2003-10-26 - 3:24 p.m.Picking up groceries today at the supermarket, I happened to glance down at one point at the plastic cart handle, which these days sports fancy little billboard advertisements roughly the shape of web page banner ads. Apparently one's senses are not assaulted enough with product uber-hype walking the technicolour shelves of the Safeway -- when we manage to pull our twitchy, pinprick-pupilled gaze away from the endless rows of brightly coloured packages clamouring for our attention, we are confronted with a nice bit of captive-audience advertising right in front of us, between our hands. How very, um, unremitting of them.
Anyway, the advertisement I saw on my cart handle was trying to sell me Bull's Eye barbecue sauce. And it was trying to sell me Bull's Eye by pointing out to me that it was "The Official Steak Sauce of the Calgary Stampede."
Product marketing has, I think, gotten too enamoured of this form of would-be authority. Does the Calgary Stampede really require an "official steak sauce"? Was there some secret meeting deep in the Saddledome's inner sanctum in which a barbecue sauce Truly Worthy of the Calgary Stampede was selected among fierce competitors? Is there some terrible medieval punishment in store for any miscreant who dares to use any of the unofficial steak sauces within sight of the Stampede? Does this mean A1 is the unofficial bootleg steak sauce of the Calgary Stampede? Can we only trust news of the Calgary Stampede that we get from Bull's Eye, all other news from the Heinz products merely unsubstantiated rumour?
And that's not all! Look at this! The Calgary Stampede has an Official Cleaner. These folks supply the Official Jeans and Shirts of the Calgary Stampede. And as this site indicates, Budweiser is the Official Beer of the Calgary Stampede. (That one makes a certain amount of sense, really.)
Soon enough many other products will become Officially affiliated with the Calgary Stampede, no doubt. Train Up a Child Inc. will vie for a shot at having their product named Official Jesus Action Figure of the Calgary Stampede. Casketfurniture.com will soon enjoy the right to advertise their Official Glass Coffin of the Calgary Stampede. And longtime sufferers will be rushing into stores to purchase the Official Weird Hemorrhoid Remedy of the Calgary Stampede, Butt-Ice. You know I'm right.
As long as I'm inundating y'all with strange links, here's another: as soon as my evil-tyrant ascendancy is complete, and I have henchmen, I'm going shopping over at Villainsupply.com. Not a store you'll find at your local shopping mall, but what an interesting world you'd be living in if you did...