Friday, August 24, 2012

Are We Bewitched?

Remember the 1960’s TV show “Bewitched”? Samantha, a witch, was married to a regular human named Darren, who worked for an advertising agency. Wackiness ensued when Samantha’s spells and goofy relatives encroached on daily life. Every time, Samantha saved Darren’s job by explaining that the weird happenings were part of Darren’s current ad proposal. Every damn time. This week I encountered my own version of sneaky and strange marketing techniques. I was pumping gas at a 7-11 convenience store. When my gas tank was full, a display printed on the gas pump screen - “CUP HOLDER IS LONELY”. Wow! The gas pump was talking to me. Really, that’s what it seemed like. I felt really special and almost wanted to chat with Pumpy. There was a real connection. I wanted to discuss the last episode of “The Closer” and maybe take the pump shoe shopping. I did not, however, want a drink. Does this stuff ever work? Does someone not know they are thirsty until the gas pump tells them? Seems like a stretch. Another ad technique happens every weekend over Seattle. A little airplane tows a banner featuring the Geico gecko, back and forth in the sky for hours. Geico ads on TV are prolific. I enjoy them. They are funny and clever. But do they really need to bombard us with ads overhead? Is it possible to hide from them? I can’t imagine someone playing frisbee at the park, seeing the Geico banner in the sky, and deciding to drop everything and sign up... right now. Hey, maybe the Geico gecko is real, and he knows how to pilot an airplane. Maybe he was also inside the 7-11 gas pump, typing cute messages to unsuspecting customers (me). Or perhaps I’ve veered into “Bewitched” territory.

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