Saturday, February 11, 2006

You need Jesus (PanCake)

There's another wacky listing on Ebay, this time for a Jesus PanCake. Upon seeing it, I was willing to wager the following three things:

1. The pancake's Jesus-like image was created by hand using a mold and is not authentic.
2. Golden Palace will bid $100,000 to win it.
3. It will be at the top of The Pulse, Ebay's most watched items list.

I know the last one is true because you can see it currently ranks #1 on the Pulse web site. I'm pretty sure that if Jesus was going to appear on a breakfast staple, it wouldn't be on a pancake. An omelete, maybe, but definitely not a pancake.

My first thought was that this had to be a word of mouth campaign for IHOP, Denny's or another breakfast restaurant. And regardless of who's behind the listing, this what it's come to for marketers to cut through the static. But even this campaign isn't really that original, the "Weird" category on Ebay has things like 125 naked ex-girlfriend pictures, Empty shampoo bottles and a permanent tattoo on a woman's right butt cheek. Consequently, I might just bid on that last one. How great would it be to have my band's logo tattooed on a complete stranger's hiney?

Back to my point -- even the zaniest, craziest things have become commonplace online. Spoof web sites, banner ads with purple aliens offering low mortgage rates, fake Ebay listings are all forms of publicity stunts trying to get the attention of consumers who are sick of being marketed to (see: Tivo owners).

While these wacky listings and stunts grab your attention for a minute, and some are mildly amusing, the reality is that a good product or service doesn't need gimmicky stunts to get your attention.

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