Fun Dip now comes with two candy sticks. I discovered this on Christmas Eve when a wide-eyed kid who had already had too much sugar stumbled into me and showed me the tangy candy pouch like it had just been invented. Idiot. “That’s so 1974, dude.” I said. Then I remembered that he was born in 2006. Fuck. Then, to establish my cred: “Grape is the best flavour. This was 10 cents when I was your age, and the sticks were bigger.” (but we only got one). Now Fun Dip $1.50, and that kid had checked his texts by the time I’d finished my talk. Maybe the second stick is an anti-bullying thing. I used to hide my lik-em-stick at the risk of the dreaded long-john wedgie.
In other food news: Tang was Never orange juice. And if you’re still coughing from breathing in the tangy Tang fog from when you dumped the vitamin C-added contents from the pouch into the pitcher, there’s probably a class action suit you can join, right up there with the fine folks from Thetford Mines. Think about it: Tang and asbestos are from the same era. There’s got to be a connection.
And Cap’n Crunch. Seriously? I’ll never forget the day I realized that he didn’t really have to Be a captain if the word was not spelled out. It’s like not being able to forgive Dr. Seuss for the humiliation of arguing with Mrs. Ferguson in grade two over the spelling of Sox. I had Never stood up for myself, but that spelling was on the freakin’ cover of the damned book! Seuss cost me big-time at the blackboard that dark day. Green eggs on my face.
Who was it that first figured out that if you change a word slightly, you can give the impression of something without ultimately being liable? Consider “lite” margarine. What’s next? Organic non-animal cultivated Mete? I’m all for that, even spelled properly. There was a documentary on CBC Radio last week about “future foods” that included a lengthy discussion about meat that is grown in a lab, on racks, from stem cells. Even among those in favour, the response to the concept bordered on disgust. So, somehow, it’s better that meat comes from animals that sleep in their own shit and are shot between the eyes or hung from racks and electrocuted. Right. Prediction: Watch for protein products derived from insects to be a norm in ten years. If you find the idea of eating grubs disgusting, you should give up peanut butter and hold your breath and go back to Tang.
I never really know what I’m going to say when I start these blog posts, and today is no exception. But I feel a theme emerging. And it’s “Anything’s Possible in Marketing.”You don’t have to look far to find good examples. To notice, you just have to tilt your head slightly, squint and take a closer look at the signs as you cruise down any street. Consider: McDonald’s. Snap! It’s the early ’70s. We’re standing, invisible, in the smoky board room where early McDonald’s executives are meeting with the marketing team to come up with ways to get people to buy their meals. There’s one of those pedestal ash trays with the thick frosted glass insets and chrome trim at every third person. Fancy! Imagine the discussion. What did those mutton-chopped early execs come up with as enduring anchors for their products? A creepy clown, an obese purple bell-shaped character named after what your face does when you’re constipated, and a borderline racist older guy in a striped suit that is supposed to make you cling to your flimsy compromise hamburger. Because what you really want is bigger, even though it may cause an Attack. Brilliant!
Across the road, the other chain went with the monarchy. But we all know what happened during the burger revolution. The clowns won.
I love this kind of shit. There are lessons here for us today as we consider how to move people from complacency on serious things like climate change and a more appropriate name than “murse.” We need to let our hair grow, iron on some elbow pads and lock ourselves in a smoky room until we come up with new ways of marketing stuff that matters. I’ll bring the chew. Keep your mete to yourself.