Saturday, December 23, 2006

Before You Bash B2B...

I know, I know: in the wrong hands, business to business marketing can be about as stimulating as...well, name something that's not at all stimulating. But lest we lose hope in the face of yet another B2B company positioning itself as a "solutions provider," it's heartening to ponder some of the more vapid marketing campaigns and product ideas from our brethern on the consumer side.

No doubt some of these gems have made the cash registers sing like Pavarotti. But that doesn't them hurt any less. To wit:

1) Airborne Cold Remedy - The campaign for this miracle drug was impossible to miss a couple years ago—and impossible to fathom. Tell me again why it's a good thing that this product was invented by a 2nd grade teacher? I know my family doctor—and for that matter, my cardiologist, proctologist and dentist, too—won't prescribe any drug that didn't come to life in Mrs. Crabtree's R&D lab. Who needs Merck and Pfizer anyway?

2) NASCAR Cologne - Mmmm, smell the vapor lock. What woman can resist a man who smells like he's been in a fireproof jumpsuit for two hours in 120 degree heat? So what's next? NASCAR tomatoes? Wait...they already have that. My bad.

3) Kiss Wine - Before you can rock n roll all nite, you must party every day. And nothing gets the party started like something from the casks of America's premier greasepaint-wearing vintners. Wine Spectator gives Gene, Ace, Paul and Peter a 90 for their pyrotechnics and platform shoes, but a mere 34 for their Pinot Grigio. Don't despair, though: the bottle features the image of their classic 1976 LP Destroyer. Hard core stoners will want to check out the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon wine, while those still feeling randy in the 47-65 demo can sample a glass of Rolling Stones or Madonna.

4) Ask Lesko - It was bad enough having to watch the commercials. Imagine my horror at finding out he's a fellow alum of Marquette University. My personal issues aside, which is worse: the fact that apparently, zillions of government dollars are sitting there waiting for the taking? Or the fact that someone's making a living by publishing a treasure map to take you to the loot? Then again, given Lesko's slobbering enthusiasm, I might just go for the French chef certification, the PhD and the G.E.D!

5) Snuggle Bear - Admittedly, I was never the target audience for this one. And Unilever's no doubt been too busy laughing all the way to the bank the last 20+ years to give a rip what I think.

6) Earl Scheib - Uncle Charlie from My Three Sons meets Mickey the trainer from the Rocky movies. If this sounds to you like a formula for TV spot gold, head immediately to the front of your advertising class! If you didn't know any better, you would have thought Earl was just another local businessman who decided he wanted to be a local TV star, too. Gravelly voice. Frightening, manic demeanor. And a buzzcut like the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket. But this was no podunk pitchman: Earl Scheib was nationwide, baby! He would paint any car for $99.95 and then $109.95 and then $139.95 and so on, as time passed.

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