Marketing difficulties

Diet Dr. Pepper commercials bother me.

I don’t have a problem with Dr. Pepper. I’m not a huge fan of the taste (to me, it’s like drinking a liquid Tootsie Roll – not that there’s anything wrong with that). But I don’t dislike it either.

I don’t have a problem with Diet drinks. Some would dare to suggest that I’m addicted to a particular diet soda made by the Coca Cola Company. But I think addiction is a stretch. I can quit anytime I want. I just don’t want to.

I don’t have a problem with commercials. Not all TV spots are clever and engaging. But some are. I find myself quoting “The Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials from Dos Equis quite often (“He’s the life of parties he’s never attended.” – brilliant). And if I’m honest, I do kind of want to smell like the guy in the Old Spice commercials. (Also, I would like to borrow his pecs and abs for, say, 20 years or so.) The “Can switching to Geico…?” commercials were fun until they basically beat the concept into the ground, then dug it up out of the ground (literally) and starting beating it back into the ground again.

But Diet Dr. Pepper commercials drive me crazy.

Why?

Here’s their description: “Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like real Dr. Pepper.”

Compared to what? Cat litter? Cigarette ashes? Bleach? Whenever you say a thing is “more like” something, you have to be comparing it to something else, don’t you? For example: When someone says my son “looks more like you” to me, they are saying that he looks more like me than he does my wife. A point that I’m sure she’s more than tired of hearing after 11 years. “More like” requires an object of comparison. Diet Dr. Pepper never tells us what it is comparing itself to. Previous versions of Diet Dr. Pepper? Dos Equis? Old Spice body wash?

We never know. And that’s why it drives me crazy. It’s like it is comparing itself…to itself. And that’s not allowed is it?

It made me think of other products (real or imagined) that might have trouble in comparing itself to other products. Here’s a few I thought of…

  • The Nectar of the gods. “Try Nectar of the gods. It tastes like…well, it tastes like itself.”
  • Sliced bread. “Pick up some sliced bread. It’s the best thing since..well, since a really long time ago.”
  • Cat’s Pajamas. “Have your cat fitted for this comfy set of pajamas. They’re just the…well, they’re just really swell.”
  • The Other Side of the Pillow. “It’s cooler than the…well, it’s just super cool.”
  • Gold. “Buy gold. It’s as good as…well, it’s unbelievably good.”
  • Any picture. “You’re going to love this picture. It’s as pretty as…well, it’s lovely.”

Reminds me of life. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words how good life is. What do I have to compare it to? It’s just big. Incredibly abundant. Huge.

It’s large.

Larger than…

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Pity Party poetry

You ever felt sorry for yourself? I have. More than I’d like to admit. Found myself doing it a lot this weekend. So, of course, I wrote a poem about it. Isn’t that how everyone deals with things?

I threw a pity party for myself

Invited everyone by name

Hung streamers made from streams of tears

But no one even came

I threw a pity party for myself

And wrote it in the sky

Made a cake from sour grapes

No loyal friend stopped by

I threw a pity party for myself

Baked scones from moans and groans

Had my cake. Ate it, too

And ended up alone.

…when life gives you pity-parties, write poems about how silly and ineffective they are.

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New uniforms

Perhaps you’ve heard?

College football started back this weekend. “Toe meets leather,” as they say. Although I’m not quite sure why they say that, because if your place kicker’s toe touches the ball, he’s not very good at what he does. Nevertheless, some part of the foot (most likely instep) will definitely meet leather this weekend, kicking off another year of NCAA football.

Which has got everyone in these parts in quite the frenzy. They say folks in the South approach college football like its a religion. But that’s only accurate if we’re talking about the religion of the late middle ages when they were burning people at the stake. Religion, at least in the U.S., in the new millenium is way too refined and soft around the edges to describe the passion with which southern fans follow this sport.

I used to be that way, and still am to a degree. But I’ve been scarred over the years. Every year I got so jacked up to watch my favorite team play (THE University of Georgia), only to get my heart ripped out of my chest time and again. Year in, year out. The same way. Then I started to wonder why I got so excited about this annual heart-ripping-out process. Imagine if a guy was in love with a girl. He gave 100% of his passion and devotion to her, completely emotionally invested in her and her alone. Now picture this guy going to a dance where the girl is. In fact, every year in the fall, he goes to this dance. And every single time, his girl dances off with some other guy. And this has happened for, say, twenty years in a row. And yet, every fall, this guy gets super excited to go to the dance, just hoping against hope that this time, things will be different. This time, his girl will dance with him. Deep into the night.

And knowing that most likely he’s going to watch her break his heart yet again.

This is similar what it’s like to be a college football fan. Some people have been chosen to dance. But the vast majority of us sit along the outside walls, wishing we knew what it was like.

So I don’t get as excited as I used to. You could say I’m jaded, and maybe I am. But I would argue that I’m just a bit more balanced than I used to be. I still go to the dance, but I’m not nearly as emotionally invested as I once was. My heart can only take so much.

But I think I’m in the minority with this whole less-emotionally-invested thing. Most fans are so wrapped up in their team’s fate that they can’t be objective about anything. And they have strong opinions about everything that’s related to their school. A great example of this is the uniforms that teams wear. Fairly recently, Nike began contracting with several schools a year to develop a “Pro Combat” uniform that selected teams would agree to wear for at least one game during a season.

This year, Georgia was chosen. The uniforms were revealed about two weeks ahead of the first game. And, man, did people have opinions. Most of them weren’t very positive. For days, time, energy, and words were invested in talking about whether or not people liked the uniforms. A lot of people have very strong thoughts on the matter.

Me? It doesn’t really matter. The outcome is all I’m worried about. They could wear Hazmat suits or Elf costumes for all I care. Just win the game.

It reminded me that we place way too much emphasis on outward appearance. And about how that completely misses the point. In our culture, it’s all about what you wear and how you look. Which is a shame, because there are a lot of beautiful hearts out there that get over looked because the clothes covering them don’t have designer labels on them. And there are some hearts that are so cold and/or corrupt that it doesn’t matter how expensive the threads are that lay over the top. A lot of big hearts get lost in a plain appearance, and a lot of callous hearts get a pass based on physical attractiveness. That’s the way of things. It’s part of the reality of being human.

I’m just glad God doesn’t think that way.

Seems that all He’s concerned with is how you play the game.

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