Snide Remarks #108
by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Daily Herald on May 19, 2000
I consider myself to be at least as smart as the next guy (even smarter, if the next guy paid money to see "Battlefield Earth"), but I don't understand advertising.
Specifically, there are some particular advertising and marketing strategies that simply escape me. For example:
Movies at the video store that say "In Glorious Black & White" on the cover. Who do they think they're fooling? Do they think that attaching the word "glorious" to it somehow makes black and white better than color? Oh, sure, who needs the bright, vivid hues of real life when you can have the muted, ugly tones of Glorious Black & White?"
(Interesting fact about black-and-white movies: Humphrey Bogart is lucky to have worked during that era, because not only were people more accepting of tiny, huge-headed trolls in those days, but more importantly, he suffered from terminal jaundice. His skin was a bright, solar yellow all the time -- but you can't tell in the black-and-white movies.)
Cocoa Krispies. Well, I understand the concept of the cereal; it's Rice Krispies, but with brown-colored sugar added to make it unhealthy. What I don't get is the box. On it, there's a picture of a monkey. Not a cartoon monkey mascot, like Tony the Tiger or Toucan Sam, but an actual photograph of an actual monkey. What message are they trying to send here? Does the cereal TASTE like monkey? Is it made from monkeys? ("Cocoa Krispies: You can really taste the monkey!")
That guy on the Totally Awesome Computers commercials. Is this the most annoying man in the world, or what? I'm not really in the market for a new computer, but if I were, I would buy one somewhere else and then hit this guy in the head with it.
Granny B's cookies. There's a commercial for these in which a woman claiming to be Granny B extols the virtues of her various confectioneries. At one point she says, "One taste of my sugar cookies, and you'll be hooked!" Is the fact that you'll develop an addiction for a product really a good selling point? Is that what people want -- a compulsion, obsessive addiction to cookies?
Stores that take up half their parking lots with huge summer-oriented displays. What is the strategy here? Is ShopKo actually trying to prevent people from entering its own store by taking up the 50 best parking spaces with 12,000 potted plants that are presumably for sale? Even if you wanted to buy one, you'd have to just toss the money from your window as you drove past, because there's certainly no place to park.
And honestly, Sam's Club. Are you selling enough of those $2,300 children's playsets to make up for lost business from people who can't find a parking space and therefore don't shop in your store? How many of those splinter-infested deathtraps do you have to sell before it all balances out in the quarterly report?
And why put them in the parking lot anyway? Are children's playsets a big "impulse item"? Are people finishing their regular shopping and then, on their way back to their cars (parked miles from the store's entrance), saying, "Hey, wait. As long as we're here, we should shell out a few thousand bucks for something that our children can fracture their tiny bones on"?
Wienerschnitzel. Actually, what I don't understand here is the fact that Wienerschnitzel even exists. I mean, who eats there? Most people I know won't even admit that they like hot dogs. And to actually go out to a restaurant and BUY one! It's one thing if you're at home and there's nothing else to eat, and you have a fondness for the eyelashes and toenails of swine. But to consciously decide, "I want a hot dog," and then drive to Wienerschnitzel -- by-passing dozens of other food options along the way -- it just makes no sense to me.
No offense to the fine people at Wienerschnitzel, of course. It's entirely possible that everything makes perfect sense and I'm just dumb. The important thing, though, is that "Battlefield Earth" really sucks.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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