It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...


Pepsi's latest effort to completely plaster South Station with ads for its product (as have Apple, Dewar's, Apple, and Apple) is nothing less than a spectacular failure. For one, they're not advertising their product but the brand, and their new re-branding. I hate advertising simply a brand. I know. I am a literalist when it comes to advertising. I like being reassured that the product I am buying is good and that it will do what they say it will do, whether that promise is to taste good or or make the car go or get me clean. I'd prefer not to worship at the altar of a logo designed by committee.

Apparently, however, Pepsi loves it when people do just that, and they are so worried that nobody will take a shine to its new Obama-like Yes We Aluminum Can globe logo -- which I shall now refer to as (/) -- that they have decided to plaster South Station big bright cheerful banners displaying big bright cheerful colors and big bright cheerful words, and stick the (/) in the words where the Os should be. At no time do they think to ask us where we think they should stick the (/), which may actually be the only smart thing they've done here.

The most glaring problem shows up in the Big Room of South Station, where there are humongous banners the size of pickup trucks emblazoned simply with the word P(/)P. Did Pepsi neglect to do any kind of market research before throwing these banners all around? This is New England. The preferred nomenclature, Dude, is "soda". If you're a truly hardcore New Englander and do your shopping at spas, however, you'll call it "tonic" and even that's still a far cry from "pop". Maybe there was a mixup and the "S(/)DA" banners were accidentally sent to Minneapolis where right now someone is sitting at their keyboard, scratching their head, and writing "What the heck?"

The argument could be made that they're trying to convey "P(/)P ART", but if so, it's not very good art. All kinds of happy happy joy joy phrases shine around the station, from "H(/)(/)RAY" to "JUMP F(/)R J(/)Y" to the enigmatic "L(/)VETC." That last one is a real mind-boggler, honestly. I can't tell if it's a concession to someone in Marketing who just couldn't bear to see the word L(/)VE go out on its own, or if it's someone's blasé suggestion for the list: "Yeah, don't forget to include Love or somesuch bull. You know, love, etc. Blah blah blah." (I am told LOVETC. is a fine romantic comedy though, but I'd probably only watch it if it was the only inflight movie available to me and I had finished my airplane book already.)

Criminy, whatever happened to the simple and catchy "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot"? (It probably went to the same place where people still consider twelve full ounces as "that's a lot". I don't think anybody drinks under 64 fluid ounces these days. Beverage Boy certainly doesn't.)

They also came up with the brilliant idea of sticking signs reading MAMB(/) and TANG(/) on the escalator hallway, and putting cute little dance step charts on the floor. Look! Pepsi says. We made an interactive ad! People will come from all over to try out the dance steps on the floor and giggle a l(/)t! It's so clever, we could just hug (/)urselves!

Clever it might be, but they put these dance charts at the bottom of the escalators. Yeah. Just think about it for a moment, and then insert your face snugly into the center of your outstretched palm. Maybe they thought they could shut off the escalators and turn them into dance chart lines. I dunno.

All logistical idiocy aside, the chief failing of the BIG HAPPY W(/)RDS campaign is its irony-free simplicity. We are not bombarded with BUY BUY BUY as we stroll through South Station trying to avoid as much eye contact as possible, but instead with bright reassuring colors and HAPPY words. It feels like a brainwashing straight out of a future dystopia. Like we're wearing Rowdy Roddy Piper's sunglasses from They Live, only instead of tinted dark they've got those hippy prism overlays on them to make everything look shiny and happy. Pepsi knows the average commuter's state of being by the time they make it to South Station -- numb, slackjawed, zombielike, and that's both coming and going -- so the ad placement ensures we'll absorb these messages better. Grunt. Gnrrr. That sign says X(/)X(/)X(/). Whatevszzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I'm sure these signs will eventually be replaced by something equally as inane or moreso, but right now, man, do they suck out loud. Just wanted to let you all know.

Me, I drink Diet Dr. Pepper. But only because the TV told me to.

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