Walking down Oxford Street in Sydney today, a promo girl offered me a little something something.
Nothing wrong with this. Happens all the time. It’s a great way to get brand recognition for a new product. So what could possibly have made me so outraged as to be making words on shiny screen a day after I just made words on shiny screen?
I’m going to have to give you some back story.
Marketers have a traceable history of using drug references to sell products to the kids. It all started with the ecstasy craze in the 90’s. This was when products like Lucozade came on the market. All of a sudden the letter X and the idea of high energy and hyper was attached to everything. It was all eXtreme or high energy or high energyX (actual product name). The day after taking said products, people were often feeling highly eXistential.
Then the 00’s came along and ice became the drug in vogue (or crystal-meth for my non-Australian audience). Suddenly there was a glut of ice coloured products on the market. They had cool blues, silver and white labels and most of the time they were unashamedly labelled “Ice.” -Now you might say that this is a coincidence that there was a rational reason for branding products this way- I really don’t understand the correlation between protein powder and feeling cold.
Of cause the dirty, grubby, coke sniffing marketers will tell you that I’m reading too much into this. After all we all have the right to free speech. And branding is an important component of the market. and as we all know the market is the thing that makes the earth spin and rotate around the sun, holds the starts in the sky and makes us all sleep safely in our Made In China beds at night. Right? Just relax and try some of our new Marley-June Tea.
-No I will not!!!
So I’m walking down oxford street and this beautiful looking South American/European (who the hell can tell anymore) backpacker offers me the latest and greatest product on the market.
At first I was shocked. I stood there and looked at the little silver package in dismay. The world had begun to lose meaning and I could here the promo girl’s voice coming to me from far away. She was explaining to me that if I put it on my tongue it will dissolve and I will feel great. She asked again if I wanted to take one and I jolted myself from my daise just enough to croak out a “no.” She then suggested I take one for later, “in case I need it.”
I need one right now, but that’s not the point.
Shanking my head in disbelief, I walked away, playing the role of the proud abstainer. I felt heroic and I had the vague sensation that she was watching me in disappointment and wondering what it is that I know she doesn’t.
Then I thought, ‘words on shiny screen!’ And I doubled back to tell her I’de changed my mind.
“Does this resemble anything to you?” I asked
“What ever could you mean?” she says.
“Have you ever taken acid?”
“No.” I stare at her disapprovingly while she smiles. “What is it?”
“LSD, a trip.”
“Drugs?” She shakes her head, “No this is caffeine.”
I have no intention of talking all day to this buffoon. Complex as my psyche may be, I bear no genuine ill will to anybody. I love all. But my loathing of this kind of ignorance is sinister and my desire to see it crushed is homosidal. So I search for the best way to explain to her, her folly.
“There’s a long history of using the vogue drug in marketing.”
“But see that picture, it’s a battery.”
“Oh my god. You poor enthusiastic simpleton! Go and do your job in ignorant bliss while Murdock hacks our brains and the globe burns up and we sit around picking nits off each other’s backs. We have all become apathetic chimps due to brain rot brought on by designer drugs and eXsessive amounts of HBO specials. Can’t you see this?!!!”
I didn’t say that. I’m only a complete bastard on the inside. Outside I’m far more obliging.
What I actually said to her was, “I’m not going lecture you, I’m just shocked.”
“That’s OK, I hope you enjoy it.”
Well, I’m off now. I’m going to take my Caffeine Strip and imagine myself in the desert talking to a weird naked shaman and his green, pointy nosed friend.