Stay Tuned/Stir-Fried Random

From Eccentric Flower


stay tuned

Stir-Fried Random
18 June 2007

I have a backlog of material and a shortfall of ertia, as is typical for days when the weather is hot and the hours are long. In the absence of any sort of theme I'm just going to grab a few items from the stack. At least this will reduce the pile a little.

Tic Tac ad: "Can you hear that unmistakable rattle of the package?" I'm not completely sure about this, the mental filing system being what it is, but I believe this is the first time I have encountered a product meant for eating being pitched on the basis of its sound. All other methods of selling the product having been exhausted, apparently.

Soyjoy bars: These have a nice, bold, distinctive design and some relatively clean and forgettable TV ads, but mostly what strikes me is their print campaign, which has various improbable URLs, set off from any other copy by large amounts of space. The one I have in my files features The only problem is that these URLs are fake! C'mon, Soyjoy; a few extra bucks to the registrar and your campaign could have had ever so much more oomph. There are some of us who do check these things, you know.

Hillshire Farm Entree Salads: Hillshire Farm (Sara Lee) is not on my good list right now because of their "Go Meat!" ad campaign, which I believe is intended to be absurdist/ironic, but actually is just annoying. Another annoying thing are these pachages of chopped meats, stale croutons, and salad dressings to which one is expected to "Just add your favorite lettuce!". We've covered the "food for the lazy" rant adequately in recent weeks, what with the Case Of the Shrink-Wrapped Potato and the Mysterious Affair Of the Sandwich Kit, so I'll spare you and we can just take it as read.

Red Baron pizzalike objects, as well as some of Schwan's other brands: "Enter to WIN a Private Concert with Julie Roberts." I love when I read something like this and my first response is "Who?" It inevitably means I am about to learn something about the kind of music that does the bulk of its sales at Wal-Marts. Yes, I'm aware I am being snotty and blue-state-coastal-urban-priggish here, but I'm genuine about the lesson: If the advertiser expects that their audience will know who this person is, and I do not, then that's an important thing for me to know about the audience and the advertiser.

(It turns out Roberts is some sort of country singer, which is another reason I haven't heard of her; every time I find country music I like, someone tells me it's actually something else, leading me to conclude that the definition of "country" is now "a genre influenced by blues, bluegrass, regional Southern and Western, and folk music, but without all the good parts of those." And I digress. Anyway, so, she's a singer, and the contest is apparently still on until the end of June, in case you happen to like both Julie Roberts and Red Baron products.)

Simply Orange: The TV commercials work only because Donald Sutherland narrates them, which is good enough for me. As for the juice, it has, I think, a serious problem distinguishing itself from a crowded field. I'm not really convinced consumers buy OJ on any basis other than price and perhaps how much pulp is in it. Yes, Simply Orange makes a big fuss about how it is not this and not that, and that's fine, but there are plenty of past advertisers who will line up to say that you cannot make an effective campaign purely on which of your competitors' bad traits you don't have. So far the best they have come up with to toot their own horn is the Orange Back Guarantee, which says that if you don't agree that Simply Orange "tastes as fresh as a juicy orange," the company will buy you a bag of oranges. No one except a troublemaker is ever going to take that guarantee seriously.

Margaritaville brand frozen shrimp products: "Escape to a tropical aisle." Not a bad joke, as these things go. But then they step on their own punchline by adding, in smaller type and tragically lacking punctuation, "the frozen seafood aisle that is." Memo to consumers: The makers of these products think you are too stupid to live.

Carnation evaporated milk: Now billing itself in ads-with-recipes as "The Cooking Milk." Let's brush that reality-distortion aside, and instead concentrate on why they have chosen this bizarre pitch. My current theory - and I welcome better ones - is that it has to do with grease. I think someone has noticed that consumers who will not drink whole milk, nor put cream in their coffee, will nonetheless stir a fair bit of the good stuff into a recipe. In other words, what is unacceptable to some as a beverage is acceptable as an ingredient. Now, mind you, nobody's drinking evap. milk as a beverage these days (despite the original purpose of the product, way back when), but, as I say, I'm at a loss for a better theory.

Finally, just for a change of pace, a non-food item:

Introducing from K-Y products: "New TINGLING Sensation." Yes, you may choose from among New Tingling Jelly Personal Lubricant, Touch Massage 2-In-1 Tingling Body Massage and Personal Lubricant, and Sensual Silk Personal Lubricant, which has, shyly, down at the bottom of its label, added the word "Tingling."

I applaud McNeil-PPC's willingness to walk the frontier, and of course I am always in favor of anything that leads to a greater national spirit of getting-it-ondom, but I can't help wondering if there's a domestic engineer somewhere in a kitchen in Tulsa who keeled over in a dead faint when she got to that ad that week.

and now back to our program

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