Yeah, Yeah, Then What?

2. Realize you still need instructions
and grab cardboard from recycling bin.

My scanning eye stops in its tracks, and I go back over it, in slow time.  When confused, I find it’s best to go back to the point just before the confusion, if I can.

1. Throw away this cardboard sleeve
and the plastic cover.

OK, that’s clear enough and about what I was expecting.  Next!

2. Realize you still need instructions
and grab cardboard from recycling bin.

Yes, I read it aright the first time. 

I’m scanning the back of the pot roast package for the microwave instructions, slip-sliding past the stove-top and oven instructions. Ah ha, here they are, but my skim reading — Yeah, yeah, take off all the packaging, and then what? — is brought up short.   What the heck is this?  A joke on the package?

Humorous heating instructions
Microwave

Well, yes.  Yes it is.  What else is here?

There are the aforementioned oven instructions (not funny, really) and the stovetop instructions, which go all out.

Heating instructions - oven
Oven
Heating instructions
Stovetop

It’s then I notice the categories down the middle, separating the English and French versions:

  • I need to feel like I’m on a cooking show
  • I need it soon
  • I need it now

Good grief.  Flipping it over, I now see the smart-aleck fillip on the front.

Tell them you made it, indeed.

As I remember from a long-ago marketing class, humour in advertising is tricky.  People remember the situation in a funny ad, but not necessarily the product being advertised.  Or the humour falls flat: Some see it as hokey, some see it as smart-alecky or sarcastic, and some just don’t get it.  Or it might be funny and attention-getting the first time, but tedious thereafter.

And what goes for advertising goes for packaging, methinks.

So humour is a risky choice that reveals something about the corporate culture.  Exactly what, I’m not sure.  A desire to connect, even in passing, with their customers? A hope that a sense of connection will help drive future buying?  A belief that being who you are can work, even in product sales?

Or, maybe, a deep commitment to an integrated life philosophy that includes action movies, sloths, and pot roast?

44th St packaging Who knows?  I do know that I won’t buy the pot roast again because of the funny-to-me packaging, but because we liked the product.  I know that I’ll look at their other products in part because of this packaging.

And — notwithstanding their suggestion that I leave the slo-mo to the experts — I know that I’ll remember that some things are not only better slow, they’re only visible slow.

 

7 Comments

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – 🙂 It’s as rare, perhaps, as it is delightful. Years ago I drank a vodka cooler whose bottle said, “A good source of vodka.”

  1. Tom Watson

    Isabel
    Those instructions are hilarious.

    I have a Kuraidori sous vide cooker and cook steak the sous vide method all the time. Works like a charm. I don’t provide this kind of instructions to the people dining…would telling jokes while I serve be a decent substitute?
    Tom

  2. Whoa! Disconcerting, Mr., Mrs., Ms. 44th Street! I want sober consideration in the kitchen, especially when I’m not looking over the cook’s shoulder. Assure me about the fresh ingredients, brilliant recipe, and careful attention to preparation. Do not crack jokes. And keep your pleasantries banal unless you have something important to say. Since packaging is part of the service, behave like a well-trained waiter/waitress/waitperson and try to spell correctly and edit carefully for such details as oven temperatures. The best surprise is no surprise in your line of business, too. I shall be scrutinizing all of the preparation directions I read from here on in with the uneasy suspicion that something droll or troll has hidden intentions buried somewhere in the curt 1., 2., 3.s.

  3. Pingback: Humour in Labelling – Part 2 – Traditional Iconoclast

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