Colas are great-tasting beverages that look like the run-off from the work bay of a Jiffy Lube. As a result, in their ads Coke and Pepsi tend to emphasize the flavor. They use terms like “crisp” and “refreshing” rather than, say, “brown liquid”. Describing a drink as “brown liquid” does not make your mouth water. Instead it gives you the dry heaves.
We went shopping for a new refrigerator, which is like shopping for a new home, but for deli items. “Would our cheese be happy in this one?” Modern refrigerators come with features like the “dual zone cooling, preservation unit.” Most of these names translate to “the bin where you keep meat”.
A bottle of salad dressing that we bought has a bright orange sticker on it that says “Keep refrigerated at all times”. It suggests that the dressing won’t just go bad, but could actually detonate at some point. Suddenly it’s not a condiment, but some sort of IED. “Soldiers in Afghanistan have been warned to be on the lookout for bottles of Parmesan Ranch.”
“Keep refrigerated” means that the item could spoil if not kept cold. “Keep refrigerated at all times” means that you can only bring it to the table with the kind of portable coolers that they use for transporting donated organs.
Some schools have banned soda in an effort to stop kids from drinking unhealthy beverages. However, studies have found that these same schools offer various fruit and sports drinks, which are only slightly more organic than pieces of Tupperware. To be fair, though, those beverages do use a number of natural ingredients in their packaging. In fact, when the label says that a juice drink will meet a certain percentage of your daily vitamin requirements, that only takes effect if you are willing to eat the container.
Some of the magazines I get feature full page ads for hard liquor, types of alcohol that go beyond beer and wine and almost enter the category “liquids sold at Home Depot”. They are fluids that can get you intoxicated or be used for eating through rust.
It is kind of odd if only because these ads are in technology magazines. “Speaking of search engines, wouldn’t you like to be hammered right now?”
The ads usually try to make the liquor seem austere and dignified. However, these are not words that most people associate with, say, tequila. Based on what friends have told me, tequila is more often associated with terms like “regret” and “uncontrollable vomiting”. One ad for a brand of bourbon used words like “craft” and “artistry”. I’m not sure that those are the words that the doctor will use when he explains why you need a new liver.
These ads also show these bottles of liquor resting on a finely polished wood table, sometimes in a tastefully decorated office or personal library. Again, based on stories I have heard, a more accurate setting for the bottle would be on a stained carpet surrounded by various unconscious people, some of whom are bleeding. And there might be a warm glow to the setting, but that would coming from the couch in the background that is on fire.