MND – The Non-Birthday Dinners Roundup

December 10, 2013


When we first moved to France in the late ‘80s my mother and I used to watch ads on TV with fascinated bewilderment.  The game was always to try and figure out what exactly was being advertised.  Admittedly some of our bafflement can be chalked up to the sketchy nature of our French comprehension at the time, but a lot of it has to be attributed to the artistically mysterious nature of French ads.  Even ten years later when I was fluent in French, I would frequently get to the end of an ad and have absolutely no idea what was being sold.  I’m not sure that this is the mark of a particularly successful ad campaign, although it did make them entertaining to watch.

These days I live in the US, and have a DVR and very rarely watch live TV.  On the infrequent occasions that I do end up watching a show in real time I end up exchanging a lot of raised eyebrows with my roommate at the state of contemporary advertising.  That being said, I love fictional ad campaigns, mostly because they are generally speaking a lot smarter and wittier than actual ad campaigns.  I’m not sure why this is true, if show creators think their audiences are smart enough to appreciate a clever fictional ad campaign, why don’t advertisers give the audience the same credit.

For years the shining example of this was the Froghammer ad campaign for the New Burbage Shakespeare Festival in Slings and Arrows.  It was edgy and profane, and the kind of campaign that nobody sane would actually put into print.  It was also (in the show) effective, and made you long for companies who would take a risk and put something like it out into the real world.

On a side note, all of Slings and Arrows is genius, and you should go check it out of your local library/put it on your Christmas wish list (I’d say and/or Hannukah, but that’s mostly over at this point, so you missed that boat and I don’t recommend waiting a year for it to come around again).

I think, however, that there is a new contender in town for best fictional ad campaign, and this one has some real world credibility.  The New York Times posed a challenge to the real advertising firm Victor & Spoils (I specifically note that this is a real company because the name is so excellent it’s hard to believe that it isn’t fictional) – how would you market broccoli?  Victor & Spoils is the company behind some of the more iconic ad campaigns in recent memory, including the bloodless Coke vs. Pepsi war.

Victor & Spoils took the challenge and ran with it – probably far past what anyone expected them to do – and did the market research, and the brainstorming, and created the fictional Broccoli Commission of America to be the author of their campaign to get America to eat more broccoli (you can read the NYT write up here – Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover)  The resulting series of mock-ups is so brilliant that I find it actually painful that they don’t really exist anywhere except cyberspace.  You can download their full (mock) presentation here.

Dinner November 5th

Mixed Grilled Meats
Baked Barley Risotto
Roasted Broccoli
Apple Sauce

Click here for recipes.

November 5th

Dinner November 12th

Molasses Black Pepper Pulled Chicken
Creamed Corn Cornbread
Cole Slaw

Click here for recipes (but no pictures, because I forgot to document).

Dinner November 26th – Deconstructed (Pre) Thanksgiving Dinner

Pumpkin White Bean Chili
(slightly) Spicy Cranberry Jam

Click here for recipes.

November 29

December 3rd – Self-Indulgent Post-Thanksgiving Dinner

Tomato Ginger Chicken Curry
Saag with Butternut Squash
Spiced Basmati Rice
Pomegranate Raita

Click here for recipes.

December 3


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