Sept. 25, 2002

Advertising You Can Really Chew On

By Roy Rivenburg
Edible Billboard Bureau: We don’t know about you, but we think the world desperately needs more advertising. For example, when eating pancakes at a restaurant, some people glance at their plates and see nothing but flapjacks and syrup. We see wasted space. Each pancake is a blank canvas crying out, ‘‘This space for rent!’’

Fortunately, a New York entrepreneur has developed a solution: the edible billboard. Introducing Gourmet Impression, a new gadget that embosses custom slogans and logos on pizza crusts, bananas, pancakes, cheese, apples, cold cuts, baked potatoes and many other foods.

It’s an encouraging first step, but more needs to be done. For instance, what if the person eating the pancake is blind? Shouldn’t there be a way to emboss food with braille advertising? And what about subliminal ads? We’d like to see a version of the gadget that stamps invisible messages and commands onto food.

Going Solo: A festival honoring one-man bands is scheduled to invade Chicago on Oct. 1. The six-day Uno-A-Go-Go festival will showcase 150 one-man bands from the U.S. and Canada, including a woman who performs in a gorilla suit, a guy who croons the blues through a motorcycle helmet, a man who built three robots and started a rock band, and an Argentinian woman who simultaneously tap dances, whistles and plays the guitar, violin and finger cymbals in Chicago train stations.

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Just in time for National Martial Arts Day on Oct. 19, Hasbro has reintroduced Kung Fu Grip G.I. Joe. Missing in action for 26 years, the Kung Fu action figure will be sold with such adversaries as a shark, a mummy and the Abominable Snowman. Meanwhile, we’re hoping Hasbro will introduce a Vulcan Grip G.I. Joe.

Alarming Trends Report: Terrorism comes in many forms...

-- A Nativity set in which Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus have been replaced by cutesy bears is on sale at Even the angels in this $60 ‘‘bear-tivity’’ scene are ursine figurines. Wise Men bearing gold, frankincense and Jellystone Park picnic baskets are probably next.

-- One out of four Americans wants to write a self-help book, according to a survey commissioned by the Jenkins Group, a Michigan publishing company.
-- Stormboy, billed as the first openly bisexual comic book superhero, has been created by a New Jersey publisher. No word on whether the character will write a self-help book for fellow superheroes coming to terms with their sexuality.
-- A talking cigarette machine is being tested in Los Angeles by the Brown & Williamson tobacco company. Somehow we doubt the contraption advises customers that buying cancer sticks could be hazardous to their health.
-- A book on how to communicate telepathically with your pet includes a chapter on sending psychic messages to salamanders, spiders and pet flies.

Weird Polls Bureau: If you could have a fictional celebrity tuck you into bed at night, who would it be? In a survey by the Serta mattress company, 58 percent of Americans chose ‘‘Cosby Show’’ parents Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad, while 26 percent picked ‘‘Brady Bunch’’ mom Florence Henderson. Boring! How about the Osbournes, Uncle Fester from ‘‘The Addams Family’’ or Hannibal Lecter?

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Activist for Healthy America Pressuring Government to Tax Everything That’s Fun!’’ (Weekly World News)

Bonus headline, also from WWN: ‘‘Family’s TV Picks Up Space Alien Porn!’’

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, PR Newswire, Mary Stolzenbach.

Copyright 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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