Category Archives: marketing

A treatise on crappy genre writing wherein we posit the existence of millions of dollars to be made off of these people, if only we knew how to lower our standards

This is a very long and rambling post about fantasy/sci fi literature and how most of it is terrible.  I’m hiding it after a jump so as not to make the front page of my blog really long, and to hide all the cool points I’m losing for posting this.  Still, if you have thoughts on the matter, I’d love to have a discussion about it.  I’m out of college, I can’t take comp lit classes anymore, so to the Internet I turn.

On to the musings

Gatorade’s G-Series: Press Conference Edition

Which of these men need to be drinking an "after competition" sports drink?

Dear Gatorade,

I’m sure you paid MLB, or at least the Yankees, handsomely to have your product on the press conference table after the game.  But if you’re going to convince me that I should invest my athletic hydration in your “G Series,” don’t put it in front of baseball managers.  That’s about as far away from athleticism as you can get in a major league baseball game.

On second thought, however, that is the “03: Recover” bottle sitting there.  Joe Girardi probably needed some of that after last night.

Poor Use of Marketing Funds, Hampton Inns

Weather.com has a radar display that will show you the rain, snow, or lack thereof above your current position.  Nifty, useful.  After using it for, oh, four years, I just noticed this feature today:

hmm, you know, I am KINDA looking for a place to stay tonight…

Hampton has presumably paid weather.com to install a check box that, if clicked, will show the locations of Hampton Inns on my weather radar map (zoomed out t0 a scale of 1 inch equaling, I’d guess, about 30 miles).  Clicking on that box gives you this map:

Wow! It’s not currently raining on 11 of the 13 regional Hampton Inns!

This feature allows for the simultaneous solution of two relatively unrelated consumer problems: what is the weather like right now, and where is a Hampton Inn?

I tend to assume that, in this year of our Lord 2010, national marketing is a polished science.  Endless binders of numbers, exhaustive studies, a century of trail and error, and douchebaggy Wharton marketing Ph.D. candidates all ensure that every marketing dollar is spent in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Then I encounter things like this, and I realize that marketing, like all things economic, is much less of a science than those practicing it would have us believe.  Because unless weather.com and Hampton Inn are part of the same ‘glomerate, this is one of the most useless product cross-overs I have ever seen.

P.S.  Oh wait.  I’ve never actually stayed at a Hampton Inn.  Do their roofs leak?  If so, then the combination of Hampton Inn locations and a weather doppler radar makes perfect sense.

Internet Explorer Wants You To Be Warned

I recently encountered this helpful warning from Internet Explorer (click for larger image):

warning: warnings warn of warnings and may cause forewarning

Seriously, isn’t this concern sort of fundamental to the entire point of the program?  Doesn’t the Internet work because, at some point, some other sentient being paid attention to the information I was sending “to the Internet” (whatever THAT means) and wrote a program to do something with it?  Is it possible someone could get in front of a search engine, but be too concerned about their “information” to dare use it?  Does Microsoft really think anyone would want this message to pop up every time he did a search?  “Gee, thanks for the reminder, Microsoft!  Forewarned is forearmed!”  What sort of computer user did Microsoft have in mind with this feature?

[cue sarcasm]

Whoa whoa, what’s going on here?  I’m sending information TO the Internet?  I thought the Internet was gonna send ME stuff!  The Internet is, like, a huge pile of information and I can get at it through the Explorer.  Right?  I wanna know where to find delicious bagels (in this instance).  What information does it want from me?  Is it going to be used against me?

And who are these “others”?  The Internet police?  Aliens?  Somebody else in this public library?  I thought it was just me and the Internet, here on this computer.  Like any old book, but made of one’s and zero’s instead of abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz’s.

Damn, is everything under fucking surveillance these days?  I can’t call the gas company without the call being RECORDED, I can’t go to the corner store without seeing myself on that black and white monitor, I can’t donate sperm without giving away my birthdate.  Now other people are sitting in on the Internet with me?  Screw this, I’m gonna just take the bus downtown.

Orange Juice, Now With Less Orange Juice!

I found this product in the grocery store last week, and thought it amusing enough to share.  From the website (the red lines are my emphasis): 

Trop50? Sounds like the FUTURE to me!

 Tropicana 50, you say?  Sounds intriguing… I do so love orange juice, but it does have a fair amount of sugar in it.  You have my ear, Tropicana.  Tell me more.  Make me see it.  Sell me the dream. 

Vitamins and minerals!

 Gee whillikers!  It has only 45% of the sugar and calories of regular orange juice.  And it still has vitamin C, plus all those other good features!  Huzzah!  How ever did they do it? 

Wait...

Oh.  

They just cut their orange juice with water.  I do this in my kitchen every morning because I want to make the oj last longer.  It’s got 50% of the calories of orange juice because it’s 50% orange juice. 

Coming soon from the same marketing team: 

Starbucks Meno: a smooth, balanced brew from a specialty blend of shade-grown, organic Sicilian greenhouse coffee beans poured piping hot into a new, smaller cup. 

Still $4.99

Introducing: BobcatLite!  Same great cat, 30% less mass! 

Same great cat, 30% less mass

Okay, that’s enough.

Cold Activated Morons

Coors Light is racing Miller Lite* to be as insulting as possible to their target demographic.  Miller Lite enthusiastically depicts its fans as senseless morons who prefer shitty lite beer to beautiful women.  This has been discussed here before.

At first I thought Coors Light merely distracted consumers from its beer with packaging gimmicks.  I now think it’s more than that.  It now seems possible that Coors Light is marketing itself to people who suffer from Congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, or at least a strange inability to deal with time and temperature.

alt text

The cold activation window tells you when there's beer in the box!

The newest ads feature the above box, with the “cold activation window” which allows you to look into the box and see if the “cold activation labels” on the cans are blue (indicating the beer is cold).  I suppose a secondary feature is that the window tells you if there are still bottles in the box.

Nevermind the fact that this feature is essentially using less cardboard in the packaging.  Or the fact that if the bottles are spun around, you won’t be able to see the label through the window.  This takes Coors to a whole new level of audience mockery.  This saves neither time, nor energy, or assists the already-stupid label gimmick.  Nevermind what it suggests about the limitations of your fridge.

What comes next, you ask?

Coming soon: ColdActivation.com.  Register your six-pack online with its unique ID number.  Enter the time you put the six-pack in the fridge, and the temperature of the fridge, and Coors will text you when your beer is as cold as the Rockies!  While you’re online, create a profile for your Coors and upload photos of your Coors to share with other morons!  (Thanks to N. Krefting for predicting this dark future.) 

On the subject, I found this article about Coors new packaging.  I feel this article should be sarcastic, but it just isn’t.

*I just noticed that it’s actually ‘Coors Light’ and ‘Miller Lite.’  I wonder if there are laws that determine which ‘Light’ you use, based on how lousy your ingredients are.

It’s March, and the Mets Are Losing

I saw the second to last game ever at Shea Stadium, where Johan Santana pitched a complete game in the drizzle.  Thanks to that ticket purchase, which had everything to do with Shea Stadium and nothing to do with my affinity for the Mets, this weekend I received a glossy flier advertising the 2010 Mets season.  The slogan?

It's only March, but the Mets are already losing, apparently.

I’m not one to judge, rooting as I do for a team whose motto last season sounded like the slogan of a losing political candidate (“A New Day, A New Way” – Seattle Mariners 2009).  But as my housemate pointed out, “Boy, the Mets seem to be admitting that they’re already losing.”

Should be a great season.

Insurance Smackdown

The new Nationwide ads got me thinking about a martial arts-style smackdown between the spokespeople for these major insurance carriers.  What would their strengths and weaknesses be?  Is there something better I should be doing with my time?  So here we go. 

The Ten-Levelled Temple of National Insurance Agency Spokesperson Death Challenge of the Dragon

The Aflac Duck

 

Strengths: 

  • While not impervious to pain, virtually unstoppable by physical violence.
  • Relentless sense of curiosity and play make it immune to fear.

Weaknesses: 

  • Very small and light.
  • Accident prone.
  • Probably delicious.

Fighting style most similar to: Jackie Chan. 

Nationwide World's Greatest Spokesperson In The World

 

Strengths: 

  • Good with an axe, blue phone, can of SpaghettiOs, presumably other props.
  • Extremely persuasive.

Weaknesses: 

  • Spent twenty years out of the game in a cabin in the woods.
  • Much less impressive and interesting once he shaves.

Fighting style most similar to: Anthony Hopkins 

Geico tag-team of Caveman, money, gecko

 

Strengths: 

  • Tag team approach.  Charming and persuasive Martin the Gecko distracts opponent while Caveman wields tennis racket.
  • Money can teleport to any location, and its spontaneously generated theme music is catchy.
  • Gecko can crawl up your shirt and slither around with (presumably) cold little feet.

Weaknesses: 

  • Once the Money is spotted, it never moves.
  • Gecko is even lighter than Aflac Duck, less capable of exerting force on opponent.
  • Caveman prone to abandoning fight if he sees Geico sign or otherwise feels his merits to be in question.

Fighting style most similar to: Ottoman Empire Janissaries (three of them) 

Progressive Flo, The Woman In White

 

Strengths: 

  • Unflappable good cheer.
  • Strangely seductive (right?  Anyone else pick up on that?).
  • Master of her domain.

Weaknesses: 

  • Bound to white, Purgatory-like dominion by ancient rituals of terrible power for the time of a thousand thousand suns.
  • Attention to customers may distract from death match.

Fighting style most similar to: Bugs Bunny 

Allstate's Dennis Haysbert

 

Strengths: 

  • Trustworthy; “good hands” feint.
  • 6′, 4″ tall, and has spent extensive time watching (and presumably learning from) Jack Bauer. 
  • Can slow time, particularly in order to witness car accidents and firefighter rescues.

Weaknesses: 

  • Frequently requires Jack Bauer to save his Presidency.

Fighting Style Most Similar To: Dennis Haysbert