PRODUCT ADS THAT DISCOMBOBULATE CONSUMERS

It's time for another trip into the Far, Far, Far-out, Frontiers of Free Enterprise.
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
PRODUCT ADS THAT DISCOMBOBULATE CONSUMERS
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It’s time for another trip into the Far, Far, Far-out, Frontiers of Free Enterprise.

Today, Spaceship Hightower will thrust you into that mind-boggling galaxy of stars swirling around a dark hole known as: print advertising. Our GPS for this strange trip is Consumer Reports magazine.

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First up is a warped ad by a Mexican restaurant. Known as “The House of the Crab Enchilada,” this place offers a 50-percent-off deal if you buy two of the house specials. At least you think that’s the deal, until you check out the asterisk in the ad, which says that the offer “Does not include crab enchilada.”

Confusing as that is, it’s still a better deal than the one from JR’s Pizza Pub in Minnesota. The Pub has offered the opposite of a discount: “Purchase a gift certificate,” it urged, “and we’ll add 10% to your total purchase.” Thanks JR, but no thanks.

Now, let’s rocket over to a couple of blinking stars promoting bedtime products. One of the items is a dandy “Book Light Deluxe.” This light attaches right to your book so you can get all comfy in bed and read to your heart’s content. Apparently the light also has a magical quality, for the promotional copy offers this amazing promise: “Enjoy your book while sleeping.” Actually, I’ve read several books that I wished I could’ve slept through, so, yeah, I’d buy this thing.

Speaking of sleep, here’s a sleep aid product called “Calms.” The package for these sleepy-time caplets features an illustration of the man-in-the-moon wearing a nightcap and snoozing contentedly. But, in a strange promotional twist, the package brags that this product is made with a “Non-Drowsy Formula.” Excellent, sleeping pills that won’t make you drowsy! I’ll take two.

Who comes up with this stuff – and, do they get paid?

“goof, glitches & gotchas,” www.consumerreports.org, June 2009.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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