Mandy and I bought a couple cans of Pringles with jokes somehow printed on the chips. The creepy part isn’t that someone came up with the idea. Marketers also came up with the ‘Oozinator’, so who knows why they think they way they do. The strange part is that the text is so amazingly legible. I can clearly see the little serifs at the tips of the characters… printed on a potato chip. The flavor is the same crunchy, oily, salty delight I’ve come to expect from the brand that once popped cannot be stopped.
Nary a place exists where advertisements have not encroached. I cannot drive down a road, pee in a urinal, or watch a movie without being inundated with ads for all manor of things I would never consider buying. I can’t blame companies for taking these increasingly obscene approaches to marketing their wares. The internet is fast becoming the driving force in marketing goods to the highly valuable 18-45 male demographic, and these giant lumbering corporations have an extremely adversarial relationship with risk and change – two things the internet thrives on.
These creepy delights started my mind pondering the future of writing on food. Not just the packaging per se, but the actual food itself. You don’t get a copy of “On The Town”, “Recoil” or “City Beat” for free. It costs insane amounts of money (insane compared to online publication which is essentially free) to design, print, and ship even simple fanzines or newsletters. That money is recouped through the selling of ad space. So instead of you paying $5-$15 per copy the advertisers pick up the tab and you ignore the ads on the back pages of the paper. I don’t see this ad model can’t be applied successful to the distribution of food products.
Instead of the lame joke printed on the chip pictured below, why not print, “Think Different: iPod” or something witty like “I would go well with some Kraft brand Cheeze Wiz!” and not charge anything for the chips? The money for making, shipping, selling the chips would be recouped through the sales of ad space. I really don’t think this is such a bad idea. Pringles aren’t even food. Since no one is actually confusing a processed, salt-coated Pringle with actual food, I don’t think an ad would really make the chip any less dignified. I would totally pick up a can of Pringles if it had no monetary charge. I could ignore the ads, just like I do on TV, newspaper, and on the sides of the roads and enjoy the unfood without having to spend one penny of my hard-earned moolah.