Because YOU’RE an early adopter…

I recently walked past a bus shelter displaying an advert for new flavours of Diet Coke — Feisty Cherry and Exotic Mango — bearing the exhortation “because you’re an early adopter.”

An image of a Diet Coke ad on a bus stop with the words

This tickled my inner Marxist.  Maybe I’ve been watching too much Mad Men of late, but I couldn’t help thinking what brilliant advertising this was. Setting aside the fact that Cherry Coke was introduced in 1985 – and what exactly it is that makes this variant “feisty” –  who cares what the product is? YOU should purchase it, because YOU are a trend-setter! YOUR patterns of consumption are so much more on point than others, who admire YOU so much they’ll want to emulate YOU. We, YOUR friends at Coca Cola, want YOU to be a key element in the dissemination of this product. Because YOU are special. Because YOU have a valuable ability to recognize what will be popular before it’s popular. Because YOU are an early adopter. Continue reading “Because YOU’RE an early adopter…”

Circuses Not Bread

Circuses not breadIt strikes me that Black Friday sales videos — featuring people stampeding into stores, trampling one another, or fighting over limited-inventory sales items (sometimes even fighting each other) — are comparable to the spectacle of the Roman coliseum, no? For, much like those ancient events, the desperate people who are put into an outrageous situation are not what it is about; instead, it is us, the ones comfortably watching those brawling shoppers, at a safe distance, who ought to attract our attention. Continue reading “Circuses Not Bread”

“If you’re not sexy, you might want to be easy”: Some Thoughts On

A red pepper

“If you’re not sexy, you might want to be easy.” So wrote David Epstein in an Inside Higher Ed article written about the website, which allows students to provide public feedback about their professors. In addition to reporting some basic information like the student’s interest in the course material and their perception of the necessity of the textbook, class attendance, etc., each student grades their professors by providing feedback on three major scales:  “Helpfulness,” “Clarity,” and “Easiness.” A fourth measure, “Hotness” (symbolized by a chili pepper), is awarded when students deem a professor suitably attractive. Continue reading ““If you’re not sexy, you might want to be easy”: Some Thoughts On”

Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That…

Templeton Rye Rye WhiskeyNPR ran a story the other day based on a Daily Beast article about the disappointing reality that a lot of popular craft whiskeys that cater to the discerning consumer with an appreciation for the finer things are actually not produced in artisanal small batches at all but instead hail from the large Midwest Grain Products (MGP) factory in Indiana. How to tell you’re getting the “real thing”…? Check whether the product is “distilled by” or “bottled/produced by” the company—a big difference when looking for the origins of the whiskey you’re consuming. Continue reading “Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That…”

Walmart Asks: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

the entrance of Walmart

I had to look twice when I was driving in Birmingham yesterday and drove past the local “Walmart Neighborhood Market.” Neighborhood market? Yes, it seems that the corporate giant is expanding yet again…this time with smaller stores. Now Walmart can compete with grocers in more crowded city centers that may not be amenable to its otherwise inexhaustible sprawl. The famous chain is known not only for its low prices but also for widespread criticism of its business practices — complaints that have made so much news as to warrant their own lengthy wikipedia page. Continue reading “Walmart Asks: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?””

Gotta Sell Somebody

Russell McCutcheon was nice enough to pass along this commercial to me, knowing I’d be interested because of my recent post about the ad on which it is based. It offers a response to Cadillac’s unapologetic praise of American consumerism…and it’s brought to you by Ford Motor Co. Yep, Ford!  The same company who’s “Built Ford Tough” campaigns are hardly trying to get customers to imagine a more eco-friendly future, instead offering us the likes of Toby Keith (the very same “Angry American” who found a crass way of suggesting the “American way” is pummeling the country’s enemies) out-muscling two other trucks: Continue reading “Gotta Sell Somebody”

King of the Jungle

a scene from the Lion KingLooks like Prince William’s been listening to Toto

The latest in the royal baby craze is news about baby-and-future-king George’s nursery theme.  If you haven’t been paying attention to the news (soon to be featured in grocery checkout lines, no doubt), you may not know that the new parents are decking out their baby’s room with an “African theme.” Continue reading “King of the Jungle”