[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.”
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.