Given the abrupt end to my Vegas posts, most of you probably assumed Jenny and I returned to the real world. Either that, or that we’ve been stuck on a delay at McCarran International Airport for the last four days, in which case: Thanks for all the concerned phone calls and texts. Your outpouring of support was truly heartwarming.
Anyway, nothing says I’m back in the real world like stopping at Meijer on the way home from work on a Friday night to buy a furnace filter. I did this yesterday and picked one with little debate, at least by my normally indecisive standards, in no small part because of the packaging.
It told me that this particular company provides filtration for nuclear containment, the space program, and pharmaceutical laboratories. I’m sure they all use the exact same $9.99 filter I was considering, so this seemed like a positive. But it wasn’t what sealed the deal.
It had “TRUST” written in big bold letters. Trust is good, but again, it’s not what got me to pull the trigger.
What did it was the series of 12 thumbnail photos illustrating “common household contaminants” against which this particular filter is effective. Most of the text seemed to go with the corresponding picture: “Tobacco Smoke” with an image of a lit cigarette, “Microscopic Allergens” with something that looked … uh … microscopic, etc.
One combo didn’t seem quite right, though. In fact, it came across as a tad mean-spirited.
The common household contaminant? “Disintegrated feces.”
The image? A rather meek-looking cat and dog.
Needless to say, my search for the right furnace filter was over as soon as I saw this. I can’t explain why that’s needless to say, but it just seemed impossible to walk away from the intrigue of what was surely a marketing department train wreck.
Marketing Person 1: “Disintegrated feces? What the hell are disintegrated feces? And they want us to come up with a picture for that?”
Marketing Person 2: “Why don’t we just use a broken-up piece of poo?”
1: “Poop? We can’t put poop on the wrapper. We don’t want people associating our product with poop.”
2: “I noticed you changed ‘poo’ to ‘poop.’”
1: “What’s your point?”
2: “I just wanted you to know I’m aware of it. You’re so passive aggressive.”
1: “Oh, so I’m passive aggressive because I don’t like to say ‘poo’? Is that it?”
2: “Well, you mocked my idea of putting a dog and a cat on there, too.”
1: “First of all, Merriam Webster, that’s not being passive aggressive because I called you a ‘dumbass’ to your face. Second, just because the dog and the cat are responsible for the disintegrated feces, that doesn’t mean they ARE the disintegrated feces. That would be like saying this filter is effective against the stench of predictable jokes and using a photo of Jay Leno.”
(Both 1 and 2 pause and stare at each other)
2: “That’s not bad. Can we add that?”
1: “Probably not. But you’re right; the dog and cat thing works. Let’s just make sure they look embarrassed to be there.”
2: “And we’ll ‘forget’ to use title casing only on this caption so ‘feces’ is lower case, underscoring the pets’ embarrassment.”
1: “You really think anyone will notice that?”
2: “Oh, trust me, there are some real losers out there who say things like ‘I can never stop proofing, even when I’m reading a menu’ who will be all over it.”
1: “These people sound awful.”
2: “They are. And they’re usually unpublished authors who think they’re the next Jerry Seinfeld.”
1: “That’s pretty delusional.”
2: “Agreed. But we need to stay focused. We’re up to our necks with these disintegrated feces.”