Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bush's Days are Numbered, Literally

Taking a political cue from my friend Rich's blog (Criteria for Impeachment), I decided to write a small post about something I found in the mall while shopping the other day which confirmed the state of Mr. Bush's popularity. It still baffles me how it seems, at least in my daily life, that Bush denouncers outnumber Bush supporters about 100-1, yet he was elected not once but TWICE. It still baffles me that this man most likely holds the record as being the most loathed and hated U.S. President in the history of our country, and yet he still gleefully holds the reigns of our lives. "The most hated President? Isn't that a bit harsh?" you might say (you probably wouldn't, but you might just to keep the conversation going). Well, look, every President in my recent memory has had his fair share of foibles, and subsequently has been ripped apart by the media, late-night talk show hosts, and stand-up comedians worldwide. It comes with the territory, and Bush is no different. But what makes him stand out, however, is the LEVEL of abuse he elicits. Never before have I seen so many anti-presidential memorabilia sold in stores; entire books written JUST about a President's lack of verbal skills; movies made about a President's alleged involvement in terrorist activities, and now, this:

A calendar dedicated solely to counting down the final days of a President's reign of terror. Priceless. It's non-aggressive protestation at it's finest, and really gives a new literal meaning to the phrase "his days are numbered". What I found even funnier, however, was while looking for an image of this year's calendar, I discovered that for the past several years this company has put out this calendar, slowly counting down the days until this man is finally and forcefully removed from office. Now how many Presidents have you known to evoke this kind of animosity from the American people?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Got a Buck? Go Elsewhere

Throughout my many years in the publishing and advertising fields, I've learned and accepted this simple fact: clients and advertisers love to idiot-proof the hell out of their advertisements. "If we don't put the price 10 times bigger than the rest of the type, they'll think it's free"; "If we don't put our name and phone number 15 different places, they won't know who to call..."; "More color means more sales, add more color!" So it really cracks me up when I see marketing that completely abandons this concept. Case in point: I came across a store in a strip mall yesterday whose name pretty much said it all: "Things Over $1.00". Yes, that was the name of the store; it was not just a sign in the window, it was not in front of a single aisle; you have Target, you have Best Buy, and you have Things Over $1.00. Just the title alone made my eyes roll in astonishment, wondering what chimp got paid millions of dollars for that genius bit of marketing. But it's the implication that really gets me. Things over $1. They sell things that cost more than a dollar. Doesn't really leave much out, does it? I mean, does that imply that I can go in there and buy, say, a phone, or a pool, or a welcome mat, or a motorcycle, or a beret, or an air conditioner, or a couch, or a suit, or a python, or a calendar, or a shovel, or a hamburger, or a set of speakers? Last I checked these things all cost more than a dollar, so hypothetically I should be able to find any one of these items there. What am I supposed to expect to buy when walking into this store?

Finally, a true one-stop shopping experience

I mean, I get it. I know what they're trying to do. They're in the same field as those "99¢ Stores" and "Under $1" places. But there are two flaws in their strategy: First off, The whole appeal of a "99¢ store" is just that: everything is 99 cents. You can go in with a few bucks and leave with several things. It's almost like a garage sale, without worrying about whose feet those nailclippers touched last. What exactly is the appeal of a store that touts everything in their store as costing "over a dollar"? Sure it could mean some things are, like, $1.09, but it also means some might be $2.09, or $4.99, or $9.99. At that point they're really no better than any other store that sells low-end crap, so why bother?
The second point is simply this: it's a grim reminder of today's economic environment. Over at the Thymenage blog, Steve wrote about a similar phenomenon having to do with gumball machines and the inflation from 10 cents to 25 cents to now up to 50 cents plus, all for the same crap you got 15 years ago. Click here to read. This is similar to the trend we're seeing here: first the "Under $1" store, then the "99¢" Store, now the "Over $1" Store. I for one am putting my foot down here and now; I refuse to shop at any crappy merchandise establishment selling their cheap sub-standard goods for anything over a dollar! Join me, and we'll ensure a future free of overpriced knick-knacks and clothes hangars, knock-off batteries and plastic tools.