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Lowbrow Marketing in My Neighborhood

September 11, 2010

I came across a couple of fine examples of crass yet ingenious marketing (is there any other kind?) this week.

The first, captured above in pixelated glory by my primitive cellphone camera, I observed during my weekly stop by the Ala Moana Foodland to stock up on V8 (low-sodium version, of course). Cruising down the junkfood aisle adjacent to the fruit juices and health drinks (possibly another example of crass yet ingenious marketing) I noticed what seemed at first to be badly misplaced merchandise: ping pong balls. Then I noticed that they were dangling right in front of a new Frito-Lay offering with the not-so-subtle name “Munchies”. Suddenly, it all made sense. Munchies, college students, beer pong! Someone in the upper or lower echelons of the Foodland deserves a prize for their merchandising genius.

Number two. In the last couple weeks along my morning bike route a novel sight appeared in the warehouse/nightclub district a few blocks from my office (I work in a classy neighborhood): a gaudy food truck painted with zebra stripes and hot pink highlights. After one or two passes I became aware that the truck was purveying coffee and that the purveyor was a woman clad in nothing but lingerie. Wild Bean Espresso. Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I stopped to see how the coffee was. Ahead of me was a short balding nondescript Asian man in an aloha shirt with a barely contained shit-eating grin on his face. He left a five dollar tip, more than the cost of his drink. As the bare-ista prepared my iced latte, I quizzed her on various beverages on the menu. A “Sex on Your Face”, it turns out, is a Red Bull mixed with orange juice and strawberries. As I left drink in hand, a battered pick-up pulled up and three rough-looking construction worker types piled energetically out.

For the record, they make a decent latte.

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