If you’ve watched any TV recently, I’m sure you’ve seen the Dr. Pepper ads like the one below. These spots promote Dr. Pepper TEN and feature a burly, Paul Bunyan-esque figure combined with Beastmaster.
If you’re paying attention, this is not the first campaign the soda company has run for this low-calorie beverage targeted to men. In October of 2011, I wrote about the dubious use of the tagline “It’s Not for Women,” as well as the testosterone-fueled messaging that produced commercials featuring commandos in mock movies talking up the diet soda. I was certain that the tone of messaging and lack of originality would spell certain doom. Yet, even after that stink bomb, it seems the marketing team talked its way into a Round Two to further bury the soda.
Unfortunately for all of us, the second concept suffers the same fate as the first – lack of any innovation. Both ideas are a clear reaction to the successful Old Spice campaign (rip-off is such an ugly word).
Here, the lumberjack version tries to further tap into the off-kilter, yet compelling approach of Old Spice, but still falls flat (see bear suit). Consumers have seen this tactic before, so any second-rate attempt to seem edgy while pushing a product is going to leave a bitter taste in people’s mouths (think aspartame).
Product-focused companies, like movie studios, want to run with the lowest-risk ideas as possible, usually falling back on what has been done before (hello, comic book hero du jour).
It is that same fear of failure that dooms many campaigns because they don’t take any chances. Blazing a trail isn’t cheap, but neither is coming up with lame campaign after lame campaign. Dr. Pepper has produced iconic ads before, so I’m hopeful for Round Three. How about a new direction, folks? Maybe some original thinking?
Back in the 1930′s, as more and more folk had access to motorized transit, roadside attractions started popping up all over America. Enterprising towns began littering the sides of the roads with billboards and signs, hoping curious travelers would take a moment and divert off the beaten path, bringing their wallets in tow. Whether it be a restaurant shaped like a giant shoe or a 20 foot statute of a can of soup, oddities like these meant a much needed influx of tourism generated income.
Once the U.S. Interstate started up in the mid-1950s, the majority of roadside attractions saw a quick and devastating decline in visits. Most began collecting dust, fell into disrepair or were torn down.
Those that survived these decidedly lean decades were ultimately rewarded with an uptick in visits, fueled by the dawn of the internet era. Now, roadside attractions, truly a part of Americana, continue to lure motorists off the big highways so they can post a picture of themselves next to a giant fiberglass baked potato on Instagram.
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another Eating Styles poll. This week’s subject: SPAM. It’s the meat that comes in a can, yet so much more. Monty Python has a song about it. In the 1940s, Americans associated eating it with being patriotic. Hawaiians go nuts for it. They even have a whole museum dedicated to this quintessential mystery meat.
Just what is it about SPAM? How could a food so inherently fishy attain such popularity in our burgeoning farm-to-table, Paleo-dieting culture? Maybe you’re not impressed. Maybe you don’t like SPAM or the idea of SPAM. Well here is your chance to speak out. Vote yes or no for SPAM below and explain your answer in the comments.
I think I’ve had Arby’s no more than twice in my life. Part of the reason is because I have never lived near one. Also I’ve just never thought, ‘Wow, that [insert Arby's menu item] sounds fantastic and I need to drive out of my way to have it.’ The only time I ever hear about it is through advertisements. People must eat there or else it wouldn’t exist, but Arby’s just doesn’t get much hype.
With that being said, I have nothing against Arby’s. For the most part, through reviews I’ve read, it would seem some of their stuff is pretty high quality. Now the general feeling is also that it seems to be somewhat spendy, but at least no one’s bashing their food. I’ve read good things about the turkey items, curly fries, and jamocha shake, among others. I’ve even received coupon sheets in the mail on occasion, and I love me some good coups. Still, none of that has compelled me to give it a try.
That is, until Arby’s sent me a couple of gift cards to try the new King’s Hawai’ian Roast Beef and Swiss. If you don’t know about King’s Hawai’ian rolls, you’re missing out. They’re sweet, buttery, fluffy and yet somehow dense…I could go on. They are perfect for slider-sized sandwiches (ham, mayo and mustard is my favorite), or just buttered. They’re even good plain. Of course, when I heard about the new sandwich I thought it sounded pretty good, but I wasn’t planning to try it until they offered to give me one for free. Who’s poor and fat and thus can’t pass up a free sammy? That would be this guy. [Read more →]
I have tried boiled peanuts in the past. At least 20 years ago, at some gas station in South Carolina, I think. I hated them. Since then, I have used them as a measuring stick to describe other items that were bland and mealy. I figured enough time has passed that it was time to give them another chance. I saw these Peanut Patch Boiled Peanuts in a can on the shelf and had to go for it.
I opened the can and gave it the sniff test. No real strong scent to speak of: mostly salt water with a hint of peanut. More of a grassy smell than what you may think of as “peanut”.
They didn’t look particularly good, but canned foods rarely do.
The can gave me a couple of options for my tasting pleasure. “Open can and eat” or “Open can, heat, drain, and then eat.” I went for both. I grabbed one out of the can, smushed open the shell, and popped it into my mouth.
I was completely unprepared for the level of salt. It wasn’t overwhelming, but I expected something completely bland, so any flavor was a surprise. Without roasting, it still doesn’t scream “peanut,” but it was not bad at all. The texture was still a bit mushy, but I think maybe it is the canning process that renders them more like a canned chick pea than fresh boiled peanuts. Which is to say, they had more of a firm bite to them them than the grainy, mealy texture I remembered. I took the remainder and heated them in the microwave for two minutes in their brine.
Heating and draining the brine made them even better. It didn’t change much in texture, but the heat enhanced the flavor and brought out a bit more of the taste of the peanut itself. I was really pleasantly surprised by these briny beauties. I can see adding them in to something like a 3 bean salad for an interesting textural element and a burst of salty flavor.
Peanut Patch canned boiled peanuts get a surprising “Try It.”