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20160102_204359 2I don’t know the first thing about marketing, but I’d be willing to bet that there’s a marketing textbook somewhere with an infographic that identifies a particular range of acceptability for a product’s character icon design. And I’ll bet that within the range of acceptability presented, at the bottom of the scale there are the words “Must get the product to market – No time for creativity.” I’ll wager that a little further up the scale the reader will discover “Is completely irrelevant to the product, but will sell to the droning masses.” And then finally, a great distance from either of these, at the top of the scale, the word “Perfect” sits alone.

In that same book, examples are provided.

In the “Must get the product to market…” section, you’ll find pictures of products that all have one thing in common. Essentially, they’re all simple renditions of the core product they represent adorned with arms, legs, eyes, and a mouth. Sometimes the marketing geniuses just explode with creativity and even slap a hat on the character.

“So, you need a product character for your tire company? Okay, I got it…”BelleTire

“You’re looking for characters who really capture the ‘M&M’ tradition? How about this…”mm_mascots

“You want something that will communicate that you’re selling little cereal squares with frosting on them? Done. Get this to print, my good man.”miniwheat

Of course, some companies look for salability by way of complete irrelevancy. Take “Tony the Tiger” for example. Yes, I know that Tony is quite the high powered character and that when you see him you know exactly what he represents. But imagine having been around when he first appeared on the store shelves in 1951.tony the tiger

Thumbing the lip, the shopper says quietly, “Enough of that boring ol’ oatmeal for breakfast. Let’s try something new. Hmm… What’s this with the man-eating jungle cat on the box? Frosted Flakes? Oh, I get it. This must be one of those new health foods. I’ll bet it’s made in Cambodia or some weird place like that. And the frosting, it’s probably finely-ground tiger bone.”

Yeah, probably.

clan-macgregor-scotch-whisky-bottle-500x500I sure am glad that Scotch whisky companies haven’t decided to use product characters. Although when it comes to product quality, I sometimes wonder if certain distilleries are working with a scale similar to the one I noted above. I think that the sample of the Clan MacGregor edition before me now (which was provided by a liquor store friend who, with great compassion, did not want me to waste my money) is one that holds firm roots in the careless “Must get the product to market…” category.

It’s terrible. Even though the Scotch laws demand that a whisky be kept for a minimum of three years in the barrel, this one couldn’t have been in there much longer than ten or twelve minutes. But what do you expect? The folks who make shizah like this don’t abide by rules of quality, and so it’s a bottom-shelf potion for a reason.

The nose is nothing short of decamethylcyclopentasiloxane. Oh, sorry. That’s a chemical used in electrical contact cleaners. Dry and quite piercing, but it certainly is very usable around the house.

The palate is less bitter, but just as toxic. There’s a hint of something sweet, but only insofar as what can be discerned from licking the blackened bottom of a frying pan that was used to incinerate a pineapple like a heretic refusing to recant.

The finish is a very light coating of the pineapple cinders – still warm and, thankfully, rather swiftly fleeting.

In the end, if I were at the helm of the Clan MacGregor group, I’d do my best to shawl this elixir for relevance. More exactly, here’s what I’d do. I’d repackage the whisky into spray bottle form and give it a new name – Clan MacGregor’s Rim and Tire Cleaner. In this case, I’d say that’s about as close to the “Perfect” mark as you can get with this rubbish.