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Klondike responds!

21 Jul
The ice-cream purveyors at Klondike/Unilever have responded to my complaint about their heinous heinous ads! Read below:
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Hello MS. SARAH _____,

Thank you for writing to us.

We do apologize for the experience you reported concerning Klondike Commercials.

Unilever Ice Cream markets its various brands in ways that are meant to entertain and engage our target audience. It was only intended to be humorous.

We certainly do not wish to offend anyone. You may be interested to know that all of our commercials and advertisements are pre-tested and various techniques are used to evaluate consumer reactions. Based on the results of our pre-testing procedures, the presentations are chosen for their majority appeal. Please let us assure you that your comments are extremely important to us in evaluating the success of our commercials and advertisements.

We will certainly forward your comments to the Marketing staff. Consumer comments are very important and evaluated on a regular basis.

Sincerely,

Your friends at Klondike

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More to come on this later. But feel free to poke some holes in their pre-testing procedures with their target audience. I see no way that these ads wouldn’t offend most demographics – even the darling demographic of straight white men dislike being portrayed as oafish.

Also: Note their use of an honorific!

Klondike bar ads are insulting, lazy

19 Jul

Have you guys seen this crap? Apparently I’ve been hiding under a rock, or at least eschewing prime-time network television, because Klondike’s effort to re-brand was going mostly under my radar until recently. Peep this horribleness:

Oh ha! I get it! Women are boring! Especially if you’re married to them! It’s like torture to listen to them! BAAHAHAHAHA! Hilarious. /sputter Oh yeah, and did we mention gay people are just … icky?

It’s a generally-accepted fact that the very last thing a straight man would ever want to be caught doing is something gay-seeming! Although it might be worse to actually care about the person you committed to spend your life with – hard to tell from these commercials.

Sarcasm aside, it is possible to be funny and sell ice cream without implying that women are insufferable bores and being gay is wrong (and straight men can never show affection). This is lazy work, plain and simple. The Via Agency, the ad agency that Klondike hired to put together their re-branding campaign, should be ashamed.

I complained, I hope you do too. Tell Klondike you won’t be buying their products because of these spots. If you’re an advertising nerd like me and you’re opposed to the ads on multiple levels (not only are they sexist and homophobic, they’re unimaginatively so), you can also scold The Via Agency. Humor ain’t hard, people. Wise up or lose business.

Do you think these ads are worse than normal, or just more blatant? And who decided that all mint flavors must forever come in fluorescent green anyway? Technicolor is for TVs, not food. Sheesh.

Fourth of July Word Vomit

4 Jul

I used to hate the Fourth of July – all those grotesque displays of blind patriotism and all, tons of hamburgers, parades (who doesn’t love a parade? Sometimes me, apparently), fireworks set off in the streets by people who obviously don’t value the sanctity of their digits. And also, there’s this:

Sociologists have critiqued nationalism for being the source of an irrational commitment and loyalty to one’s nation, a commitment that makes one willing to both die and kill.

But sinister flag-waving and irritating crowds aside, I kind of like July 4 nowadays.The weather is usually decent, there is a three-day weekend involved, there is food around, and I can’t help loving an excuse to make themed desserts. Also, it’s the biggest secular holiday in the US, which is kind of neat. No one is excluded on the basis of religion, and if you don’t celebrate it, you really needn’t squirm when someone asks you your plans – anything you do this weekend can be construed as a holiday celebration.Compare that to Easter or Christmas, where people will almost unfailingly ask you what your plans are, and when you haven’t thought ahead to have a made-up answer at the ready they look at you funny.

So here’s what I’m doing to celebrate:

  • Putting homemade ice cream in my coffee instead of cream
  • Eating pie
  • Going to a picnic later
  • Eating more pie
  • Riding the bus to where the fireworks are later
  • Taking a walk
  • Lying around making lame bulleted lists

How do you feel about patriotic holidays? Conflicted? Delighted? Grumpy? What do you do on long summer weekends, holiday or no?

    The meaning of life, at last

    8 Feb

    Imported from MySpace blog

    Bored? Read this interesting column from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

    IN CASE YOU’VE been wondering what to do with your life, John Boehner has the answer.

    House Minority Leader Boehner, a Republican congressman from Ohio, celebrated the recent passage of the economic stimulus package by saying, “The sooner we get this relief in the hands of the American people, the sooner they can begin to do their job of being good consumers.” Your title: “consumer;” your mission: “buy stuff.” Echoes of the president’s call, amid the crisis of 9/11, to get out and “shop.”

    The distance between “citizen” and “consumer” is the distance we have traveled. Where “citizen” has a certain dignity, even gravitas, carrying with it notions of responsibility and capacity for decision, “consumer” conjures something far more passive, lacking either dignity or responsibility, save responsibility to one’s self and for getting the best deal.

    Yet “consumer” has steadily infiltrated our language and become our self-designation and default definition of what it means to be a person. Group Health Cooperative, of which I am a member, does not speak of us as either patients or members, but as consumers. We are health care consumers. Higher education mutes talk of the educated person in favor of consumers of educational services and getting the best value for your education dollar. Churches gear up for “church shoppers,” religious consumers.

    The subtext of cultural change in the past 30 years has been the way the market has seeped into every sector of life and come to define how we think of who we are and what we do. We are consumers, feeding the great insatiable maw of the consumer economy.

    Is it too much to suggest that consumerism has become a kind of alternative faith, a religion of sorts? Religions are characterized by some vision of a good life, by their rituals and by a particular language. Consumerism seems to be developing all three apace.

    Consumerism’s vision of the good life is the gaining of goods and experiences. Consumerism also has its own rituals that form and promote consumer character. The acquisition of credit cards and debit cards by the young becomes some sort of rite of passage. The Friday after Thanksgiving is consumerism’s high holy day, the No. 1 shopping day of the year. How much we shop during the Christmas season is an indicator of our national health. Television offers the liturgy of consumerism 24/7, and wonder of wonders, we consent to having it piped into our homes!

    One might even do a compare- and-contrast between religion’s historic and characteristic virtues and consumerism’s virtues or qualities of character. For faith and religion, the crowning virtue is love, a capacity for other regard. For consumerism, self-regard would lead the list. No. 2 in a listing of religious virtues would be joy with the associated notion of contentment.

    Yet for consumerism, discontent is essential. One must be in a constant state of anxiety about keeping up, having the newest and the latest. Virtue No. 3 of the spiritual life is peace and harmony with others. But for consumerism, envy is to be preferred.

    The list goes on: The quality of patience is met with consumerism’s virtue of instant gratification; generosity with maximization of profit and pleasure; gentleness with the hard sell and hype; faithfulness with planned obsolescence. Finally, religion has understood self-control, imagine that, as a virtue. The good consumer learns the virtue of impulse buying.

    How we name ourselves is important. Democracy names us as “citizens.” Religion names us as “persons made in the image of God.” Each has a dignity, even a nobility, that “consumer” lacks.

    So now, because mortgage and finance companies succeeded in gaining more consumers with loans they could neither afford nor sustain, creating the subprime crisis, we have a stimulus package, a kind of consumer Viagra, to get us up and buying again. Is something wrong with this picture?

    Lent, the Christian season of penitence and self-examination, began this week. The sins to be repented are still with us: greed, envy, sloth, covetousness. Only they are no longer sins. They are the virtues of “the good consumer.”
    Anthony B. Robinson’s column appears Saturdays. He is a speaker, consultant and writer. His recent books include “Common Grace: How To Be a Person and Other Spiritual Matters,” and “Leadership for Vital Congregations.” Want to suggest ideas for future columns? He can be reached at anthonybrobinson@comcast.net.

    Perhaps it’s time for me to revive my long-forgotten habit of giving things up for Lent. Oh, Catholicism, when will you stop pestering me?

    Currently reading :
    Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

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