watch no longer exists, but in this case it's not germane anymore anyway, because an inspection of the Kellogg's site shows no trace of Cocoa Frosted Flakes. It's just as well; they really did look horrific. Like something normally seen going out of your body rather than coming in.

As these columns progress, you'll notice that Fancy Feast just keeps making more and more disgusting cat foods. After about the third item, I eventually declared a moratorium on Fancy Feast items. Too easy a target.

The reason the "looks like human food" appeal especially bothers me is that, as I point out later, your pets don't care. They're only interested in the smell and the taste. The fancy presentation is intended to get you, the human, to spend an extra fifty cents a can on the stuff.

"Troping the text" means to read or hear the text erroneously so as to get an unintended meaning out of it. Kids do this a lot: that famous Nativity figure, Round John Virgin (he's mentioned by name in "Silent Night"), is a classic example of a trope.

and now back to our program

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