Category Archives: Advertising

Must- Have Fashions of the 1960’s

I’m a member of a Facebook group for people who live or once lived in the small town in the mountains of North Carolina where I grew up.

I’ve observed an interesting sociological phenomenon here.  People who no longer live there have fond memories of the town; those who still live there do a lot of whining about how great things used to be, but it’s now gone to hell in a handbasket.  Actually, that applies more to the people who never left.  Many people I know left and then returned by choice.  They love the town and the surroundings, but don’t think it’s the one and only place in the world to be.  Nor do they think it’s been ruined by(pick one) tourists or the government.  I’m not sure what conclusion can be drawn from this, but something surely could be.  All I can conclude is that you have much fonder memories if you left, than if you stayed.  I wonder why?

In any case, I innocently did a post asking if the women in the group remembered two particular hair care products:  home perms by Toni, and the gel Dippity Do. (They still make that, by the way.) You cannot imagine how that question morphed into all sorts of memories of must-haves of the 60’s.  From hair to perfume to clothes. I’m talking about the early to mid-60’s here, not the later 60’s with the influence of the hippy movement.

Here is a partial list of products and apparel:

Tame crème rinse.  Breck and Prell shampoo.  Breck had “Breck girls” in their magazine ads.  Ordinary girls, just like you and me!  We could be a Breck girl too, picked out of a crowd for our shiny hair!

Sleeping (or not much) in big round hair rollers (sometimes with brushes!) so our hair would be curly in the morning. If your hair was long enough, you could dispense with the rollers and use empty frozen orange juice cans.  Rinsing your hair in beer to give it body.  Using lemon juice to lighten it.

Perfumes:  Interlude.  White Shoulders.  (You weren’t allowed to wear the heavier stuff your mother had–Estee Lauder.  Jungle Gardenia.  Chanel #5). Canoe or Brute for your boyfriend.

Mohair sweaters.

Wraparound skirts.

Madras.

Bass Weejuns.

These are great memories and have been a lot of fun for everyone who answered.  But, I don’t miss those days of thinking we had to own or use a particular product to be worthy.  I’ve never seen the show Mad Men, but I might watch it.  That was truly the golden age of advertising.  And we were more gullible.  They still make Bass Weejuns, by the way.  I looked.

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Today’s Rant: Modern Packaging

The occasion is that today it dawned on me that the pharmacy is now giving me the two medications I get (that come in pill bottles) without childproof caps.  I don’t know whether to be happy or offended.  Offended, because I figure they have now decided I’m too old to have children in the home, and that at my age, I may have trouble opening a childproof cap.  Okay, the first is true, but I’ll have you know I can still open a childproof cap with the best of them.  Including children.  Since children at the age of five can open Google and hack your email, I figure a childproof cap is no challenge at all.  And don’t get me started on the OTC things like bottles of Ibuprofen where you have to match the arrow on the cap to the little projection on the bottle.  Whose idea was that anyway?  Grr.

Let’s now talk about tape.  At work, I get a lot of deliveries from UPS, which come in boxes that would put the security of Fort Knox to shame.  Sometimes I think, it would be nice to know what’s in this box, but apparently I’m going to have to Xray it to find out.  Because I’m certainly not going to be able to open it.  The fact is that in order to open the box, you have to have a tool, namely a carpet knife, to cut the tape.  What is wrong with this picture?

Having to have tools to open a package leads me to my coup de grace–that hard plastic molded stuff that surrounds (fill in name of product here).  Never try to buy, for example, a tiny little flash drive for your computer.  It will come in a package 100 times its size and be surrounded by cardboard and hard plastic.  The package will cost more than the item.

I once read that this style of packaging was developed to discourage shoplifting of small items.  Okay, I get that.  But this stuff is the bane of my existence.    So you have to have a tool, and here’s one from Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/Zibra-ZPCOPEN-OR-Universal-Package-Opener/dp/B000IHHOVI

Can shoplifters outfitted with Zibra Universal Package openers be far behind?

More Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Okay…there is no sex involved here (as far as I know), but there are lies, and, of course, videotape.  In the second of my posts on political TV advertising, I will now address the race for the House of Representatives in Florida’s second district–16 counties in Northwest Florida.  The race is between incumbent Democrat Allen Boyd , who is from Monticello (near Tallahassee) and Republican Steve Southerland of Panama City. 

Let’s take Boyd first.  Boyd is one of the infamous Blue Dogs.  Democrats who claim to hold to the principles of the Democratic Party (whatever those are) but with more of an eye toward fiscal responsibility.  In other words, a DINO.  Like Republicans have a lock on the concept of fiscal responsibility, and Democrats don’t care about it?  I guess I should be grateful for the Blue Dogs, since both compromise and fiscal responsibility are essential, but part of me says, just be one thing or the other.  Realistically, however, it’s not politically feasible to be elected in North Florida unless you’re a Democrat who acts mostly like a Republican, unless you’re from Tallahassee itself. 

At the last minute, Boyd voted for the health care reform bill, after what one writer I read called “arm-twisting”.  Boyd says he changed his mind about supporting it after changes were made that he deemed to be more…you guessed it…fiscally responsible.  Here’s what I think happened:  the Democratic Party said, you don’t vote for this and you can start calling yourself a Dead Duck instead of a Blue Dog.  No money from us.  No support.  No TV ads.  We will support your primary opponent instead–a long-time loyal Democrat named Al Lawson.  Lawson was the minority leader of the Florida state Senate, who is term-limited out this year. 

My plan was to vote for Lawson in the primary.  But immediately, and I mean immediately, after Boyd changed his vote on health care, the Democratic Party started sending out emails saying Boyd needed to be supported (read: rewarded) for his “heroic” stand on health care.  And frankly, I agreed.  So I was going to vote for him, and then, the TV ads started.  His attacks on Lawson were so fierce, vicious, and untrue, that I said “What was I thinking?”  I voted for Lawson, but he lost.  Lawson is understandably bitter.  The Democratic Party abandoned him.  In return, he endorsed Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate as opposed to the Dem candidate Kendrick Meek.  You go, Al! 

So now Boyd and the Dem Party have turned the machine guns in the direction of Steve Southerland.  Boyd’s ads say that Southerland wants to abolish Medicare and Social Security (keep in mind what I said about scaring seniors), and that he wants to repeal the 17th Amendment, the one which gives the people the right to vote on members of Congress, rather than having them selected by the states.  These allegations may even be true, but after seeing Boyd’s attacks on Al Lawson, you would have to be a complete idiot to take his word for anything. 

Lucky for Boyd, I guess, Southerland is hoist by his own petard.  In Southerland’s own ads, he says he wants to “create jobs” (code for, lower my taxes, but not necessarily yours) and he wants to help repeal “Obamacare” (code for, I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I know you don’t either and will like the sound of it).  Southerland is the owner of several funeral homes, so in the job creation arena, I have to ask myself what sort of jobs he plans to create.  In that regard, abolishing Social Security and Medicare makes perfect sense.  More customers, quickly. 

So…no thanks to Allen Boyd, I’ll vote for him anyway.  But it will be one of those choices where you are picking the best of the worst.  In an ideal world, I’d have an overwhelmingly positive choice, which is how I felt about President Obama, but “ideal” and “positive” don’t often seem to mesh with politics.

Prohibition Returns To America (Kind Of)

Today’s post is about cigarette smoking.  Although it’s never come up in this blog–no real reason for it–everyone who knows me in person knows that I’m a smoker.  It’s hard to find members of the pro-smoking lobby, live ones anyway (Ha ha–Fakename’s attempt at gallows humor).  But they do exist.

It’s without question that smoking has some benefits, otherwise humans wouldn’t have been doing it for thousands of years.  Apparently we know much more now about what those benefits are:  to quote from the Wikipedia article on tobacco smoking, “The active substances trigger chemical reactions in nerve endings which heightens heart rate, memory, alertness, and reaction time.  Dopamine and later endorphins are released, which are often associated with pleasure.”

But this is not a pro-smoking post.  First, I wouldn’t dare.  Second, I can’t really say that I’m pro-smoking.  Instead, this post is about recent changes in U.S. law regulating the manufacture, sale, and advertising of tobacco products.  I’ve gradually become aware of these regulations over the last month (more about that later), but my eyes were really opened by visiting the website yesterday of  Phillip Morris USA

First, exactly a year ago this month, President Obama signed into law the FSPTCA (the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act), which gave regulatory control to the FDA over all tobacco products, EXCEPT cigars and pipe tobacco.  Isn’t that interesting?  I guess they have a richer lobby…In any case, another provision of the law was that use of the words “light”, “ultralight”, “mild”, and “low tar” are prohibited on cigarette packaging.  That provision took effect last Tuesday, June 22nd.  And here’s where I come in…I became aware of that provision about a month ago, when it became increasingly hard to find my brand:  Merit Ultralight Menthols. 

The grocer explained to me about the law, and that manufacturers were in the process of changing their packaging, either by retaining the same packaging and removing the now illegal words, or by renaming them with other words (i.e., “soft”–bet the FDA hops on that one pretty quick, but really, how many synonyms must there be for “light”?)  So it would be a while, they said, before they could order the new brand, whatever it might look like or be called. 

So the past month for me has been a scavenger hunt, in which I have systematically run every store I know of out of my brand, and there has been no replacement in sight.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, so yesterday, I called Phillip Morris.  But first:  let’s talk about “light”.

For 40 years, cigarette manufacturers posted tar and nicotine content on cigarette packaging…numbers that were determined using the Cambridge Filter Method, which to make a long story short, used a smoking machine.  Eventually somebody determined that people don’t smoke the same way machines do, and in fact, being the cantankerous species that we are, we used every trick available to us to defeat the purpose (smoke more cigarettes, inhale more deeply, cover ventilation holes with our mouths).

While the manufacturers were still allowed to say “light”, they had to say that did not mean it was safer, that it was a matter of taste.  And now for “taste”.  Non-smokers probably find it hard to believe that cigarettes have a “taste”, but they do.  It’s like people who don’t drink beer–for them, a beer is a beer.  Now I understand that better too–for a smoker, I’ve been blissfully unaware of the actual ingredients of cigarettes.  My understanding was, tobacco, and some other stuff. 

I’m not sure this is mandated, but Phillip Morris publishes a list of the ingredients in their cigarettes which occur at a level of 0.1% or above.  In my brand, out of 11 such ingredients, ninth on the list is “cocoa and cocoa products”.  Well crap!  No wonder I’m addicted!  I’ve been smoking chocolate!  They also publish a list of other possible ingredients that occur at below the level of 0.1% and that list is mind-boggling.  Besides the chemicals that you wish you didn’t know about, there is stuff like…chamomile flowers.  What? 

Next week, another law takes affect:  PACT (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking) which prohibits sending cigarettes through the U.S. Mail.  I’ve never ordered cigarettes online…I’ve always had a feeling that you would be in big trouble if you got caught buying cigarettes without paying your state taxes.  Although it has been tempting ever since last year when Florida instituted a $1.00 per pack tax, on top of the already existing taxes.  I would not have a problem buying cigarettes in Georgia (about 10 miles away) but I don’t know where to find them.  So far, that still isn’t considered smuggling. 

So yesterday I had this conversation with Phillip Morris, who first verified that I’m an adult before they would even answer general questions.  Interestingly, their very first question was “Are you a smoker?”  The conversation was rather tightly scripted, and I suspect that if I had said “No”, it would have required them to turn to Page 10 of the manual where it says “Advise the caller if they do not smoke now, they should not start”.  Eventually, I learned what the “new” brand is called (“Merit Menthol Silver Pack”) so now I know what to ask for.  My grocer could have found that out for themselves, but my guess is they haven’t tried very hard and have ambivalent feelings about even selling cigarettes. 

In closing, here are a few factoids about Phillip Morris.  They are the largest cigarette manufacturer in the U.S., with a 49.9% share of the market.  Their top cigarette is Marlboro, which accounts for 41.8% of that share.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service

Remember those signs?  So, Fakename was highly amused by the new sign on the door of her neighborhood liquor store, which reads:  We ask that you please wear a shirt and shoes before entering the store.  What is the world coming to, when even the liquor store has to be polite?  You know usually they have signs which say “No consumption of alcohol within 500 feet” or “This store is protected by Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson”.  Just so you know, Fakename was at the local liquor store because she had a wine emergency, namely, didn’t have any. 

Naturally, Fakename could not leave well enough alone and felt it necessary to question the clerk as to how much of a problem it was.  Are there just a whole lot of people trying to enter the store who aren’t wearing shirts or shoes?  I could understand if we were at the beach, but we’re 25 miles from the beach and it’s freezing cold out there (translation:  60 degrees).  Okay…maybe that explains it.  Anyone who isn’t wearing a shirt or shoes in this weather is definitely a lunatic. 

The ancient clerk (translation of ancient:  anyone who appears to be ten years older or more than Fakename) said, You would be surprised.  He said he could not believe that people would enter a liquor store without shoes on.  We have bottles, which break, he said, and although we try to keep it clean, you could cut your foot on glass.  He said they aren’t so strict about the No Shirt policy, because they get a lot of construction workers who remove their shirts after a hard day’s work.  Also, he said, we aren’t strict about it if you’re female.  Said with a totally deadpan expression. 

Now you see why Fakename puts herself out there this way.  For one, I’m just curious.  But if I hadn’t asked, I would never have learned that this guy is hilarious.  It fits with my world view:  Always be amused.  If you don’t see an opportunity, you can always find one if you’re open to it.