12 May 2008

Local Flavor?

Because I listen to the radio all morning while I get ready for work, I have been repeatedly subjected to a horrifying series of ads for Colombo Yogurt's Name Your Colombo contest. They are far worse than the generic "Hey We Know Your Market!" type ads that Citibank put out when they came to town (and which BoA quickly and shrewdly made fun of in their own campaign). Why? Well, because where Citi was bland and generic, Colombo is specific and insulting. The three I have heard so far are:

An annoying man who mentions signifiers of upper class standing, such as a house on the Cape and a sports car, yet has a decidedly down-market accent and is so gauche as to call all of his friends on the way down to say "Hey, we're going to the Cape." No mention of how long he got stuck on Rt 3 in that shiny little sports car.

An annoying woman, who has a stereotypical Southie accent, but tells us she's from Southie in case you missed it. She has to deal with that darn unpredictable spring weather in Boston, so she goes out in shorts and a parka, then calls her friend to say she's invented the "sharka" then repeats this made-up word over and over for full accented effect. I guess they had to come up with a made-up word to best highlight the accent because you can't say "wicked retahded."

Finally, an annoying woman who talks about how bad the other drivers are in the rotary on the Arborway in JP. Okay, yeah, that one's true.

But, seriously, did they hire an angry Yankees fan to write these spots? The best regionalized spots show knowledge and affection for the region they skewer - the Boston.com "This Isn't Boston" series or the Dunkin Donuts ad featuring Curt Schilling a few years back. All these ads show to me is a superficial understanding and a lot of contempt.

Even more perplexing? For the contest itself, you are supposed to suggest a new New England-themed name - relating to Connecticut, Massachusetts or New York! Last time I checked, there were six NE states and New York was not one.