Alcohol is in it!

Alcohol is in it!

Image courtesy of Seth Tisue. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

I have kind of a weird Thing about inane marketing copy. It delights me in my heart of hearts that there’s someone out there who has to write up 20 different ways to say, “It’s a crew neck t-shirt advertised via soft core porn” for American Apparel. (This is part of why I love Decoy Brideour unlucky protagonist has returned home after a failed stint writing catalog copy for a menswear company.)

The alcohol industry is a particularly fertile stomping grounds for this kind of weird, relentlessly-cheerful copy. After all, there are only so many ways to say, “This will get you drunk, which you enjoy!” that still involve you being coy enough about it that the consumer doesn’t feel like they have A Problem.

Until this weekend, my favorite version of this was the Daily’s Cocktails pouch copy. For those of you who spent less of the last few years in college town liquor stores than I did, Daily’s pouches are basically Capri Suns for adults. They contain a mix of sugary-sweet cocktail mixer and malt liquor, flavored like any number of beverages that one might conceivably order at a bachelorette party. You pop them in the freezer and then enjoy them in a hazy cloud of self-loathing/beach vacationing. They are reviewed, wonderfully, in this ChowHound article.

The Daily’s cocktail pouches proclaim, cheerfully, that, “Alcohol is in it!”

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I am exceptionally targetable!

I’m watching the American Idol finale with my parents. I haven’t seen the last six seasons of this show, so I am less-than-invested in it. However, some observations about the show:

  • You know the swaying hands at the front row? Pretend that they’re robotic arms in a vat of liquid being controlled by hydraulics. You can’t un-see that, now, can you? You’re welcome.
  • Go find a picture of Randy Jackson’s lapels. Seriously, what the goddamn hell? They are the size of my foot.
  • J. Lo looks like she’s wearing a mermaid outfit.
  • That girl is a strong argument for why 16-year-olds should be kept the hell away from glitter. Girl looks like she robbed a Claire’s. She has a bird ring that is the size of a deck of cards.
  • That boy has mastered vacantly looking into the distance. He is so ready for senior pictures.
  • What the Christ was with the latex robot halftime show?
  • This is probably the only place on TV where you have a man in a 1980’s NFL coach’s suit, a woman in a mermaid costume, a midwestern hobo, and an impeccably-groomed man in a tuxedo on screen at the same time. USA! USA!

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And by “care package,” I mean “bomb.”

Beep, beep, beep... It's Hotmail! Image courtesy of Flickr user Cindy Seigle. Licensed under CC 2.0 BY-NC-SA.

Today Microsoft sent me a care package. It included: a pedometer, a thumb drive, a cork screw, bubble wrap, a book on origami, and an alarm clock. With the alarm going off.

You guys, Mail Services thought I had received a bomb.

Now, can you guess what product Microsoft was trying to advertise with this assortment of items? If you guessed the launch of the new Hotmail, you’re right. In addition, you must work for Microsoft’s marketing department, because there is no one else on Earth who could make that connection. It was a terrible package. For one,  the package was a giant waste of resources, shipping fuel, and manufacturing costs. The only part of it that I kept was the thumb drive–the envelope-shaped box, the corkscrew, the pedometer, the origami book, the alarm clock, and the bubble wrap all went to people sitting with me at lunch. Secondly, it was poorly-targeted. There is no demographic that likes all those things, and though they were all loosely tied to the launch (you can “hit the snooze button” because Hotmail is so fast, and the like), they were mostly confusing. I didn’t know what the box was for, and I had been sent an email about the launch three days ago with no mention of the box in it.

But the thing that set me off, aside from the general poor planning and execution of the campaign, was the god-damn alarm clock. Who in their right mind sends a beeping package through the mail? If nothing else, it was annoying the mail services employees, who are all lovely people and who are not paid to listen to Microsoft’s bad marketing go off all morning. But more than that, sending something that says “sketchy device! Maybe a bomb!” through the mail is a terrible idea. Continue reading