Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Mean Gene

Gene Weingarten, writing for the Sunday Washington Post magazine, performed a clever little twist on product placement – the unwanted variety. I have no idea how long this link will work (at least until next Sunday, methinks) so click quick. While the premise of his article is hardly new (harass corporate types in an oh-so-clever manner), when it works, it’s sublime:

As you know, I have in the past unfairly poked fun at marketing people, merely because so many of them are opportunistic, lying hacks. So I thought for a change I would make amends today by helping them publicly celebrate their great good fortune.

That's why I am talking to Steve Peckham, marketing spokesperson for S.C. Johnson & Son, which makes Raid bug spray.

Me: As you know, a can of Raid was one of the many fine products found in Saddam Hussein's hideout. I was wondering if you guys are planning a marketing campaign around that. You know, maybe, "Raid: The REAL Weapon of Mass Destruction!" Or, "Whether you are vermin, or are just plagued by them . . ."

Steve: We cannot confirm it was our product.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Steve: We are unable to confirm it was our product, so we don't want to discuss the situation.

Me: I'm looking at a photograph of the products, as they were found in Saddam's rat hole. Here it is.

Steve: Without having the can in hand, we cannot confirm it was ours.

Me: Try this view.

Steve: We're not going to talk about the situation.

Me: But . . .

Steve: I'm trying to get ready for a big, huge meeting here