Scenes from A Tanzany Mall


Open scene in front of a display of phones.

Me: Hello. I would like to buy a phone.

Sales guy: Let me get the other sales guy.

Me: Ok.

Other S.G.: Hello.

Me: Hello. I would like to buy a phone.

Other S.G.: Which one do you want?

Me (pointing at a phone): This one.

Other S.G.: We don’t have that one.

Me (pointing at a different phone): How about that one?

Other SG: We don’t have that one. We don’t have any of these. (Waves hand over entire phone display.)

Me: Well then why … Never mind. (Exit stage left.)

Fade to black.

What’s in Alaska?

One of my favorite short story writers, Raymond Carver, wrote a story titled “What’s In Alaska?” Its a story about about two young married couples getting together to smoke pot and try to ignore the emotional emptiness of their lives. One of the women has a job offer to move to Fairbanks, and the other couple keeps asking “What’s in Alaska?”

This story has no connection to Tanzany that I know of, yet I found myself asking this question when presented with a couple of products using the Alaska name in their marketing:

Example one — any ideas why the eggs are “as fresh as they should”?

Example two: Pillows

I’ll keep my eye peeled for other Alask products to see if we can get to the bottom of this.

“Colgate, I think there’s something wrong with the Beaver.”

I saw this lovely lady at the store the other day giving away stuffed beaver dolls with a purchase of Colgate toothpaste.

This gave me the chance recently to follow up on an earlier wacky marketing post about this choice of mascot. In that post, I pointed out that since we don’t actually have beavers in Africa, this marketing campaign might not resonate that well with the residents of Tanzany.

Well, as suspected, she has no idea what a beaver is. She knew that they have big teeth, obviously, but was quite surprised when I told her that they use their teeth to chop down trees and build dams. “Really?” she asked. “Why do they do that?” She didn’t think that the people who take the dolls know what a beaver is either.

After this I saw another lady giving stuffed beavers away at a different store as part of the same campaign. Just as clueless about the animals as the first one was.

So keep up the good work, Colgate. Thanks for keeping Tanzany wierd.