Category Archives: marketing

The Progressive Woman

Selling insurance in purgatory

I’ve been impressed with Progressive for sticking with the ad campaign featuring Flo the Progressive Sales Woman in White.  The first few ads felt forced, but I guess long-running campaigns featuring central characters (see: Geico) is the name of the game in today’s insurance business.  They have unapologetically stuck with the campaign, and it has grown on me.

I do wonder about that actress, though.  I wonder if she has to avoid wearing red lipstick and white clothing or risk being identified everywhere.  Also, that Progressive store reminds me of a store in heaven.  Or perhaps purgatory.  White everywhere, vague empty boxes containing concepts rather than objects.  No identifiable walls, floor, ceiling or exits.  It’s a surreal place, Flo’s domain.

Lastly, has anyone noticed how switching to All State/Progressive/Geico could save you money?  And that people who do switch save, on average, $xxx per year?  I’ve never shopped for insurance, but I imagine that the reason a person switches carriers is to save money, and that it is a largely voluntary action.  Thus, people don’t switch insurance companies in order to pay more money.  Just sayin’.

Advance Praise For The Dictionary

My paperback Oxford American Dictionary has a gold star on the cover, inside of which is printed this praise from the Library Journal: “Highly Recommended!”

Does saying this dictionary is ‘highly recommended’ make people buy it?  Aside from acclaim for things like derivation and pronunciation keys, which 90% of purchasers don’t care about, what is there to praise?  Does the hard-bound version have quotes from famous authors on the inside of the dust jacket?

  • “Has all the words I’ll ever need.” ~Sherman Alexie
  • “Easy to flip pages.” ~Writer’s Guide
  • “Exhilarating…resplendent…contains enough adjectives to fill a Merovingian sepulcher.” ~somebody pompous enough to be quoted praising a dictionary

On the inside of the back cover: “If you enjoyed The Dictionary, check out The Thesaurus, the book readers are calling ‘Useful…handy…suitable…exactly what you need for a specific task or moment!'”

French pun

Do the boxes in Quebec and Paris have English on them?

Despite its massive popularity in the United States, Kleenex still prints both English and French writing on their tissue boxes.  Major corporations do nothing without thought, so this must be a marketing decision.  Americans buy more tissues, Kleenex believes, if there is French on the box.

What’s the reasoning?

Americans associate the French with snot.

Bad Beer Diary 1

You may be familiar with the image below.  It is from a recent Miller Lite ad campaign featuring men whose love of Miller Lite is the dominant motivating force in their lives.  The underlying logic, I suspect, is that guys relate to this feeling.  So let us take a peek into the life of this Everyman and how his love of Miller Lite affects his life off camera.

Dear My Diary,

I got in trouble at work again for drinking Miller Lite at lunch.  I tried to explain to the shift manager that it was the perfect compliment to a five dollar footlong (five!  five!  five dollar foot long! haha), but he said if I drank on the job again I’d be fired.  Why don’t people understand?

I thought of another way ML can be awesome.  If you had a hangover, you could put two cold, refreshing bottles against each of your eyes and I bet it would make you feel better.

Tiffany is mad at me again.  She keeps asking really hard hypo hypath those make-believe questions.  She says she wants us to be honest in our relationship, but then she gets all mad and won’t feel better until I buy her flowers.  And the flowers need to be bigger than last time, so it’s getting pretty expensive.  Fortunately after she left Kyle and Dwayne came by the bar and we drank more delicious ML.  I love my buds.

Oh, sorry, I was just reading over what I wrote, and that first part makes it sound like my idea is to put two bottles against each of your eyes.  That wouldn’t work.  I mean one bottle per eye.

Okay, it’s bed time.  Gotta go break the seal.  I wonder how much ML you’d have to drink for your piss to taste like ML?  That’d be crazy.


Hollywood Is The Least Creative Place On Earth

From this NYTimes article on Avatar and its impact on blockbusters:

And a new “Spider-Man” episode is not due until 2012, now that Sony Pictures has canceled a planned fourth installment from the director Sam Raimi and the star Tobey Maguire, choosing instead to focus on a reinvention of the series, with a new director and cast.

Ugh, how dated!

The first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man came out in 2002, was generally well received, made $114 million dollars its opening weekend, and finished with $820 million dollars between its domestic and foreign takes.  The next two movies in the series combined for $1.67 billion dollars in combined worldwide box office gross.

Now, 10 years later, they’re going to “reinvent” the series with a new director and cast?  I guess Hollywood really is the least creative place on Earth.  Don’t mistake me for a big Spider-Man fan.  I imagine this is how that studio conversation went:

Big Suit One:  We need more money.

Big Suit Two:  Remember Spider-Man?  Those movies made a shit ton.

Big Suit One:  Yeah, but Toby Maguire is lame now, and won’t do another movie.

Big Suit Two:  We don’t need him.  We’ll make the same movie again!  Call it a reimagining!

Big Suit One:  The first movies still look fine.  What is there to change?

Big Suit Two:  Nothing!  People are suckers!

We won't take a risk if we can possibly avoid it

This is worse than the current trend of taking simple touchstones from a 1980’s childhood (Transformers, Where The Wild Things Are, G.I. Joe) and turning them into blockbusters.  This is taking blockbusters from ten years ago and turning them into blockbusters.  It’s even less creative.  What’s next?

  1. Gladiator, with Johnny Depp as a wacky pirate Maximus!
  2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with Robert Pattinson and Emma Watson replacing Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.  Do I hear the sound of a million tweens swiping credit cards?
  3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, with Sean Connery!  Same premise, but you need special effects for the younger parts of his life!
  4. Capote, still with Philip Seymour Hoffman!  He just can’t play the character like he did it last time!  What will he come up with!?!?
  5. The Dark Knight, with a ton of famous actors playing Batman!  It’d be a cross between I’m Not There and The Last Waltz, but for Superhero movies!

Found a Photo

Here we go.  This is the photo I wanted yesterday but couldn’t wait.

Dallas Cowboys 3D Glasses Promotion

Whooo, 3D dulls the pain of another December loss!

The only person in this photo who seems to have his eyes on the field is the guy in the front row with the white jersey.  Who, incidentally, doesn’t seem to be wearing the glasses.

On a related topic, NFL athletes are so good these days that I really think it might be possible to switch the giant screen and the field.  Have the teams play earlier in the day and film it.  Open the stadium up and everybody comes to watch the game on the giant TV.  Then the players reenact the best plays from the game live on the field.

This would also allow that obnoxious jumping/guitar playing robot from the Fox NFL broadcasts to participate.

And We’ve Reached A New Low

Trader Joe’s milk chocolate truffle bars are delicious.  If I’m eating a piece of one, I’m pretty into it.  What could cause me to drop it, clasp my hand to my forehead, and utter foul oaths?

The Dallas Cowboys giganto-jumbo tron is showing 3D video!  They handed out 3D glasses to fans at tonight’s Chargers-Cowboys game!

Maybe they should show the live game on the screen, and then re-enact the replays on the field.

NO!  NO, NO, NO!


I’ve never been to an NFL game.  Is the NFL really so made-for-TV that, even at the game, you’d rather see what was happening on a screen?*  This makes me hop up and down and babble.  3-D glasses are a gimmick to make otherwise bad movies interesting.  When paired with good art, they are an unnecessary distraction.

[insert joke about the Cowboys being bad art here]

In fact, let’s construct a metaphor for this in the sexualized vein the NFL would approve of.

  1. Watching your favorite team on TV = masturbating to photo of you partner
  2. Attending the game in real life = going to partner’s house for sexual intercourse (presumably preferable)
  3. Attending game and watching it with 3D glasses on giant video screen = going to partner’s house, inflating a sex doll replica of partner, and having sex with that doll, while your partner remains in the room, keeping busy

Or something like that.  I’m all worked up.

This is why I root against the Cowboys.  I don’t really have any football reason to hate them; I’m not that into football.  But it’s shit like this that makes them despicable.  They’re like the Yankees, but without the tradition or consistent winning to back up their conspicuous consumption fetish.

But seriously.  Seriously?  Aaaaaaaaagh.

*If this is the case, then blacking out broadcasts when the game doesn’t sell out, as currently happens, is even more stupid than it already appears.