So it's hard not to crack a few jokes about this one, dreadfully hard, so I'm not even going to try. CBS
Numerous news agencies reported that CBS plans to print up slogans spreading the word about its fall season on more than 35 million of the eggs that show up on grocery-store shelves. (Think: "CSI: Crack the Code on CBS" -- and yes, the Internet is full of egg jokes on this development. Maybe that's just part of CBS's promotional strategy.)
Apparently CBS teamed up with a company called EggFusion, "an egg-coding company." The website proclaims the company is "promoting freshness with every impression" (because it prints expiration dates on egg shells as well). EggFusion claims that millions of people see, touch, and use eggs every day -- for example, checking for broken eggs before buying a carton in the grocery store.
The campaign represents CBS's "outernet strategy," which consists of reaching outside the living room for consumers' attention. That makes sense, considering that many companies now suspect that television advertising isn't the best way to go these days, and often seek to get creative. Thus, we get offbeat marketing campaigns such as Burger King's Subservient Chicken, or the one where Yum Brands'
And of course, there are some companies still struggling to understand certain techniques, including the viral Internet clips that make excellent (and free) advertising. General Electric
Given the trends, it certainly makes sense that CBS would to try to drum up as much interest as possible for its fall season, in as innovative a way as possible. After all, important companies' loss of faith in TV advertising poses a big risk to CBS, which relies on advertising for a major chunk of its revenues.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if some consumers who find marketing slogans stamped on their eggs might be shocked -- perhaps even annoyed. ("I wanted a poached egg, not a pitch!") Plenty of people have grown tired of feeling inundated with advertising everywhere they turn -- that's a big driver of the DVR revolution in the first place. CBS can only hope that such a development won't result in consumers channeling antisocial Alex in A Clockwork Orange: "Eggiweggs. I would like . to smash them!"
Like it or not, your eggs just might contain messages starting in September. If you find yourself scrambling to watch The Amazing Race or inexplicably craving omelets during The Class, don't be too surprised.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.