Friday, July 28, 2006

Not In My Refrigerator, You Don't!

I thought I’d heard the ne plus ultra in bad taste advertising a couple of years ago. It had to do with ads placed in public rest rooms so that gentlemen taking care of business could also be encouraged to buy more of what sent them there. Music, flashing lights, and an electronic voice would pitch to that briefly captive audience. Worse, they threatened that a version for women’s bathrooms would be next. Talk about tacky.

Now some equally warped genius has come up with a way to pay for his product development costs by forcing me (he thinks) to read an ad before my eyes are even open in the morning. A company called EggFusion uses finely tuned lasers to etch freshness and traceability information right on the shells of eggs as they are processed and packed. All well and good; it’s not a bad thing to know how old those eggs are in the back of the refrigerator. It might even be interesting to know where they came from. Stop there and I have no argument. Any bets on whether they did?

Of course not. All those square centimeters of blank shell canvas cannot be allowed to go unembellished. And so this September and October, CBS television is buying exclusive advertising space on some 35 million eggs to promote their fall lineup. Eggs will be transformed into mini-billboards with the CBS eye and show logos lasered on the shells. Puns will be rampant, from “Crack the Case on CBS” (“CSI”) to “Funny Side Up” for a Monday night comedy show.

The President of CBS’ marketing group, George Schweitzer, said he wanted to bring laughter to American kitchens. That’s fine. What I take issue with – what makes me dead set against buying any lasered eggs – is Mr. Schweitzer’s delight in the intrusiveness of the concept. “You can’t avoid it,” he said.

Wanna bet?

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