Tag Archives: advertising

Absolvo-Meal: an advertising jingle

Your hair is gray and thinning, Jack!
Your prime is gone and won’t come back.
The cure for everything you lack?
Absolvo-Meal, the perfect snack!

Young whippersnappers run the show,
and no one cares how much you know.
When your past actions plague you so,
Absolvo-Meal’s the way to go!

Who needs responsibility?
Who wants the blame? Not you or me!
Besides, no work can make you free;
Absolvo-Meal’s the trick, you see.

It matters not how cruel or wrong
you’ve been so far, to get along,
to rise above the mindless throng;
Absolvo-Meal! The winner’s song!

So, try it now! It’s not too late!
Remove the trouble from your plate!
Don’t weakly give in to your fate;
Absolvo-Meal, the dish that sates.

Your ethics, politics and such:
who needs them? You and I? Not much!
Compassion, empathy? A crutch!
Absolvo-Meal, great in a clutch!

Forget your faults! Don’t make amends,
just have a quick glass now and then.
A clean slate every time, no end:
Absolvo-Meal, your new best friend!

So, is your soul in trouble, Jack?
Do sin and sorrow hold you back?
Just take a slug and then, relax!
Absolvo-Meal, the perfect snack!

10 APR 2014

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Dear Kleenex

As of late, there’s been a commercial advertising your products that runs a little something like this …

A man with a shaven head (not tonsured, but completely shaven), wearing maroon robes very similar in style to those worn by the Dalai Lama, is shown during his daily activities to be careful about not harming the natural world around him. He rights a beetle so it can go on its way. He checks his steps to make sure no creatures are harmed by his footfalls. And so on.

Then, he plucks a tissue from a Kleenex box and blows his nose. There is a voice-over reminding us all that Kleenex tissue kills millions of germs. Germs, of course, are living creatures too. This puts a very worried look on the man’s face. I say man, but quite obviously he is supposed to be some kind of monk, most likely a follower of an Eastern religion, particularly as he has been acting with a Jain-like level of non-violence, and even sports a set of japa beads, not a rosary.

But all is not lost, the voice over assures us, saying “Thank goodness for forgiveness. Thank goodness for Kleenex.”

However, there is a bit of a problem here. So far as I know, and I have been studying Eastern religions and the myriad of paths that preach non-violence and “do no harm”, none of the sects to which the monk might belong have what you might call a “Doctrine of Forgiveness”. That is, I believe, a Christian notion. Where paths preach non-violence and non-aggression, there is no forgiveness, regardless of how small or petty the infraction may seem. There is payment due. It is called Karma. It is also, in some strange circles, referred to as a law of physics: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. To coin a phrase, what comes around, goes around. If you truly believe in non-aggression and non-harm, you take personal responsibility for your every action, and do not seek (or expect) forgiveness. You expect a bill, and you are prepared to pay it. Even if it is mere, lowly germs who have given their lives to afford you better health, you are inclined to thank them for the sacrifice.

As one non-Christian practitioner who thinks that the beliefs of others should not be parodied out of ignorance, particularly to sell products, I think this oversight (and I’d like to think that’s all it is) is nothing to sneeze at. But it certainly has inclined me to purchase Puffs instead.

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Dear Coca-Cola

Dear Coca-Cola:

Please take a minute to review your situation. I realize that it must seem important to keep up with the Joneses (and I mean that figuratively; I don’t seriously believe the Jones Soda company is any significant threat to you), but REALLY. There are now so many different Coca-Cola products on the market (the latest being Coca-Cola Blak, which by the way tastes like a badly mixed Kahlua and Coke) that it is getting nearly impossible to walk into a convenience store and exit carrying a Coke and a pack of cigarettes. Not that it’s your business about the cigarettes, but …

I should think that your experience with “New” Coke (and admit it, you blew it there and in some tizzy over celebrity endorsements for Pepsi you listened to somebody who probably should have been committed and “changed” the Coke formula) would have taught you something. Keeping up with the Joneses did not help you there — and in fact, probably started Michael Jackson’s downward spiral thanks to his endorsement of your competitor’s product. Stick to what you’re good at. Stick to what works. Plain Coke works. Real Coke drinkers (who are your audience anyway) drink it. And isn’t that what you want, anyway? A devoted power base for whom if asked “Is Pepsi OK?” will say “Hell, no.” and drink tap water before substituting anything for a Coke. Those real Coke drinkers don’t need lime, cherry or vanilla varieties. Most of ’em don’t need Diet, Caffeine Free, Caffeine Free Diet, etc. either. Haven’t you noticed? Like the substance that used to be an ingredient in your formula, what you have is STILL pretty damned addictive. So don’t mess with it; don’t gussy it up, don’t change the packaging, the formula or the varieties. They’re simply not necessary. And here’s why:

Coca-Cola, not any other brand of carbonate beverage, is asked for nationwide. When someone requests a soda, soft drink, soda pop, a cold drink or a pop, chances are they mean Coca-Cola. Hell, sometimes ANY kind of soft drink is referred to as a “Coke”. Perhaps that’s because with the exception of Big Shot Rootbeer (which is only available in and around the New Orleans area anyway), and perhaps Verner’s Ginger Ale (likewise geographically limited, albeit to the Midwest rather than Midsouth) Coca-Cola is the most consistently satisfying carbonated beverage ever created. It also, with the aforementioned Big Shot Rootbeer again excepted, is the most logical, statistically preferable additive to any number of alcohol based cocktails. Who asks for an “Rum and RC” or “Jack and Pepsi”? A Bacardi and Tab? Get real.

So think about it, Coca-Cola. Focus on what you’re good at, and forget the short-term, fancy-pants fads and those “Coke drinkers” who think Coke isn’t good enough as is. They are NOT Coke drinkers.

A Lifelong Coca-Cola Drinker (except for that short stretch of years, when due to the proximity of the Pepsi bottling plant to my grandmother’s house in rural Ohio, I was forced to swill things like Teem).

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Incongruities in Advertising

My pet peeve of the day:

What does Alabama, or Lynryd Skynyrd for that matter, have to do with fried chicken? In particular, what does “Sweet Home Alabama” have to do with Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Perhaps my geography is a little bit rusty, but Kentucky is nestled between Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia (ok, some other states too), but is NOWHERE near Alabama. Colonel Harlan Sanders was a hillbilly who DRESSED like a southern cracker, and more closely resembled Burl Ives than anyone else. Seems to me that most of the chicken in the United States is not produced in Alabama, either. Most likely the chicken is from Arkansas — which to my recollection doesn’t border Alabama OR Kentucky (but that’s another issue).

So why does the KFC campaign for Chicken Capital USA (which I can only assume is bluegrass country and not swamp rock country, being somewhere south of Cincinnati and north of Nashville) have as its theme song Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”? Is it because nobody gets all goofy-eyed and thinks of fried chicken when they hear musicians from Kentucky — like Bill Monroe, Merle Travis, John Prine, the Everly Brothers, Dwight Yoakum? Hell, Johnny Depp would be a better fit. The Kentucky Headhunters’ “Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine” would be far more appropriate.

Is it because in this country the intellectual capability of the average American is, as they say, going South?

Or is it because those folks who now own KFC (the same people that own Pepsi and Taco Bell, I think) couldn’t think of a better representation of fly-over country than Skynyrd?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Lynryd Skynyrd. And I think all of ’em that are still alive deserve all the royalties they can get. But I’ve got relatives in Kentucky, I’ve got relatives from Kentucky that work for KFC and knew the Colonel while he was alive, and I’ve even EATEN KFC in Kentucky — where, I might add, it is better than anywhere else in the country. “Sweet Home Alabama” as the theme song for something that is in NO WAY associated with, or from, Alabama is a little insulting to me. It’s just wrong.

And by the way, considering the number of Puerto Ricans, Gautemalans, Costa Ricans, Mexicans and Latinos and Hispanics of almost every variety living in New York City, how is it that they know so much less there about salsa than folks in San Antonio?

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Hanging on Dreams

I know you want me to say
I love you in some tired cliche:
forever in a bright pink bow
with Hallmark lines I ought to know;
and when I speak, some hidden strings
should start to play. It should be Spring;
then as the moonlight filters through
the clouds, you’ll know that I love you.

Well, our life isn’t like TV,
and that Prince Charming isn’t me:
a handsome, careless perfect fool
who’s crown is missing just your jewel,
and when I speak, the words I choose
may be too rough, and be misused;
but when you hear, you’ll understand
that I deserve to be your man.

That’s all that I have, not anything more
If that’s not enough, I’ll walk out that door
’cause if me pretending is what you long for
it’s not me you’re after; and all that’s in store
is no happy ending, no fairy tale glow,
just holding to dreams, when we ought to let go.

I know you want me to be
more like your girlhood fantasy:
forever on a big white horse
prepared to face some dragon’s force;
and when I come back from the wars
your love alone will soothe my sores;
then we will break the magic spell
that made the past a living hell.

Well, our life’s not a storybook;
no golden apples can be shook
from that old tree in our front yard,
the future’s certain to be hard.
But this I promise you, my dear:
It’s not loneliness you should fear;
‘Cause I’ll be here to see it through:
to me, that’s saying I love you.

That’s all that I have, not anything more
If that’s not enough, I’ll walk out that door
’cause if me pretending is what you long for
it’s not me you’re after; and all that’s in store
is no happy ending, no fairy tale glow,
just holding to dreams, when we ought to let go.

03 JAN 2005

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Mixed Messages

You’d better not pout, you’d better not cry
You’d better be good — I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good —
so be good, for goodness’ sake.

I just today realized the problem with the commercialization of Christmas. The point of the above song is that IF you’re good, you will be rewarded. Conversely, if you’re BAD, your actions will be noted, and your stocking will be shorted accordingly.

Yet, at the same time, we are admonished to “be good, for goodness’ sake”.

If we apply logic to this, that’s the same as saying “art for art’s sake” — or that art is worth making simply because art is worthwhile.

That means that the song is saying that being good is its own reward. That it is the right thing to do. That’s why one does it.

NOT FOR THE REWARD, or because someone is watching who’ll provide some payoff.

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Wrongful Thinking Department 101

Quote from a currently running commercial for Cox Digital Telephone:
“If a million people are doing it, it must be a good thing, right?”

So, if a million people are jumping off of cliffs, to use a metaphor from my mother’s playbook when I was a kid, you should be doing it too?

Or to paint with a much broader brush … if a million people are racist, sexist, bigoted, uptight, boorish cads, then that’s the direction you want to head in? If a million people support a fascist dictator with an agenda that includes decimation of people not like him (or them), that makes it a worthy cause?

Wow. Marketing never ceases to amaze me.

To paraphrase Ibsen, since when has the majority ever managed to do anything but ostracize (and that’s the mild end of the reactive spectrum — the other end would include thumbscrews and quartering or crucifying) its innovators?

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