My message today is twofold.
The first fold is as follows: I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the number of entertaining commercials that are currently running. Offhand, I can think of two, one being that cell phone ad with the cheerleader. Why I love it so much, I can’t say for sure, but it brings me endless joy. “YOU are not conceited; YOU are just honest” — awesome. And that Dunkin’ Donuts commercial with the dude crazily running about. “REINDEER!” Woot! He cracks me up, but the real capper is in the absolutely perfect double take the woman gives him in the end after she grabs him.
There was also a fantastic print ad that I saw on the train a few weeks back. However, I’d consumed a number of cocktails, and though I tried to leave myself a voicemail discussing the brilliance of said ad, I became flabbergasted by my phone (RIP) and gave up.
But you know what advertising concept I’ve never understood? Comparing a product to coffee. Last year The New York Times had an ad in which the paper sat beside a quite BEAUTIFUL cup o’ joe. There was even whipped cream involved, if I recall correctly. The idea of the ad was that instead of having the coffee, you could have the paper.
This makes no sense to me. Does any sane person look at a paper one moment, then in the next, see a perfect, hot, steaming cup of sweet, caffeinated goodness and pick…the paper? In a perfect world, I could afford to be both informed about current events and jacked up on coffee, but until that day comes, I’m fine with getting my news from television and the internet. After all, what good is a newspaper if I’m not awake to read what’s inside?
Hmmm…you see why I’d be excellent in advertising, right? All ads would be slightly manic; coffee would never be dissed, and there would be great bras for everyone! Plus, I know all about how to behave in the office, thanks to “Melrose Place.” Now, if only someone would realize this, I could…well, I could afford a newspaper!
Anyway, on to fold number two — my public service announcement. Which may not seem to fit in with the preceding paragraphs, but actually does, because a) I learned about PSAs in my television broadcasting class, right before commercials, and b) my PSA is about coffee, so there you go.
People, heed my warning. It is of the utmost importance that you do not drink the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha for more than two days in a row. I learned this the hard way in December 2002: The Month Of The Addiction.
It started out innocently enough. Philanthropically, even, as I had a toy for the Starbucks charity holiday drive. While inside, I was overtaken by the scent of coffee, cinnamon, and holiday cheer. Normally, I would have ordered a Gingerbread Latte, my Starbucks drink of choice in the wintertime. It was a rare treat, one I thoroughly enjoyed, but could take or leave.
On this day, however, the words of my former boss George echoed in my head. “THE PEPPERMINT MOCHA IS THE BEST! ITS ALL ABOUT THE PEPPERMINT MOCHA!” he would say. Sounded like a nice change of pace.
From the first sip, I knew that George’s words were no joke. Heaven. Wonder. Excellence. The chocolate! The mint! The whipped cream! The caffeine that immediately found its way to my bloodstream, and pulsed on through with an unstoppable fervor that filled my whole body with warmth and joy. Good call, George, I thought as I went on with my day, blissfully unaware of the tragedy that was to follow.
How I afforded my rent, Christmas gifts, and Peppermint Mochas for the next two weeks is beyond me. Oh, right. Credit cards. And there was a crack den — excuse me — a Starbucks just three miles from my apartment. Every day, I was going. It didnt matter how long the line was, or what the weather was like. I did notice that I was feeling extra tired until I consumed my first Peppermint Mocha of the day, but I chalked it up to holiday stress.
Then came the breakdown.
Me: I need coffee.
The Ex: Do you want me to make some?
Me: (glaring at coffeepot and coffee on kitchen counter) No, no, no. I need outside coffee.
The Ex: Okay, Ill go to 7-11 (referring to a remarkable little store right down the road from me, where you can get coffee for the low low price of under 10 dollars.)
Me: NO! NOT 7-11! IT HAS TO BE STARBUCKS! I NEED MY PEPPERMINT MOCHA RIGHT NOW OR I CANT GO ON WITH MY DAY!
Shaking, screaming, climbing the walls…I was a junkie who needed her fix, and needed it five minutes ago. I realized I was out of control, but it didn’t matter. Screw The Ex and his 7-11 coffee. I got right in my car, sped the three miles, and got what I needed.
Once I returned and the trembling had subsided, I was able to calmly and rationally realize that maybe I had a problem. That maybe life didnt have to be this way. That I could wake up in the morning or, ideally, afternoon, for less than the price of what it would cost to feed seventeen starving children a day.
It wasn’t easy, but I clawed my way out of the madness. Once I came down, I crawled into bed, where I remained for three days straight. When I returned to the world, life was a little less exciting, and colors didnt seem as bright. But I was set free.
So please, learn from my story, and don’t let it happen to you. Go ahead and donate toys to the needy, but fight the temptation to purchase anything involving the words “special,” “holiday,” or “flavor.” Know your limits, and stick to them. Buy a coffeemaker; go to 7-11. Just stay away from Starbucks, lest it take you down that same harrowing road on which I traveled.
And based on the behavior of the man in their commercial, I’d steer clear of Dunkin’ Donuts, too. Just to play it safe.