Saturday, April 07, 2007

Chit Chat

Hey People, (Bri-guy)

So yeah it looks like there's a new trend in marketing. The first time I noticed it was from a box a french fries I purchased.

The box said things like "You're different. That's why you chose me. Because you're smart. Because these fries are golden, delicious, and just waiting to be eaten."

The text went on too. There was a whole paragraph of dialog that was ostensibly directed toward me and me alone. The box of fries seemingly wanted to be my friend. The box of fries was talking to me like I was his "buddy". The box of fries wanted to not only be eaten, but it wanted to "hang with me" as well. The box thought we could do some bonding in our short time together, form a personal connection. The box thought that maybe if it could make a friend out of me, then maybe I would be a friend to the entire franchise of this particular fast food eatery. The words were so personal, so warm, so much like real chit-chat. I half expected the box to scribble out a phone number and hand it to me.

"You see that extra long fry, the one that's extra crispy. Before you eat it, check out the digits. Call me?"

Then I got to thinking. There have to be at least several million of these boxes, and there's no way this chain spent the money to customize each one. So that means that millions of french fry consumers are reading this one batch of dialog. And that means that the group of marketing executives who came up with this idea think that it's gonna work. That if they put some words on a cardboard sleeve, that people will bond with the words, and come back to enjoy more fries and banter with the packaging. That these consumers will become every marketers cream dream, what they call "brand loyal".

So these marketers are under the impression that a single set of words printed on packaging will form a bond with each and every customer that reads them. They think that nobody will see through these efforts as patronizing and condescending. They think we are stupid. They think we are so stupid that we won't even notice that the writing on the fry box doesn't make the fries taste any better. They think we are so stupid that we'll actually believe the fry box is our friend! That every person who reads these words will think to themselves,

"You know, I do love WacArnold's. They've always been good to me. They're just such a friendly company. And I do relate to the chit-chat on the box. The fry box is right! These fries are delicious and just waiting to be eaten! I am smart! I did choose you! This fry box is just like a real friend, I could even add them to my MySpace page! Maybe this box will give me a ride to the airport next weekend! And then it'll help me move! I can cry on it's shoulder when I'm feeling down! The hot grease stains might burn my cheek a little, but I just like this cardboard so much, it would drive me to the hospital right?"

And the worst part is, the trend is growing. More and more packaging is adopting a personal tone. More and more inanimate mass-produced consumer goods are trying to strike-up a conversation. This can mean only one thing; the unholy predatory profit-driven demons that came up with this strategy believe that it's working. They put these words out there, and the sales climb.

Are we as consumers really that stupid?

Are we as consumers really that lonely?

Marcus Singer


At 7:29 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Whoa, I've never had a blog addressed to me. Thanks! I agree, it is disconcerting to have a meaningful relationship with a box of fries. I try to avoid it at all costs. It always ends up messy. And I hate guerilla marketing, too.


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