Tag Archives: advertising

The Real Soup Nazi

Tble Tent

[Disclaimer: This post is as confusing as the ad pictured. Read on to find out why.]

Husband: “So if you don’t offer me soup, you have to give me soup.”

Long pause.

Waiter: “Yes, but I offered you soup.”

Us: “No, you offered us muffins and coffee to go. Which makes sense since we just finished breakfast. If you had offered us soup that would have been really weird.”

So let me explain, what you have just read is word-for-word the ridiculous Seinfeldian exchange that we had with our waiter as we were leaving Mimi’s Cafe today. This took place after my husband and I had an even more absurd 15-minute debate over how to interpret the soup advertisement on our table.

After eating a delicious traditional comfort-food breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and buttermilk pancakes with a coffee and orange juice chaser, I noticed the attached table tent advertisement:

“$5 Mimi’s Soup To-Go! *With any $5 purchase. If we don’t suggest a large container of soup, it’s FREE!”

So, here are a few of the interpretations that we came up with based on the layout and copy before us:

1. I can have soup for $5 if I spend $5 on something else, but if the wait staff doesn’t try to upsell me on getting “the large size” version of the soup, then it’s FREE.

2. I automatically get a FREE soup to-go (normally $5) with any $5 purchase. If they don’t suggest I get “the large” then they upgrade me to the large for FREE.

3. Two separate messages altogether: a) You can buy Mimi’s Soup To-Go! at a special price of $5 if you spend $5 on something else. b) If they don’t suggest we buy a large Soup To-Go for $5, then it’s FREE.

Since my husband and I both have advertising backgrounds, we were baffled by how confusing this tiny bit of copy could be. We know from experience how many rounds of copy versions and revisions one little ad can go through before being approved for production. This cryptic ad reeks of too many people adding in their two cents on what the ad should say and once everyone’s edits are made the ad no longer makes any damn sense. Or in other words, “too many cooks in the kitchen.”

Oh and by the way, the correct meaning of the ad, as far as I can tell, is that Mimi’s is now selling $5 containers of Soup To-Go. If your wait staff doesn’t suggest you purchase some soup to-go before you start to leave, and you call them out on it, then they begrudgingly have to give you a large soup to-go for free. It’s important to note that based solely on the reaction from our waiter, if they give out too many free to-go soups they get in big trouble, or so we assume.

(I still don’t understand if $5 buys you a large or regular-sized soup to begin with, so please don’t ask.)

My advice, skip the soup and stick with the all-day breakfast menu. It’s yummy and far less confusing.


The Curse of Competence

When I was working in the corporate world, I posted the following quote on my office door for all to see:

“Lack of preparation on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part.”

It was (because I hate conflict) a passive aggressive attempt to dissuade my less than buttoned up colleagues from badgering me about helping them meet a looming deadline that they had days if not weeks to finish.

Because of my natural OCD tendencies, I always had my work finished, polished and ready to go prior to the deadline. If you asked for 3 great branding concepts, I gave you 6. If you wanted rough doodles, I’d bring in tight sketches and a mood board ready to send to the illustrator for production. Unlike grammar school P.E. class where I was always the last one to get chosen for the team, I was now in my element and I was excelling. Life was good. Until it wasn’t.

One day (after working at the same firm for 12 years) I got called into my manager’s office for a closed-door meeting. (Never a good sign.) I was told that I needed to not excel so much because my abilities were upsetting my colleagues because I was outshining them. I was dumbfounded. I repeated what was being told to me out loud because I simply couldn’t comprehend it. “You mean to tell me that you want me to do less than what I am capable of so that the under achievers can feel better about themselves?”  Silence. “So, instead of encouraging my coworkers to up their game you want me to throw mine?” Crickets.

Then just a simple, “Yes.”

That’s when I learned that I was cursed. My colleagues wanted my help to bail them out of their last-minute jams (because they were socializing when they should have been working) and my managers wanted me to downplay my skills to make the rest of the team “feel better”.

Today, I read an article about an economics professor teaching his students about the downfall of Socialism. He stated, “When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they worked for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.”

I think the same applies to the work place, or at least advertising.