Monday, March 10, 2008

America's FAVORITE Tradition

I love advertising and marketing. I am a big fan of Ernie Bernays, the fellow that brought breakfast to America, books to the middle class, soap to little boys, and cigarettes to girls. Some marketing and PR is carefully planned towards the BIG picture, not just a quick boost of sales for the month.
Some marketing is off the cuff, get it done, print it and ship it.

I saw one of these quickie marketing plans in the supermarket the other day.

This wasn't written by a huge marketing firm. This was designed as a grab-your-eye impulse buy, quick no-analysis, no deeper meaning marketing. Of course, I couldn't get it out of my mind and couldn't keep from snickering continuously as I wandered around the store. Let's analyze this...

The advertising copy read

"America's FAVORITE Tradition!".
Now where does your mind go when you think of America's FAVORITE Tradition.

Christmas Trees, Annual4th Party, Thanksgiving Turkey, Formal Weddings, Graduation parties, Valentine's day sex, Superbowl parties, Marching bands, waving flags, bike week, pumpkin festival, protesting, Town Meetings, drinking beer and shooting guns into the air, fishing in the spring, impossible to eat fruitcake, snow angels, (if you live in New Ipswich) burning tires in the road, caps and robes for graduation, (in you live in Cody) going to the Rodeo every night, carving jack-o-lanterns, milk at Indianapolis, standing on podiums at the Olympics, the pledge of allegiance, Halloween costumes, Sunday comics, cocoa on a snowy day, s'mores, group pictures, birthday candles, ...

Nope. That's not it. According to the marketing people in charge of the seasonal point of purchase display that I saw in the supermarket, America's FAVORITE Tradition, not "one of the traditions", or a "pretty good tradition", but according to the marketing person at PAAS "America's FAVORITE Tradition" is Coloring Easter Eggs. Listerine was not allowed to advertise for seven years because of false claims, AAMCO has to be constantly reminded by the court system what "free" means, and now everybody can get loads of money refunded because of "incorrect" packaging by the makers of AirBorne. If anybody would like to start a class action suit so that Americans are not deceived by the PAAS Easter Egg Coloring Company if indeed Coloring Easter Eggs is NOT proven to be "America's FAVORITE Tradition", I would like to get in line for my share. There are many of us that have colored Easter eggs in the past while being unaware that the joy that they were experiencing with vinegar and food coloring was the best tradition that you were likely to ever encounter. If this was true they should have told us sooner so that we could wallow in the full glory of the process, and if it isn't true then we as Americans are once again being flim-flammed by hucksters trying to trick us into having fun again! If it isn't the bestest and the favorite, then why bother.

But you know? It doesn't prevent colds, it doesn't attract women, and doesn't remove the horrible ravages of aging, but it does have a brand name. People do like brand names. And it's messy! Your fingers turn colors and the countertops get those cool colored stains...

You can hide the eggs so well than nobody can find them until August when they use their timed-release "see if you can find me" tracking-odor.

You learn that mixing ANY two food colors produces brown (I think that is why half of the eggs in the supermarket are brown, Easter egg seconds).

They are fun and a complete waste of time and ingredients. And there is those stains.

Well maybe that person in the marketing cubicle at PAAS knew what she was doing.

... If you are reading this, PLEASE click a Star, just so I know you are there ...