Saturday, April 10, 2010

tatterdemalion


\tatt-er-dih-MAIL-yun\

adjective

1 : ragged or disreputable in appearance
2 : being in a decayed state or condition : dilapidated

On the hundredth day of the year, Mirriam-Webster has decided to transform their emailing format. Where the sender's address used to read: word@m-w.com, it now reads: M-W's Word of the Day. Where the subject would have read: tatterdemalion: M-W's word of the day, it now has the catchy: This word went from rags to ruin. Someone somewhere sitting in an office made this decision.

We need to change it up, get people interested, draw them in.

I'm already interested. I'm interested in their desire and subsequent attempts to get me more interested.

Is it a stretch to suggest M-W thought their old ways were TATTERDEMALION? Ragged? Disreputable? Probably. But I am distracted by their remodel, their need for freshness.

This happens all the time. Products redesign their packaging to upgrade their look, keep up with the times. "New Look, Same Great Taste!" they remind me, as if I will be confused by the transformation (Is this really the same product I love? It has the same name, but it looks oddly unfamiliar. I question whether or not I should trust this new and foreign packaging. If only there were a disclaimer of some sort, reassuring me that I am not being duped).

I think about this a lot as a consumer, especially in the case of Doritos. Doritos are one of the only chemical-filled products I still enjoy.* But I miss the old package—the white and red bag with a clear window in the center, the alternating block letters, the opportunity to see the orange glow of the snack you are about to greedily consume. Now the packaging is just loud and offensive, not unlike American Gladiators.

I wouldn't be surprised if Doritos eventually came out with a limited edition line that employed the use of their original packaging. They could call it Vintage Doritos, marketing to a demographic comprised of nostalgic curmudgeons like myself who cannot keep up with the pace of modern marketing.

I would buy a bag.


*After working for Whole Foods for four years, I am overly sensitive to the taste of anything artificial. Often times nostalgia inspires me to revisit childhood snacks that now taste more like the packaging than anything moderately edible. I have been particularly disappointed by: Klondike bars, Hershey's Special Dark, Nutterbutters, Sprite, and, sadly, Lucky Charms.




3 comments:

  1. And you're already subscribed. What I find comical is the fact that I read this blog rather than subscribing to their daily email. So their attempts to rein in new people are rendered useless on your audience.

    ReplyDelete