From the category archives:

marketing at work

Unknown Mami Here is another edition of I Comment Therefore I Am, following the footsteps of the great Unknown Mammi.

In this era of information overload, in a lot of the news blogs, especially political news blogs, comments are often the best part. Sometimes the scariest part. The comment section is like a looking glass through which you get a glimpse into what the other end of the spectrum is really thinking, under the cloak of anonymity. Wouldn’t you know that comments are also the best part in product review websites?

Amazon.com.

Bet you did not know the fun you would encounter by prowling the world’s largest retail store. Here is one that has become a legend, a pop culture reference:

Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee: BEST comments? You bet'ya!

As of now, there are 1,657 customer reviews of this shirt. WHAT? Yup.

In November 2008, one genius shopper, or social commentator, wrote a smashing, rave review of this shirt, which has since garnered 222 comments. More than that, 17,617 of 17,783 people found the review helpful. Sheer number counts make this review a force to be reckoned with. The popularity of the review and the number of imitators propelled this shirt to some Geek Stardom. Case in point: The final episode of The Office when Pam and Jim got hitched? Dwight was wearing this shirt when he proudly declared that he would be at the bar to pick up the ladies.

The review is funny as hell. Read on:

“This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that’s when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to ‘howl at the moon’ from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn’t have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn’t settle for the first thing that comes to him…” (Continue reading)

Satirical, rave reviews are often done to highlight the ridiculousness of the high price asked for the product. For this $500 audio cable, Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable, dueling reviews have been written: Yes! It solved Global Warming! and No! It caused alien invasion!

I know. Some people have way too much time on their hands. Speaking of people with too much time AND money on their hands… SOMEONE alerted me to this Land Cruiser for sale. At $19,999.95 it is a steal, won’t you say? But the reviews are priceless.

JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank: I think this is an ACTUAL product and not meant to be a joke...

You know how I love making a point when given the chance, therefore when I saw how much the baby bath book is fetching…

If this is not a WTF moment, I don't know what is...

I had some fun…

Product reviews as a new form of satire. What has the world come to? Guilty as charged...

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Veterans Day.

I always thought it is a fitting coincidence that Veterans Day falls in November, right before Thanksgiving.

As you know, Veterans Day is celebrated in other parts of the world.  On November 11, 1918, at 11 am (Paris time), the Germans signed the Armistice that officially ended World War I.  The day was originally celebrated as Armistice Day (also as Remembrance Day in Europe).  In 1954, the U.S. Congress passed and amended an act to officially make November 11 the Veterans Day, honoring all veterans, and not just those who served in World War I. What took them so long?!

I don’t think I will be able to say anything more eloquently, more heartfelt, than this blog post, “The Greatest Casualty is to be Forgotten“. As she put it so well, you don‘t have to support war to support a Veteran.

Thus begins my tirade against the demise of the significance of Thanksgiving in the face of overwhelming commercialism…

Are you ready for this?

I started campaigning for a forced postponement, a temporary deferral, of celebrating Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving Day four years ago.  I even registered for the domain name: BringBackThanksgiving.com (which is still available… Any takers?)  I stopped paying for it after two years when I realized that with a full time job and three boys to take care of, I simply did not have the capacity to deal with Microsoft FrontPage. (Yikes. Do you remember the days, the days before Blogger, WordPress, etc. when one had to use a software such as FrontPage in order to have one’s own website? *shudder*)

“Curb your enthusiasm!” I beseech you.  “As you recover from the sugar high from all the Halloween candies.  As you dispose of the spider webs, the goblins, the mummy tombs, the rotten carved pumpkins.”

Please, oh, please don’t switch directly from Orange and Black to Red and Green.  However tempting it is when you move all the Halloween boxes down to your basement and see all the Christmas boxes beckoning at you. The smiling Santa with the chubby cheeks.  The snowman. The reindeer.  Resist the temptation: Didn’t Jesus die on the cross partly to teach us this lesson?  Be strong for the sake of your children.

The children need you to show them that, Yes, you believe in the meaning and significance of Thanksgiving Day. Yes, it is important that we take one day out to deliberately remember and show gratitude to all the people who add meanings to our lives, to all the material goods that we are blessed enough to own. To strangers who give you a smile in the street and thus brighten your day. To strangers who by merely doing their jobs are making the world a better, safer place.

My heart aches upon seeing houses adorned with Christmas lights right after, sometimes even before, Halloween.  Of course I am not intimating that the homeowners are therefore not thankful.  No siree.  I am simply dismayed that the significance of Thanksgiving, the arguably ONE holiday that we should all be able to agree on and celebrate, is undermined sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas.

(I admit: I may be putting my foot in my mouth by saying this. I have no clear idea how the native Americans take this holiday though I suspect there must be a lot of conflicting feelings. Do they sometimes wish that Squanto were not so kind as to assist the pilgrims? FWIW, by reading “Thanksgiving: A Native American View” and “Teaching About Thanksgiving“, I am convinced that Thanksgiving is indeed deeper and bigger than just the Pilgrims and the Indians… I hope I do not offend should anyone of Native American descent stops by this post…)

I blame the turkey.

You heard me right. It is the turkey’s fault. In terms of merchandising, turkeys are just not as attractive as say, bunnies, chicks, Santa Clause, snowman, reindeer, and so on.  I have not seen any child hugging a plush Turkey toy lovingly.

turkey

To be honest, that red thing hanging down the throat freaks me out.  Pardon me for being crass, but it always reminds me of testicles. I don’t know why. But it does.

Many, especially Hallmark (bless their heart!), have tried to turn the turkey into an adorable icon:  but seriously, how adorable can you make a turkey?

Turkey for eating

Even more sickening is that in these cutesy depictions of turkeys, they are all forced to celebrate the event in which they will be slaughtered, cooked and eaten! The abomination!

No cute icons, no easy way for merchandising. No easy way for merchandising, no rampant commidification of Thanksgiving. No rampant commidification of Thanksgiving, no shelf space at your local drugstores and grocery stores.

(I am grateful for no longer being in the academia which affords me the opportunity to posit theories full of holes and preaches them on the Internet with no qualms… I am like Glenn Beck on an anti-Turkey path…)

But with your help, we can stem the tide.  We can start it from inside of our homes.

Perhaps we can all start a tradition of having each one of the family members mention one thing that they are grateful for, every day, in the month of November.  No matter how small or how trivial.

Perhaps we can start a quiet movement to resist the Red and Green color scheme from popping up inside of our own houses. Until the day after Thanksgiving.

On the morning of November 27 this year, I am moving up the Christmas Tree from our basement first thing in the morning.  I am really looking forward to it. And to optimize my effort of transforming my house into a winter wonderland for Christmas, I shall keep the decorations up until after Valentine’s day. Thank goodness for the lllloooonnnngggg winter here. That is, of course, until one of you starts a campaign for bringing back Valentine’s Day…


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Let me start this post by saying that we are a Lego family.  With 3 boys in the household – my 2 sons and my one husband, our floor used to be covered with Lego pieces when they were little (the kids, not the husband).  Later, a home-made Lego table was the mainstay in the living room, also covered with Lego pieces, and at one time, Lego train tracks, until the kids decided to use the train and tracks as launching pad for Lego people…

We love Legos.   We are not embarrassed to admit that we still play with Legos ourselves.  We don’t make fun of people who love Legos, or trains for that matter.  Yada yada yada.  You get the drift.

Then I saw this today on Amazon.com (or as one of my good friends calls them, The Evil Empire…)

LEGO Town Plan

I was utterly disturbed.

Is this a joke?  Is it Photoshopped?  Is it me?  Doesn’t that seem like a parallel to “Could you come and help me look for my puppy?”

I showed it to my 11 year-old, and the first thing he said was, “Wow.  I have no life.  I play with Lego all day!”

Then he went back to his Mindstorms.   (Yeah. I love me some good irony too…)

Has the marketing department at Lego lost their marbles?  Or, in this case, their blocks?

Much to my embarrassment and relief, google is once again my friend, and I found the truth behind the

The Special 50th Anniversary Edition Lego!

My bad…  The guy?  He is the owner of the Lego company Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (yeah, no kidding. Try and say that name 3 times…) aka Lego founder’s grandson who appeared as a kid on the original Town Plan box and now returns on this 50th anniversary special edition!

Somehow I suspect that he does indeed “have no life” because he’s too busy running a global company and thinking up ways to reinvent Lego year after year, and that he does “play with Lego all day”.

The rest of us are just jealous.

To redeem myself from the over-rampant cynicism, I shall seek solace in this oldie but goodie:

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In honor of International Bacon Day: Bacon Flavored Lip Balm!

September 7, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet I know I am late to the party. But here is my motto as a good wife and good mother: Family First, and Bacon Second… September 6, 2009 was the Second International Bacon Day.  And of course, in case you, like I, wondered, there is a blog dedicated to this much celebrated holiday. How […]

Announcing my new project: Bacon-flavored Vodka…

August 30, 2009 marketing at work

Tweet Apparently Pork-flavored Vodka is gaining some traction now in the Northeast, originated from Seattle, more specifically, the Seattle-based Black Rock Spirits.  According to this online article, Bacon-Flavored Vodka: What’s Next? Eggs Bourbon? , BAKON, the vodka with an oink in it, is getting some dedicated followers because people just love bacon. Thanks to the […]

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“You know, if only I could just make a decent cup of coffee, I could relax!”

August 25, 2009 marketing at work

Tweet If you really want to contextualize the social and cultural circumstances in which this Folgers commercial was made, then we can all go back to school and read upon all the feminist histories and theories. But this commercial simply makes me laugh out loud. It makes us feel better about ourselves, about how far […]

1 comment

Do you feel guilty buying name brand products instead of the cheaper, generic, ones?

July 25, 2009 marketing at work

Tweet Well, I do. Especially after watching the Rosanne episode of Home-Ec where she gave Darlene’s home-ec class a field trip to the grocery store, I’ve always felt quite guilty reaching for the NAME BRAND product instead of the generic, store-brand next to it, the one that is shouting loudly from its display: COMPARE TO […]

3 comments

VeggieTales: Faith + Clean Sense of Humor sells OR Marketing Lesson 101

June 22, 2009 marketing at work

Tweet Ah, VeggieTales. After more than a decade, I am still marveled at their success. I am sure a lot of people watching their explosive success, have banged their heads against the wall, wailing, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Since 2006, the animated veggies (with very expressive eyes and mouths since they have no […]

Red Bull milk shake? Just seems wrong…

May 23, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

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Speaking of tourist trap, how about let’s just forgo all pretenses, and admit that this is all for commercialism

March 30, 2009 marketing at work

Tweet and souvenir shopping is the main reason why you are all here? The exhibit of the Emperor Sedan is now directly inside this souvenir shop. Pay and you get to have a picture taken with it, up close and personal. Pay more you get to move to the left side, where you can dress […]