Comedian Stephen Colbert, mocking a report that one ethanol-fueled flight from London to New York would require a year’s worth of corn from thirty soccer fields, remarked “You get to fly across the Atlantic AND destroy soccer at the same time!”
Man, we’re gullible. I don’t mean you, of course. I mean the collective “we”, as in the “we” who are still forwarding email messages that Bill Gates is running an experiment to give away cash. While it hasn’t happened yet, I expect my InBox to begin filling with messages decrying the use of the moon as advertising space and attempting to organize a boycott of Rolling Rock beer.
By now you’ve likely seen one of the billboards or TV spots instructing you to gaze thoughtfully at the next full moon (March 21) to see a gigantic Rolling Rock icon emblazoned there. (You can stay inside watching reruns of “I Love Lucy”… It’s not going to happen. First, we simply haven’t harnessed the power necessary to fire the laser that far that cleanly to make it work. Next, the FAA isn’t going to allow it. Finally, imagined how irritated people would be when the moon becomes a billboard.)
[Disclaimer: Those crafty Russians may have figured out a way to build this laser and would likely sell their grandmother’s derriere for advertising space, so that’s about the only conceivable possibility that this might come to pass. But I’d put the odds at about twice as unlikely as winning the Powerball.]
What Rolling Rock is hoping to gain is buzz. And that makes me feel a little dirty for even writing about it, as every mention of the campaign will be scraped, wrapped up, tied with a bow and called a success. Please don’t misunderstand me: this might get noticed, it might generate buzz, and you (they) might call it a success. But I will be astonished if sales of Rolling Rock go up an appreciable degree outside of the normal spike they might see after a large, expensive, national advertising campaign.
[Disclaimer Two: You know, Hugo Chavez has a lot of money. I could see him trying to do this just to thumb his nose at our pesky FAA regulations. “Oil for lasers” or something like that.]
We might be dumb enough to look up at the moon next week, whether out of idle curiosity or misguided intentions, but I just don’t see that translating into “Gosh, looks like the laser failed. I think I’ll head to the liquor store and grab a six pack of Rolling Rock.”
Every new author of a best-seller can demonstrate that “buzz” is good. Eliot Spitzer can demonstrate that buzz can be very, very bad. Be careful that you’re cultivating the right kind with the right strategy, or you might end up trying to shoot the moon… and miss.
I received this photo today from a friend who offered the following comment: “Can you say ‘800lb gorilla on my back’?” While that’s certainly apropos, my first thought was: “I can’t see the Oval Office from here!”
It also occurred to me that someone out there could do better. So here’s your big chance: Leave a comment with the best caption for this photo win a prize. 🙂
It’s seven years later, at a small grade school in Washington, DC. All the kids gather for school pictures, none of them aware of the tie that binds them, and their mothers, to each other and a man named Bill who “used to hang around a bit.”
I’m told this picture was taken in Marshall, IL, but truly, regardless of where it was taken, someone *really* needs to be fired.