Friday, January 28, 2011

J. Peterman Lives!

J. Peterman, the quirky Seinfeld character, that parodies the real J. Peterman, lives wherever products are marketed by over-the-top prose.

A recent trip to one of my favorite stores, World Market, was a case in point that marketing can never go too far.

First, the jelly beans.  World Market sells a Jelly Belly knockoff called Teenee Beanees.  They're don't have quite as much of a kick as Jelly Belly, but they are almost as good and a lot cheaper.  But what is really a hoot is the blurb on the back of "American Medley," a melange of the rather staid and standard flavors of strawberry, lime, cherry, grape, orange, and lemon:

Americana Medley - classics from coast to coast. Sit back and enjoy a cross-country tour to six luscious locales: Savannah Strawberry, Laredo Lime, Chesapeake Cherry, Napa Grape, Indian River Orange, and La Jolla Lemon. Open up and discover a delightfully delicious land with liberty and flavor for all.

There is also another collection called "Island Breeze" which includes strawberry banana, punch, pineapple banana, lime, and orange pineapple.  On the back you will find this gem:

Feel the Island Breeze - Whether you're enjoying the savory flavors of Cabana Strawbana, Caribbean Punch, Kauai Pineapple Banana, St. Kitt's Kiwi Lime, or Martinique Orange Pineapple, Island Breeze includes exotic flavors so authentic you can almost hear the sound of steel drums.  Get ready, get set, getaway.

Common to both collections is the following blurb:

"Experience the world's biggest flavor in a tiny bean.  Visit Teenee Beanee Delicious Destinations.  Like tiny passports to flavor paradise, Delicious Destinations transports you to the most mouth-watering places on earth.  This thrilling collection of superpremium jellybeans features the planet's finest, most delectable handcrafted confections."

Wow.  I mean, they're just jelly beans for crying out loud!

Not to be outdone by candy makers, a purveyor of tea called Zhena's Gypsy Tea also goes all Peterman in its marketing.  Case in point: Coconut Chai:

"A robust and full flavored black tea accented with exotic imperial spices. The bold concentrated character of this lush black tea lends itself well to the full notes of cardamom, ginger and clove. The sweet hint of tropical coconut fragrantly fills the cup, offering an inviting taste of paradise to savor from any spot on the map. Delicious with a splash of milk. A bright and flavorful steep. Sunglasses not included." 

It's good tea and all, but it's still tea.

It goes to show that its not so much about selling jelly beans and tea as much as it is selling a person on his own taste, convincing him that he is a kind of cosmopolitan James Bond even as he is pushing around a shopping cart with a wobbly wheel.

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