Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spotting Trends: Aus/NZ: PSA, Cool Whip, and Old People

The other night I was putting away laundry in my room, watching Celebrity Ghost Stories. The episode was with Beverly D'Angelo, (she had Momma Cass haunting her house (!), and next came Sally Struthers. If that wasn't terrifying enough (Sally Struthers, not the ghosts), an advertisement for some heart or stroke medication aired. I have spent ten minutes this morning trying to find the name of it, but for the life of me cannot. Isn't it sad, the one piece that the advertisers and drug manufacturer wanted burned in my head was vastly overshadowed by the narrative of the commercial.

The storyline goes something like this: we see a middle-age man's full face, he's contemplating something. He is incredibly handsome, bristly grey hair and ocean-blue eyes, and he changes his routine step-by-step. Instead of doing whatever it is he normally does, he keeps repeating the phrase, "Not today." The first change is, as the voice over describes the drug treatment, is go to a real, honest-to-goodness florist in a quaint small town. He buys a large bouquet of indecently colored purple and indigo blossoms. (Must be "her" favorite color.) He then goes to a travel agent (they still have those?! What the hell? Someone to actually book your travel, as if you're going with large trunks and a valet named Barnaby?) Anyway, the misguided travel agent, seeing that he's "old," hands him a brochure to Florida. Florida?! Boo! That's for old people! He points up at a travel poster on the wall behind her that touts NEW ZEALAND! No wussy Florida for me and the mysterious future bouquet recipient! He buys two tickets and heads back to his house. His concerned looking wife, kind of dry, but hey, bonus! Not a trophy wife! Someone his same age!! Are you listening, middle-age women! You too can marry the man of your dreams and he won't leave you for someone younger! Woot! Okay, sorry. The concerned wife, who just looks happy that he's come back from his errands alive, jumps with joy at the bouquet, and then, the tickets!?! Cut to scene of them strolling around an abandoned New Zealand, not another soul for MILES kilometers except for some penguins walking waddling around the beach, in their windbreakers and smiles.* Good for them! Hope he remembered to pack that drug he was on, too, otherwise he's going to be in dire need of a doctor, and apparently, those are kept far, far away from the mountains, beaches, rogue penguins,  and Peter Jackson sets.

"Point, Matty?"

Geting to it.

A few weeks ago I ordered a print off of etsy. It came last week, a woodblock print by an artist named Sarah Gully, from Melbourne. I also bought a book by an author I've never read before, because I judged its jacket: Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan. You guessed it: another Aussie. Oh yes, and when reading the comments on the chocolate lasagna  someone asked, "Anyone from Aus/NZ? Because WTF is cool whip?" It's gross fake whipped cream, that's what. And don't forget John Oliver's report on reasonable gun control in Australia. Oh, Utopia! Oh, Reason! It does exist!

"Again, point, please Matty?"

Brains love patterns. Oh sure, I adore my Southern Hemisphere friends, and perhaps I'm picking up on all this because of you all. But--I also know when there is a shift in the trends too. Wish I got paid big bucks for a marketing gig, but any case, with all the writers, artists, and Hobbits flying around, including Guy Kawasaki who wrote about his all-expenses paid trip to New Zealand, I just wanted to warn you. We Yanks are going to scrape and claw our way out of this recession, mark my words, and when we do, we're all going to take trips Down Under to annoy the crap out of ya'll. Sure, we act all friendly and cute, like big dumb puppies, but we put COOL WHIP in things! Furthermore, not only are we hopped on fake dairy, we can't figure out health care or gun control. I'm watching the State of Texas turn away 100 billion dollars in medical aid Federal dollars because of political maneuverings. My heart hurts, Southern Cross friends. Heed this warning: if your tourist bureaus are wise, they'll be careful in the advertisting and marketing seeds that are planted around the world. Some visitors can be more invasive than others.

*Editor's Note: Not the penguins' windbreakers. They were going commando.

Theme song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Iz Kamakawiwo'ole


  1. OMG! We'll be on them like ship rats! Navi! Cym! All you all! Run for your lives! Or feral pigs! Who can say!

  2. Damn, bad prose: the penguins are not wearing windbreakers. As an aside however they are kind if menacing. Perhaps no one is in New Zealand but U. S. retirees and beach-patrolling penguins. I really should proofread these posts before I leave for work. What a shame too that the pharmaceutical company spent all that money on a location shoot and I do not remember the name of the product. Serves them right for flashing handsome men with bouquets and travel agents in front of me.

  3. I live in Alice Springs, and we have a joint base here. Many of the fine US folks here seem to hate us. I think it's the money thing. Apparently stuff is expensive over here compared to the US, and they're still being paid in $USD and it's making them bitter. But hey! We need to pay for our free healthcare somehow.

  4. Well I am not so naive as to think there are totally free things in this world; time is money, friend, in this world and Azeroth. On behalf of my compatriots, I am sorry they are behaving tacky. I, however, am a charming, respectful tourist, and I'll even bring the Cool Whip. Wait, that might be taken the wrong way...

    1. If Cool Whip is the stuff I think it is, you can keep it! :P

      Should you ever find yourself in Alice Springs, I would be happy to show you the sights and take you out for some beers. In a non-creepy way, of course ;)

  5. Wait a minute.
    I have seen that comercial several times and although I don't remember what the product was either, I don't think that there was any mention about New Zealand penguin's complaining about the high cost of cool whip. Now I haven't looked for cool whip at the AH but i'm sure I haven't seen it in world of warcraft either. If it is available what would be a good receipe in Azeroth to use it for?

    1. Cool-Whip would go best on Gelantinous Gello Shots, available from the Slaughtered Lamb Pub, but I am open to suggestions. It puts a two-hours "white sugar and fake dairy" debuff on you though that incapacitates one's ability to melee on days that start with the letter 'T', Oceanic servers not included, so the penguins are safe. I watched the episode again and it's Xarelto. I'm just sad that they spent all that money on a location shoot and I couldn't remember the name. I know that is the best use of money.


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