I’ve been watching infomercials again, and this time I’m reporting on the magicJackTM. This magical jack is a VOIP (voice over IP) device, similar–I would imagine–to Vonage except it’s very compact. I take issue with some of the puffery in the commercial I saw. They were using news excerpts to describe how every news outlet was talking about the magicJack, but what they were quoting seemed to be pieces of boilerplate these news outlets would get from the company’s Web site. They also made a big deal out of the fact that the magicJack is FCC-approved. Unlike the ADA seal on dentifrice, the FCC seal is not an option. Without it, your product doesn’t go to market…or I’d like to see someone try. Now, they were creative in setting it up like an HSN special–even adding a counter of how many were sold at the bottom. I’ve seen it before, but this trickery of “We have a limited quantity, and I don’t know if we’ll be able to get any more from the factory,” is a bit ridiculous. What is this limited production run that this business signed up for? That’s just dishonest, and goes along with their exaggeration of how the magicJack can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Theoretically it could, but how many phone calls do you make? Now, all in the all, it’s a good product, and I would say is certainly worth trying (especially because it literally can save the average person hundreds of dollars a year). However, I don’t know if it’s worth supporting a company that seems to push the envelope with ethics. Case result: shame on magicJack for crossing the line and being gay.
While recently reviewing Pauvre Plume, I came across an opinion of the new McDonald’s(R) coffee ads. If you’re not familiar with the ads to which I refer, they are the ones taking aim at the Starbucks(R) marketshare. The ads feature regular people reading books or something at a coffeehouse when they realize they could have the same thing at McDonald’s without having a pretentious goatee and glasses and unnecessary reading material. The premise is “hold the attitude,” and I like it. Now, contrary to Pauvre’s opinion, I don’t think Mickey Dees thinks people will come in and enjoy a nice latte while reading the latest best seller. I do, however, think that it will bring in some people who want these coffee drinks but feel a little uncomfortable in the Starbucks atmosphere. Starbucks has its niche, and it won’t change. There will always be those coffeehouse hippies who spend hours pontificating (and sometimes I do too–it’s fun once in a while), and I think that’s what makes these commercials so funny. Now these tasty treasures are available for the general public–or at least McDonald’s target audience–while they chow down a quarter-pounder. Case result: McDonald’s got on the billion dollar specialty coffee bandwagon and did so without a big risk. Good job, McDonald’s.