The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

Another Entry in the This Really Happens Department

| 69 Comments

There’s this billboard in Minneapolis; at least two of them, in fact. They are advertising an insurance company–a place were you pay money so you can be a little less worried if you get sick, or have a car accident, or a burglary, or you die or something.  The billboard shows a sandwich of some kind, with cheese oozing out.  And it says, “Oozing with Discounts.”

So, yeah, there you have it. You are driving along, and you go, “Ah! Yeah, I want to be protected by the company that oozes!”

But here’s what I can’t get out of my head.

Somewhere, probably in New York, some guy in a cubicle went, “Ah HA! Ooozing! That’s what I’ll go with!  The client will like that!”

Then he went to his manager, who said, “Oh, good one, Whitcomb! Yes, the client will really like associating his company with the idea of oozing!”

Then they went to the client representative, who said, “Oh, smashing work, fellows! Yes, I can see it now, all over America.  We will be the oozing insurance company!”

Then it went to the art department, where they created an oozing visual to go with the oozing words.

And then the company approved it all.  They said, “Ah HA! This will get us our market share! We will be locked in with everyone who wants car insurance that makes one think of oozing fluids!  Go us!”

And that’s how it happened.  It boggles the mind.

 

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

69 Comments

  1. Since I work in a corporate environment, I’m sadly not surprised at all.

  2. Well, they got you thinking and talking about it 😉 Thanks for NOT sharing the company name.

  3. “I’ve got your sandwich visuals for that insurance thing, Ms. Pennyworth!”

    “What the fuck is this, Jerry? Are these sandwiches oozing? No, they are fucking not oozing, Jerry. These sandwiches are barely even messy! Jerry, the client needs ooze if they’re going to sell any insurance!”

    “Oh gosh. I’m so sorry, I thought it was understated–”

    “You’re going to be understated, Jerry. Now go take some goddamned oozing pictures. I don’t care if you’re up all night!”

  4. skzb

    ROFL! Yeah, there’s poor Jerry trying to explain the line between understated and over-the-top, while in the background the chorus is chanting, “More oozing! More oozing!”

  5. Jerry has a vision! And fine art degrees! But Pennyworth knows the ad industry. She knows that ooze sells insurance and doesn’t have time for some jumped-up neophyte to tell her about understatement.

    …together, they fight crime.

  6. skzb

    Next Season: Mad(super)Men!

  7. Okay, Steve, you need to add a “like” button to the blog so I can “like” Jen’s comment. Maybe also add a “fucking awesome!” button.

  8. You know, every time I hear the words “market share,” I sympathize more with your economic views. And I work in marketing, God help me.

  9. skzb

    (Enter Israeli commandos.)
    Ms. Pennyworth: No, dammit, oozes, not Uzis.
    (Exit Israeli commandos)

  10. skzb

    Will: Yeah, should really talk to Felix about that.

  11. I look away from the comments for FIVE MINUTES, guys….

  12. skzb

    (Enter squirrel)
    Squirrel: Can I help?
    Ms. Pennyworth: No, you can’t help. You’re a fucking squirrel.
    (Exit squirrel)

  13. (Enter bartender)
    Bartender: Did someone order a drink?
    Ms. Pennyworth: No, I said OOZES, not OUZOs
    (Exit bartender)

  14. Scene: an Owatonna living room

    “George, the mail’s in. Our insurance bill came, don’t ya know.”

    “Did they apply those discounts Mr. Drake was telling us about?”

    “Oh, well, yes they did, George! This bill is just oozing with discounts!”

    “Good, Martha, good. You know, it is a fine insurance company that can really ooze like Mr. Drake’s office oozes.”

    “That’s right, George. He oozes the finest insurance in the county.” A bell dings in the background. “Oh, now that’ll be my hotdish. It’s just oozing with cheese and cream of celery soup!”

    “Why, between this insurance policy and your hotdish, Martha, we are blessed with so much oozing.”

    “Praise Jesus.”

  15. skzb

    I’ve been at that house. I’m not there now. Praise Jesus.

  16. Will – I’m almost entirely certain this is a nice thread. Laughter is nice.

    skzb – We’ve all been to that house. I love Minnesota. Praise Jesus, and thank you for the coffee.

  17. This is clearly another example of the Melted Cheese Syndicate oozing their way into every ad possible. You don’t want to mess with them – you’ll get burned.

  18. I’m picturing a lurching zombie on the billboard; various fluids oozing from its torn flesh are even better than melted cheese.

  19. Jen, indeed! What is nicer than fucking awesome?

    Hmm. But being this is Steve’s blog, there could be buttons for Literal LOL and Metaphorical LOL. Then I could’ve clicked the LLOL.

  20. skzb

    That would be totes appropriate.

  21. That is pretty spectacular. My experience in the ad agency salt mines, though, leads me to believe that the process went slightly differently. What pops into my head as most likely is that the creatives whipped up a bunch of different billboard treatments, these were paraded in front of the client, and *the client picked this one because they liked it best*.

    Contemplate for a moment, if you will, the ads that were *rejected*.

  22. Could be worse, they could be plugging /health/ insurance with an oozing cheese sandwich.

  23. I’m trying to think of an adequate pun, but I can’t come up with anything that doesn’t sound cheesy.

  24. chaos – Oh god. What words are more horrible than ooze? Get some moist insurance! Scabrous insurance? What if they had a concept for creamy insurance discounts?

    ps: do not google “moist ooze” when trying to come up with further horrible words.

  25. skzb

    Chaosprime: Okay, now you’re just scaring me. Why would you do that?

  26. Rejected ads:

    “How about, ‘Discounts fall out of your mailbox like decaying flesh off a leprous zombie’?”

    “Steaming piles of discounts?”

    “Ooh, what about ‘discounts with chunks of clearance’?”

    “Uh…we liked the oozing one. Go back to that.”

    There. Now it’s not a nice thread anymore.

  27. “Dripping discounts, price-drop by price-drop”

  28. Mmm… grilled cheese….

  29. skzb

    *Hands on hips, glaring at figmentj* See, this is why we can’t have nice threads.

  30. skzb: Patrick told me writers work better when they’re terrified.

  31. Said billboards are, I think, a local phenomenon referring to the popular “Juicy Lucy” sandwich consisting of a hamburger embedded with cheese that melts in the process of preparation. (Get yours at Matt’s, accept no substitute.)

    What would be interesting would be to see if billboards for this insurance company in other cities go with the oozing theme and substitute the local oozy foods.

  32. Now I feel all conflicted about the grilled cheese sandwiches I was planning on making tonight. I had all this delightful ooze in store, and now I’m going to keep thinking of horrible things like advertising.

  33. Joe’s Discount Discounts: where we slough the savings onto you!

  34. I don’t care how amazing the discounts are… I am NOT paying a bill that’s covered in oozing bodily fluids.

  35. skzb

    Fade: Make the grilled cheese. Give it to the dog. You’ll feel better about yourself. Ask the dog.

  36. I can see “Steaming piles of discounts” being paired with images of poutine where regionally appropriate.

  37. “What the fuck is this, Jerry? I’m not seeing any steam. Does this look like a steaming pile of poutine to you, Jerry? Jesus titty-fucking christ on a pogostick, that’s a little stack of chips with cold gravy! Jerry, I’m sending you on an all-expenses-paid trip to Go Fuck Yourself In Toronto so you can learn what steaming fucking piles of poutine are supposed to goddamn look like!”

    “But Ms. Pennyworth, my wife’s due any day now!”

    “You’d better name that kid after me, Jerry. Now get the fuck out of my office.”

  38. skzb

    Coming soon to Showtime.

  39. skzb

    [Enter squirrel]
    Squirrel: Would a pile of these help?
    Ms. Pennyworth: No, they fucking wouldn’t help. Those are nuts. And you’re still a fucking squirrel.
    [Exit squirrel]

  40. It boggles my mind that a certain insurance company, looking for a symbol that suggests stability, reliability, and dependability, decided to *name itself* after an active stratovolcano in Sicily, something that explodes with exceptional violence at irregular intervals and, just as a side note, occasionally oozes as well.

  41. Pennyworth told Jerry to come up with 3 billboard ideas for review. Jerry comes up with Awesome Idea #1, Slightly Less Awesome Idea #2, and Cruddy Idea #3. If my 10+ years in Marketing taught me anything, it’s that Pennyworth picks Cruddy Idea #3 EVERY TIME.

    My take-away lesson was to never throw together a crappy option to make your other ideas look better. It NEVER works.

  42. this thread reminds me of the spaghetti sauce that used to advertise itself as having “green chunks and things”…

  43. Pingback: Some Endearing Functional Art » blog.jenphalian.com

  44. Jerry at the ad drawing board…. the client will surely love these.

    Insurance: It’s what’s for dinner! Eat your insurance, Mikey, the starving kids in Wisconsin don’t have any.

    That’s some nice insurance, there. Be a shame if it were to start…. oozing.

    Break into the flaky discount crust for spoonfuls of gloppy insurance!

    Insurance discounts that will wither your bills to dried husks of their former selves!

    Bitter drear discount winds scream across your insurance; who will laugh last?

  45. I bet that the client came up with the slogan (or a family member did) and over rode his agency’s suggestions.

  46. Cthulhu Equity & Death

  47. I think we’re all missing the more subtle message here: oozing piles of cheese are undeniably unhealthy. This suggests they’re hinting to potential clients that even if they choke up their insides on congealed dairy product of questionable authenticity, the insurance company has them covered. Maybe it’s even a warning to turn people off of unhealthy foods and improve their quality of life. It could even be that the ad is meant to make hungry, potential customers eat mountains of oozing dairy fat in order to deny them coverage down the line due to a ‘pre-existing’ condition.

    So either this is the hero of the insurance company world, or it’s just another insurance company.

  48. skzb

    [Enter squirrel]
    Squirrel: I had completely missed the subtlety, Nicky.
    Ms. Pennyworth: That’s because you’re a fucking squirrel.
    [Exit squirrel]

  49. [Enter Goofy Dog]
    Squirrel!
    [Exit Goofy Dog]

  50. I just opened up my policy while sitting at my computer. Now I have discounts all over my keyboard!

    Oops.. I’m wrong, it’s cheese..

    Nevermind.

  51. “You can tell an ad that oozes
    By the customers it loses.”
    And the pig got up and slowly walked away.

  52. Frankly, given a choice between oozing and ‘Praise Jesus’ I’d take the oozing but fortunately neither of them has made it across the pond. So far…

  53. Lobby to close your borders, Stevie! Our rabid fundamentalists are ogling your pristine shores as we type…..

  54. I think advertising companies will sometimes come up with generic ideas they can foist off on any company willing to accept them, and/or reuse ad concepts that more discerning companies rejected. 🙂

  55. skzb

    My sister used to write ad copy, and she’s pretty sure that Flytings is right about what happened.

    Only now I want to see an ad showing a suburban family in a boring car with the slogan: “Reliable. Safe. Affordable. Matt’s Juicy Lucys.”

  56. Juicy Lucy. The floozy that oozes.

  57. Come to think of it Juicy Lucy, the oozy floozy is even worse.

  58. Try “Murder Must Hire” by Dorothy L Sayers. Nice old murder mystery at an advertising agency written by someone who used to work at an advertising agency. Nothing seems to have changed.

  59. skzb

    Read it. Loved it.

  60. *shamelessly commenting on this post to bump it because we’re reading the comments out loud at the table right now*

  61. skzb

    [Enter squirrel]
    squirrel: I’m tired of arguing about language. Can we go back to talking about advertising?
    Ms. Pennyworth: No. And you’re a fucking squirrel.
    [exit squirrel]

  62. *Jerry unveils his proposals for the Hawk campaign* “See, we would print these posters and send them to independent bookstores across the country!”
    Ms. Pennyworth: *rubs one eye, looks at her fingers as though expecting to see some stupid-ooze stuck on them* Jerry, did you even read Hawk?
    Jerry: Well, I did read the first chapter, ma’am, but with the new baby and all, I didn’t have a lot of time for this assignment. *he notices a babyfood stain on his cuff, sighs*
    Ms. Pennyworth: Jerry, this poster has a fluffy kitten tea party. There are fucking kittens sipping on fucking tea. Are those… are the kittens raising fucking pinky fingers? Kittens don’t have pinkies, Jerry!
    Jerry: Well, see, ma’am, they’re polydactyl kittens. Like Hemingway’s cats, see, it’s a literary reference.
    Ms. Pennyworth: Jerry, save the sundresses and lollipops for Nicholas Fucking Sparks, would you? This is fucking genre fiction! Assassins! Sorcery! And, and, the flying beasties– *she snaps her fingers, trying to remember the word*
    Jerry: Dragons!
    Ms. Pennyworth: Did I fucking ask you, Jerry? They’re more like wyverns, anyway. Now shut the flying fuck up while I explain to you about genre fiction, Jerry. The kids these days, they like grimdark, do you hear me? Grim-fucking-dark, Jerry, and I swear on the tippy-top of Mount Doom that I will send your ass to Hell or Perrysburg, Ohio, whichever has a cheaper goddamned train fare, if you don’t make me a fucking campaign that’s better than this My Little Jhereg frillypantsed elfpoop!”
    Jerry: Of course, ma’am, I’ll get something darker. Right away.
    Ms. Pennyworth: You better pull it out of the grimmest darkest corner of your ass, Jerry, before I do it for you! *she is yelling at Jerry’s retreating back*

  63. skzb

    [enter squirrel]
    squirrel: And there’s a squirrel in it!
    Ms. Pennyworth: No one cares. It’s a fucking squirrel.
    [exit squirrel]

  64. Does Ms. Pennyworth make house calls? I’ve got a squirrel who’s been eating the trim these past few days, and she sounds like she could run it off with just one scowl.

  65. L. Raymond: Ouch. Hm. Try drawing a circle of salt, sitting inside it, and reading these posts out loud. Thrice.

  66. Well, I did as instructed, though I’m not sure it went well.

    At first, they just stared, nattering quietly and looking curious. I began the second reading with a few of them on the roof near by, some on the tree limbs, one or two on the fence, and their chittering began to sound more purposeful and somewhat urgent; I soon learned they were calling their friends. I flew through the third reading, but it was too late – I was surrounded. They had encircled me and were moving in and out, three steps deosil and five widdershins, tails twitching, eyes gleaming, paws clapping…

    Do you have any advice that doesn’t result in a hora?

  67. skzb

    [enter squirrel]
    squirrel: I want to dance a hora, could you put some music on, please?
    Ms. Pennyworth: No music in the office. Besides, you’re a fucking squirrel.
    [exit squirrel]

    P.S.: That made me laugh out loud. A lot.

  68. Summon Beetlejuice, he’ll take care of his own.

  69. The good news – the squirrels are all gone, yay. The bad news – I was distracted when I went outside and concentrated on Aldebaran rather than Betelgeuse, and now I have an infestation of Hastur’s minion’s and a lot of sooty smears to clean up.

    skzb: “That made me laugh out loud. A lot”

    Thanks very much. I love this time of year when the nights are finally cool and the first real storm of the season on the way – makes me goofy.

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