November 14, 2009

Adventures in bet-hedging

You can pretty much always expect the promotional copy on the back of any box of food to be pretty hackneyed, but I enjoyed the extra layer of wussiness in this blurb, from a box of Parmesan Basil Wheat Thins: "The great taste of this deliciously simple snack may leave you dreaming of an authentic Italian trattoria."

"May"? Really? This is what copywriting has come down to? The other snack I had this weekend, Hippie Chips "Lime Is On My Side" baked potato chips (yes, it actually exists, and yes, of course it's made with hemp, do you even need to ask?) is not afraid to dub itself "the World's Greatest All Natural Potato Chip", although it's true that one is prone to hyperbole when one is high, so maybe that's what happened there, and they just didn't have room to add "according to Moonshadow, right before he tried to walk on the surface of the kiddie pool."

But "may"? How frickin' lawyered up are they over at Wheat Thins Central? Do they really think they're going to see a slew of letters like "Dear Sirs or Madams or Some Combination Thereof (But Probably Predominantly Sirs If I Know Anything About Corporate Culture): I recently purchased your Parmesan Basil crackers and did not, as promised, dream of an authentic Italian trattoria. Instead, I dreamed about the Nintendo characters Mario and Luigi trying to stuff giant mushrooms down the front of my shirt. Accordingly, I am returning the unused portion of the box and request a full refund. Sincerely yours, etc."? Come on now. I have been trained over the years to expect outrageous unsubstantiated advertising claims on my product packaging, and this disappoints me. Step up to the plate or get out of the game, Wheat Thins.

Posted by Francis at 12:34 PM

See, now I'm reading that as "It may leave you dreaming of a real trattoria because it sure as hell isn't fulfilling any sort of trattoria experience."

Posted by: Amy Reynaldo at November 14, 2009 01:02 PM

I think they should have gone for pith and truncated the sentence after "you".

Posted by: Rubrick at November 14, 2009 03:30 PM

I just finished playing several hours of a Mario and Luigi game. Should I expect to be dreaming about an authentic Italian trattoria soon?

I mean, just as long as the mushrooms still get stuffed down my shirt in the dream, it's all good.

Posted by: Robert Hutchinson at November 14, 2009 08:25 PM
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