Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Finding Wall Street Funny - Part 2

The Value (or not) of a Name

This post is part of a series inspired by the April 2014 Wall Street Journal Magazine and the silly, self-and wealth-aggrandizing people who, I am guessing, have no idea as to the irony in their blither they put forth. Which makes for great fun for the rest of us. Check out the first part HERE.

When it comes to buying a car there are two ways to decide for sure which one is right for you.

One involves taking a test drive, to get a feel for how the car moves, how it handles, how it cradles your butt and how easily you are able to fiddle with the sound system while blowing through a yellow light.

The other involves how awesome you believe people will think you are because of the kind of car you drive. Think BMW.

Buick's advertisement in the April WSJ Mag involves neither a test drive nor a name that invokes even a slightly improved sense of worth. Instead they offer this compensatory bit of false allure:

The Buick Lacrosse: So comfortable it's like a mini-vacation between work and home.


Those who equate vacation with comfortable are generally the ones who prefer to spend their vacation stretched out on a chaise longue with a pina colada. In a Buick, this mini vacation would not occur between work and home but rather work and the ICU.

To further entice Mr. Potential Customer, in case that photo of Nicole Kidman's sister up there in the corner of the full-page ad isn't working, Buick touts its "IntelliLink infotainment with natural voice recognition" system.

IntelliLink infotainment? Please, Buick, stop making up words. Buick is bad enough.

Then we read the confession in the fine print at the bottom: Full functionality requires Bluetooth and smartphone. Some devices require USB connectivity.

I suppose driving this car is like a mini vacation after all, considering the fact that we now have to pack a bag.

To Buick's credit - or to their ironic good fortune - their ad was placed opposite the first of a two-page article about perfumer Frederic Malle (whose first name, properly-written, has a tiny tennis racquet over each 'e'). Written by a sycophantic pseudo-socialite wannabe with a thesaurus in his Vuitton clutch and a thought process that manifests itself in a pile of verbal lemon chiffon, the article does nothing to convince this reader that Monsieur Raquette de Tennis has done anything aside from be the grandson of the founder of Christian Dior's Eau de Pompeux and memorize a quote from Voltaire.

"What is well-conceived is easily spoken," he says, an apparent attempt to intellectualize the fact that he can smell things though the quote does nothing to explain his suit, a suede number the color of a fine Bordeaux mixed with ox piss.

In the half-page picture above the article Frere Frederic stares back at the camera with an impatient aloofness that says he has no idea there's a painting behind him of a man floating on the ocean in an overgrown dome light from a Buick reaching out to a guy playing the accordion under water.

What is ill-conceived is easily labeled 'fashion' and 'art', I suppose.

So why is Buick fortunate to have their ad placed next to Mr. Bon-Smell? Because next to that suit and that picture on the wall their getaway car looks downright sexy? Maybe. But considering what the rest of the article has to say, those IntelliMarketers over at Buick sound like geniuses.

Check tomorrow's post (tomorrow meaning 'whenever I get to it') for the fun, courtesy of Mon Malle.

No need to RSVP.

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