from the "MarketingStuff" Dept.

2009
Feb
1

I Don’t Know Jack Anymore…

Jack Cheezburger
(see more burger mascots at “Icon Has Cheezburger”)

I know Jack in the Box. I have had a long and, shall we say, checkered relationship with the chain of fast fooderies. I worked at one while in College. I have driven through for more Jumbo Jacks than I can count and have never given up on the 2-for-99-cent tacos (truly the West Coast/Mexican Food answer to White Castle sliders). I have worn the Jack-Head Antenna Ball proudly when I had a car with a vertical antenna. And in 2006, I included the chain’s boss/mascot in my list of The Biggest Bad Clowns for MSNBC.COM, for which there were serious ramifications.

I have long felt that the chain’s commercials were the best in its business (sorry, Burger King & Bogusky) with CEO Jack doing a perfect deadpan through scenarios personal and corporate that were even more absurd than he was, while skillfully tied in to one menu item or another. If Carl’s Jr. consistently crossed the line into tastelessness, Jack toe-danced on that fine line like the Ballet Trockadero. Examples follow:

(This one had the added benefit of getting a pissy Bad PR response from Carl’s Jr.)

Okay, get the message? They’re funny, and they help you overlook any doubts about what’s in the meat. But during the 43rd Super Bowl (in regions where Jack has locations), the Jack Box character jumped the shark AND nuked the fridge by getting hit by a bus.

Yes, that was an url at the end of the spot for HangInThereJack.com, where they are blogging video clips on an hourly basis that whipsaw from the grim to to the silly. At first, they had a ‘message box’ in the now blank left column where you could leave your condolences, but I’m sure that got way out of bounds very quickly. As a whole, this stunt comes across as so tasteless that the muscles in my face I use when cringing are getting sore. If BK, Carl’s and In-and-Out joined forces, they couldn’t do worse.

One interesting hint in the ongoing ‘story’ is the repetition of the phrase “massive head trauma”. Could this whole thing be a set-up for a redesign of the Jack Box character with a smaller, less plastic, more naturally human head? I don’t see how that could redeem this awful mess, and I have a lot of trouble imagining Jack looking differently than he has the last umpteen years (Before his revival as “CEO Jack”, the “clown head you talked to” at the drive thru was much uglier). I’d hate to think they’re taking a long-running successful commercial formula and… throwing it under the bus.

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
2008
Sep
5

More AZMP3 CHEAPness

If your first Radiohead album was a free “In Rainbows” (like me), then it makes perfect sense to get “OK Computer” for $1.99 Commission Link Also good if your current mp3s of that album are under 256Kbwhatevers. VERY limited time offer. September 5th and probably most of the 6th.

I’m also sincerely tempted by Steve Miller’s Greatest Hits for $5 (through the weekend), even though it is Steve Miller, one of the cheeziest pop acts of the ’70s… I need to check my collection for cheeze content – make sure this doesn’t raise my cholesterol to a dangerous level.

UPDATE: How did I not notice this? $5 Mitch Hedburg comedy!

2008
Aug
26

Steely Damn!

I confess to being semi-addicted to Amazon.com’s MP3 Download Daily Deals (upper left hand corner) at which entire albums I may not already possess in digital form are made available for $1.99 or $2.99 (an excellent MP3 price point for cheapskates and content moochers). I didn’t check it out yesterday, but today when I hit the MP3 Home Page, I saw the Daily Deal was some heavy metal mess for $3.99 but the #1 downloaded artist was Steely Dan. I wondered if they had suddenly released a new album or -ruhroh- if there was some new interest in them because one or both of the duo had just died. Well, the answer was farther down the page when I saw that “Aja” was the top downloaded album and clicking the link saw that it was yesterday’s daily deal for 99 cents (that’s all seven 4-to-8-minute long songs) and they hadn’t put the price back up yet! I have to say, if you don’t already love the Dan and have “Aja”, this is THE best gateway drug to a Steely Dan addiction. They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues.

Also a good deal (from last Friday’s $5 deals but not yet re-upped in price): The Very Best of the Beach Boys. 30 BB tunes for $5 (even if one of them is “Kokomo”) is a good deal, and should provide the right amount of ’60s surf music to anyone’s shuffle mix.

But hurry, both the Dan and the Boys are up past their official expiration time for the special price and I would NOT recommend even “Aja” at 99 cents a song. But if you haven’t checked out the Amazon MP3 Deals Page, it has some free tracks too. And nothing beats free (and LEGAL!).

DISCLAIMER: I am an Amazon Affiliate and I have pimped out all the links (even the heavy metal mess) so that if you use them to buy something I get a kickback. Of course, for a 99-cent-special, that kickback is really really trivial, but as I said before, I believe in Financial Transparency.

UPDATE: It’s too late. It’s over. “Aja” has returned to its regular price of $6.93 (99 cents per each of 7 tracks) and “The Best of the Beach Boys” is now $7.99 (which for 29 songs plus “Kokomo” is still a pretty good deal).

2008
Jun
30

CardBot

Put this on your list of Creepiest Corporate Mascots: The Cyborg/Mecha/Robo-banker character promoting Capital One’s “Card Lab”. ESPECIALLY when he’s standing next to the cute kittehs on the custom card example.
CardLab Guy
Still, his body/armor/costume does look totally plastic, so that’s appropriate.
Let’s try something…
CardLab RedRobot
Pretty good fit.

2007
Dec
31

Predictions for 2008

Yes, my experience with my 2007 predictions have not discouraged me from getting back on that horse and going back out on a limb (hmmm… I’m beginning to get an idea what I did wrong) with Wendell’s Fearless and Feckless Prognostications for 2008… Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.

2007
Dec
30

Un-Predictable

When I made Predictions for 2007 (and more), I was quietly hoping that everything would be forgotten by the end of the year. And I would have gotten away with it too, except for that meddling Miss Cellania.

Okay, let’s see how I did… Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.

2007
May
8

My Personal Number

The big freaking deal over that 32-digit hexadecimal that turned out to be the key to copy protection on them newfangled HD-DVDs and the failed attempt to rebottle that genie has produced an interesting side-effect – the promotion of the idea of owning your own 128-bit number!

I, for myself, don’t want some randomly generated number. I want something meaningful. And since for me, funny is very important, I want to put together the funniest set of hexadecimals possible.

Here goes:

37 – recognized by many as the funniest number, used everywhere from “Clerks” to “The Price Is Right” for comic effect

42 – Douglas Adams’ Answer to the Ultimate Question About Life the Universe and Everything… but WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?

4F – having A-F available in hex allows us to use things like this classic designation for ‘unfit to join the army’, used frequently in WWII-era cartoons

69 – For its obvious sexual reference

86 – Maxwell Smart’s Agent number as well as an old slang code for being shut out

96 – It’s 69 for the celibate (or just incompetent)

A0 – numeric equivalent of Ed McMahon’s call-out to Johnny Carson “Hey-O!”

BC – although Johnny Hart became less funny as he became more pious, the Golden Age of the BC comic was great

I don’t need to limit myself to 2-digit combinations, so…
667 – the Neighbor of the Beast (technically across the street from the Beast, but more obvious than 668)

789 – punchline to a classic children’s joke “Why was 6 afraid of 7?” “Because 7 8 9”

AD0 – from Shakespeare’s comedy “Much ___ About Nothing”

B52 – the Air Force bomber wasn’t funny, but the beehive hairdos and 80s New Wave band were hilarious

19 95 – the classic price for products on TV commercials and parodies of commercials

So here it is:

37 42 4F 69 86 96 A0 BC 667 789 AD0 B52 1995
©2007 Wendell Wittler. All Rights Reserved.

Now I have no intention of trying to keep My Number private, and I fully acknowledge the concept of “fair use”, so I will not object to the republication or public performance of individual digit combinations, but if you’re going to use more than 4 combinations or 8 digits total, I expect proper credit, and using more than half of My Number is going to cost you royalties, more if you use them in this exact order. Contact me at wendellsnumber (at) wendellwit (dot) com for a formal licensing contract.

Some of the numbers I considered that didn’t make the cut were more fun than funny, like 23 (Skidoo!), 57 (Chevy), 3D and B00B, so I’m cofident there are enough other combinations for many other ‘creative’ people to lay claim to.

2006
Dec
30

MORE Predictions for 2007

  • Getting bored with his retirement from “The Price Is Right”, Bob Barker will announce that he’s running for President. The polls will show him almost as popular as both parties’ front-runners, without going over. But his campaign won’t recover from his controversial proposal that Social Security be converted to a “Plinko-based system”.
  • In order to protect the dwindling polar bear population, most of them will be moved to the coldest known location on earth, David Letterman’s TV studio.
  • There will be controversy in the second season of “Heroes” when it is discovered that the cheerleader didn’t “save herself”.
  • The director of “Snakes on a Plane” will attempt a lower-budget production aimed directly at the (now known to be pretty small) internet-influenced audience: “Bugs on a Blog”.
  • Researchers will discover that the recent drop of penguin populations was not due to Global Warming, but the fact that they have been chain-smoking Kool brand cigarettes since the 1950s.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen will introduce a brand new character to attempt to continue his series of “Borat”-style pranks, but despite his skill with dialects, nobody will believe he’s a Ferengi.
  • Al Gore will NOT run for President again, because it’s too inconvenient.
  • String theory will be challenged by a group of scientists who claim the universe is held together with duct tape. After this theory is debunked, the group will come back with machine screws and locknuts, then it will be discovered their research was fully funded by Home Depot.
  • A woman accused of cutting off her husband’s penis will claim in her defense that she was influenced by Saturday Night Live’s “Dick in a Box” sketch.
  • “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” will feature a controversial crossover appearance by Animatronic Mr. Lincoln.
  • “Spiderman 3” will feature so many cool villains, the producers will have to edit out Spiderman.
  • As a side effect on the battle against Trans Fats, most hospitals will refuse to perform sex-change surgery on the obese.
2006
Dec
28

Predictions for 2007

What the heck. Everybody else does, so here goes…

  • Hours after Saddam Hussein is hanged, President Bush will announce that all American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, declaring “everything’s done that I thought needed to be done.” Celebrations will be muted when it is learned that the withdrawal route is set up to go through downtown Tehran.
  • A secret plan by Karl Rove will be uncovered in which the White House made plans to trigger a Constitutional Crisis with the Democratic Congress once every 28 days to correspond with Nancy Pelosi’s PMS. The plan will be abandoned when a staff member points out that the 66-year-old House Speaker/Grandmother is well past menopause. That staffer will be immediately fired.
  • The G.O.P. will fail in their efforts to get Senator Lieberman to change parties, and so will the Democrats in trying to get Rep. William Jefferson to do the same. However, as a result of the “Political Brain Damage” law quietly passed at the end of the last session, Senator Tim Johnson’s stroke will automatically change his affiliation to Republican.
  • In response to threats against Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, he will be offered his own Military Security Detail but will turn it down when he discovers one of the soldiers assigned to the squad is Corporal Lynndie England.
  • After months of Wall Street analysts complaining that Google has too much unused cash, the web giant will use it to buy the New York Stock Exchange. Microsoft will respond by starting its own stock exchange, accessible only through Microsoft Money.
  • The Next Big Thing on the Web will be a site designed to attract the 100 million plus web users who don’t want to be part of a social network, tentatively called “DamnKidsGetOffMyLawn.com” A rival site, “AndIWouldHaveGottenAwayWithItIfNotForThoseDamnKids.com” will be frequently criticized for attracting illegal activity.
  • The creators of Digg.com will introduce an upscale version of their site, called “Excavatte.com”. A mainstream newspaper will attempt a Digg-like site, but in a total misunderstanding of the concept, call it “Graave.com” and only use it for obituaries.
  • Apple will partner with GM to introduce the iUV, a car with a single ‘click wheel’ control and trips sold through iTunes for 99¢.
  • HP will capitalize on its ‘spying’ scandal by introducing a pocket device that allows you to listen to other people’s iPods. But the only “iPod killer” product to have any sales success in 2007 will be one from Smith & Wesson.
  • As the ratings for CBS News continue to decline, Katie Couric will take the unprecedented action of doing her daily newscast while not wearing panties. The FCC will decline to cite the network for indecency because she’s just so damn perky. Still, her ratings will not improve, so by the end of the year, Katie will be replaced by Rachael Ray.
  • Ted Turner will use a portion of his fortune to establish the “Ted Turner Home for Delusional Cable News Personalities Who Think They’re Doing Something Important.” Lou Dobbs will be the first to be admitted, but by the end of the year, the facility will be full. There will be a serious ‘incident’ when the admissions clerk puts O’Reilly and Olbermann in the same room.
  • More than one famous pro athlete who should have retired years ago will test positive for Preservatives.
  • The umpteenth revamping of the Bowl Championship Series will result in the NCAA’s #1 Womens Volleyball team being picked for one of the New Years Day 2008 games. And an obscenely high sponsorship offer will finally convince one of the major bowl games to be renamed the “Ti-D Bowl”.
  • NewsCorp will hire Chris Hansen and his “To Catch a Predator” team away from NBC and replace the shows on its “MyNetwork” with 10 hours a week of “The Perverts of MySpace”.
  • In response to the success of ABC’s “Ugly Betty”, the Fall 2007 schedule will include NBC’s “Plain Jane”, FOX’s “Homely Hillary”, the CW’s “Deformed Debbie” and CBS’s “Agnes With the Great Personality.”
  • The Time Person of the Year for 2007 will be “That Guy Who Was Out of Town When We Gave Last Year’s Award to Everybody Else”.
2006
Dec
7

Separating Church and @#$%!

As part of my continuing fascination with cursing and euphemisms, I bring to your attention a Washington Post story about swearing in Quebec:

“I’ve had it with these tabernacle snakes on this tabernacle plane.”