April 2, 2006
Liz published this at 11:53 am
Sunday Afternoon Reading
If you get to know Chicago, you’ll understand why I like it so–despite the winters. It’s the American midwest work ethic, the reason Chicago is called the City of Big Shoulders, the City that Works. It’s the people and the midwest sense of humor.
It was Sunday. I stopped by a neighborhood bar, picked up a free newspaper from the stack by the door. I ordered a glass of wine and asked for a hamburger with pickle, onion, ketchup, and mustard. Then I scan the headlines.
Immediately I saw 300 Naked Women Feared Lost . . . . I was reading the – America’s Finest News Source. A great friend to have along with a glass of wine and a hamburger on a Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
I know that you can find this free paper in other cities–it’s even online–but it’s in every neighborhood bar, bookstore, and coffee shop in downtown Chicago. We think of it as our own. Maybe it’s an onion-connection thing. Historians say the word, Chicago, means stinking onion.
The Onion is not only America’s Finest New’s Source . . . per their trademark. According to their media kit, they are also hailed by the New Yorker as “The Funniest Publication in the United States.” “A Message from The Corporate Office” attributed to “the esteemed Captain of Commerce” promises that
. . . Every one of our readers is firmly ensconced within the plum 18-49 demographic . . . we went so far as to lobby the halls of Congress . . . to make reading The Onion mandatory for this group . . . Thankfully the law passed in 1997, forever ensuring that our readers are highly paid easily persuadable young folk with money to burn. . . .
Now there’s brand-centered promotion that knows its goal and communicates its big idea–crisp, clear, sweet. It’s what I call Frosted Mini-Wheats promotion. It satisfies my adult sophisticated sense of humor and my kid-like sense of fun at the same time.
If you’re not familiar with this news source, it’s a perfect thing to try this day after April Fool’s Day, when we’ve just changed the clocks to lose an hour of sleep.
And about those naked women . . . check the story. It ran July 18, 2001. I still remember it. I still think it’s funny.
Now that’s a brand that lives up to its promise.
–ME “Liz” Strauss