Sunday, June 29, 2008

more product placement (not on the chamois)

So in my previous post about awesome liquid/semi-viscous products, I mentioned Nutalla. Cyclists seem to love to talk about Nutella. I sure do.

But I got to thinking, is Nutella's appeal, particularly among cyclists, overrated? I mean, cyclists often swear by things that don't seem like such a good idea at first, like wearing things like bib-shorts or styrofoam on our heads. On the other hand, cyclists often swear by things that don't make any sense, like tall socks Belgium knee warmers (the embrocation, not the website). So why do cyclists love Nutella?

1) It seems healthy.
It's like, made of nuts, right. Well, sort of. But look at the ingredients. It's not good for you. Which can also be said for competitive cycling. Sure, cycling in moderation is great low-impact exercise. Cycling competitively has to be bad for you. Your heart rate shouldn't be at maximum for that long unless you are actually escaping from a life threatening situation. Your lungs should not cough up that much crap for that many days after a race. You should not regularly get goosebumps in the middle of the summertime. You should not have patches of roadrash on your skin. You should not have patches of roadrash on your skin that are interrupted by newer roadrash. Also, it sucks away all of our money and alienates us from non-cycling friends. Nevertheless, it is still fun, even if it's not good for us. Similarly, Nutella makes us feel like we're doing something that's good for us, even if we know better.

2) Nuts. Chocolate. Two great tastes that taste great together.
At least it beats waking the streets eating a jar of peanut butter.

3) It's so Euro.
Nutella is from Europe. France, I think. Nutella is from Europe, therefore it is great. Okay, no. But somehow, the "Euro" tag on something gives it an air of cosmopolitan classiness, especially if that something is essentially childish. Nutella is, after all, is just chocolate paste, with a tiny bit of nuts, that you put on whatever to make it a delightful treat. Smear Nutella on a baguette, or a pretzel, pour a glass of wine, and civilized adults will say "cheers". But I dare anyone to take some Hershey's syrup and dump it on some bread and try to serve it to guests. Guests over the age of 8. It's not a fancy dessert, it's just something a kid would do. Same goes for cycling. Cycling is essentially a youthful endeavor that we want to continue to think is legitimate. And just like Tintin comics and techno music, we think that since Europeans do it into adulthood, well then it's okay. This isn't to say that either cycling or Nutella are dumb--they're both great. The point is, it's okay to do things that kids like to do, like riding bikes with tiny wheels or eating chocolate for dinner, even if the Europeans don't. (As a side note, living in North Carolina has made me realize that for many people, the opposite is true: anything resembling something European is automatically inferior.)

And so just because something is European, does that make it better? Some friends recently returned from Germany and bought me these:

Now you're probably thinking exactly what I thought: Super Dickmann's gimmie. (Unless you're an English major, then your first thought might have been: what does the possessive apostrophe indicate?) This isn't just chocolate, it's German chocolate. With marshmallow filling. And some sort of cookie crust. According to television commercials (except for channels advertising programs on the History Channel), German engineering is top notch.

So, based on that logic, choose the correct S.A.T. analogy:

Little Debbie's Oatmeal Pies are to Super Dickmann's like:
a) Food Lion parking lot is to the Autobahn
b) Winger are to the Scorpions
c) Milhouse is to Uter
d) Ford Focuses (Foci?) are to BMWs

And so what are Super Dickmann's like? (Apparently, they also make Mini Dickmann's.) In reality, they are almost exactly like Nabisco Pinwheels (apparently now called Mallowmars), but with a slightly better cookie and a slightly creamier marshmallow filling (think Kraft Marshmallow Creme). Thus, the answer to the analogy question was:
e) Lance Armstrong is to Jan Ullrich
Both are formidable competitors, very similar in performance despite slightly different marketing, and both chock full of artificial ingredients. Zing.

So for your homework assignment, go talk to your friends and neighbors and if you can find anyone at the Little Debbie Corporation that would like to sponsor our team (or just sponsor me as a product ambassador), please contact us.


Dave said...

So true, european = automatically inferior 'round here. It must be rubbing off on me as I found myself castigating JD for dropping the metric system on me the other day, very euro. said...

nutella for president.

oatmeal creme pies for vice president.

co2cycle said...

Correction: Original post said "Ford Probes" instead of "Ford Focuses". The author regrets this error.

DukePirate said...

Original post said "Ford Probes" instead of "Ford Focuses".

You could have also just said "coolest car eva" and everyone would have known what you meant.