Thursday, October 15, 2015

Drink this almond milk, it is my blood

The straw man is a rather popular device in advertising.  For one good example, consider that TeleFlora ad from some years back which critiqued the practice of sending flowers in a box that no other flower company actually seemed to use.  Silk went with kind of a strange variation on that.

Almond: "So... you won't taste Silk because you don't know what it tastes like."
Guy: "Right."

This is insane from the start.  First of all, it's kind of goofy that Silk has chosen as its mascot, or whatever, this bit of slapdash animation that looks like a full part of the almond plant, which most people watching this will have never seen.  I know enough about almonds to know that I'm supposed to be looking at one, but my only actual experience with the almond involves just the nut itself, not the leaves.  I guess it would be tough to have a pile of nuts on the table talking to this guy, but why did you have to go with an almond at all?  Why couldn't this be one of those ads where Jane Krakowski is weirdly invested in having her friends drink one specific beverage?

Almond: "But that's why you taste it.  To find out."
Guy: "I don't want to."

I'm really curious to know who this guy is supposed to represent, other than the patron saint of commercial actors who are utterly uncommitted to their lines.  Realistically this ad probably was written in five minutes after viewing a focus group where people expressed an ambivalence towards almond milk but then shockingly found it palatable.  But the market for almond milk seems mostly limited to people with dairy issues, and I find it very difficult to believe that those people really need to be cajoled into trying an alternative by a talking almond.  (Also: almond milk is basically pureed almonds mixed with water.  So it's at least a little weird having an almond pitching it, right?  "Drink this, for God's sake.  Do not let the genocide of my people have been in vain!")

Almond: "Why?"
Guy: "Because I don't know what it's gonna taste like."

Well this is just classic Abbott and Costello stuff, right here.  Third base!

Almond: "That's insane!  It's Silk Vanilla almond milk.  It obviously tastes like almonds."

And vanilla, I guess because maybe people aren't that interested in the taste of plain-ass ground-up almonds?  Which kind of undermines the whole point here.  But this gets at what bothers me about the argument, such as it is.  I think we all understand that almond milk is likely to taste like almonds.  So again, who is this pitch aimed at?  Other than people who can be bullied into buying a product if its spokesman calls them insane for not buying it?

Guy: "All right.  Fine."

Worn down by a talking almond in less than 15 seconds.   You're a chump.

Almond: "Thank you."

The adversarial, sarcastic nature of this commercial is sure to get people all over the country excited about the prospect of drinking liquid nuts!

Guy: "That's really good."
Almond: "No."

That is some deliciously editorial sarcasm for you right there.  "It's good?  Of course it's good, you fucking shithead.  It's SILK VANILLA ALMOND MILK, WHICH OBVIOUSLY TASTES LIKE ALMONDS."  Ads exist to sell their products and talk them up, naturally, but I can barely remember another ad where they went with "No shit our product is amazing!"

Guy: "A lot better than dairy milk."
Almond: "Mm-hmm."

They actually have fine print for this claim, which is surprisingly respectable for an ad of this nature, but I was amused to see that the taste test compared "dairy milk" (no specifics on fat percentage or anything) against, specifically, Silk's vanilla flavor.  I mean... I know there are a lot of people out there who really like the taste of plain milk, but is it that surprising that plain cow's milk would lose a taste test to something that has added sugar and flavoring?  "Yes, I will have more of the one that already tastes like a milkshake, please."  To quote the Silk almond, "No."

Guy: "I didn't know it would taste like that."
Almond: "Funny how that works."

"Buy Silk or this dickbag almond will stare you down from the adjoining refrigerator case!"

I mean, if you're concerned that the biggest problem with marketing almond milk is that people aren't willing to try it, there are like 500 different ways to make a pitch for them to try it.  I don't have a full list, but I'm pretty sure "Sarcastically calling your intended customers insane" would not rank in my top 450.  But I suppose this is better than "And I'm Super Creepy Rob Lowe, and I drink dairy milk."


jmidnite2000 said...

good to have you back. now about those two sonic douche bags.....

jmidnite2000 said...

good to have you back. now about those two sonic douche bags.....