Marketing to the MASCULINITY in us all

I’ve always loved looking at cars, trucks and “cool” vehicles even though I can’t afford most of them and lack the necessary “masculine skills” to fix up the old crappy, rusty ones…so I end up looking at them on car lots or on the internet.  I briefly worked for a large used car dealership, where I averaged selling five cars a month, and found that particular career really, really hard.  It’s difficult to get someone to trust you enough to get out of his or her car and have a conversation about what car or truck that they’re interested in.  It’s like I was a leper and the furthest thing that anyone wanted to do was actually “talk” to someone who actually had the keys to their next car…but I understand why.  Used car salespeople aren’t usually the kind of folks that lend themselves to “character and honesty” which was shocking to me because I’ve always enjoyed the car buying experience from a customers point of view.  Anyway, the car that I sold the most of was the Oldsmobile Alero.  Alero is a Greek term that loosely translated means “I should’ve bought a Chevy” (HA!) no seriously, it’s Nigerian and the definition is pretty lame, but it was a cheap reliable car and I had cheap reliable customers to sell them to so it was a good deal for everyone.  That being said…I got out of that career six years ago to where I am now…a BBQ rib taste tester/male swimsuit model for the Food Network, on my own show entitled “Tongs & Thongs”.  It’s right after Rachel Ray and right before Paula Dean.  Check your local listings.

As stated earlier…I like to look and dream about trucks and cars…mostly trucks, so I’ll get onto either a Chevy or Ford website and “build” my own new truck from scratch, choosing options, engine sizes, leather seats, and eventually…the color.  It was a couplea years ago that one of these sites (probably Ford’s) had “orange” as one of the colors to choose from.  It was interesting because when I built a truck the orange selection’s name was “Burnt Orange”, though when I built a car on the same website the same orange color was “Spicy Pumpkin.”  It led me to believe that the same color from the same company was called two different names just for the sake of marketing.  “Spicy Pumpkin” being more feminine for the little sports cars, and “Burnt Orange” being more masculine for the rough and tumble pick up trucks.  Which got me to thinking about a conversation that could happen between a couplea middle-aged guys in the parking lot of a home improvement store.  It goes….as follows:

Jasper:  Hey Fred, nice truck.

Fred:  Thanks pal, just picked ‘er up yesterday.

Jasper:  Looks sweet.

Fred:  She’s loaded, all the buttons and whistles.  Three quarter ton frame, six liter 350 horsepower engine, four wheel drive, heated leather seats, satellite radio, GPS, custom Flowmaster 50 dual exhaust, American Racing 5 spoke alloy rims & four Dick Cepek Off Road High Performance tires.  It’s one…smooth bad machine.

Jasper:  Dang!  Sounds like I need one!

Fred:  Ha sure!  They’re practically given’ ‘em away!

Jasper:  Hey…I like that color…what is that anyway?

Fred:  Spicy Pumpkin.

Jasper:  Spicy…what?

Fred:  Pumpkin.  Spicy Pumpkin.

Jasper:  (silence)

Fred:  (repeating himself)  Spicy Pumpkin.

Jasper:  Are you sure about that?  Maybe its “orange”…just “orange”.

Fred:  Nope, it’s definitely Spicy Pumpkin.  You see these little flecks of glitter in the paint, Jasper?  That makes it spicier than just your ordinary “orange” or regular “pumpkin”.  That, my friend, is the difference between just your ordinary run of the mill orange or pumpkin and this here Spicy Pumpkin.

Jasper:  Aaahh…sure Fred.

Fred:  Everybody just loves it.

Jasper:  Sure, sure…say, I’d better get going, before the store closes.  Marlys has me doing a ton of chores today and…

Fred:  Land sake’s Jasper, it’s only ten in the morning!

Jasper:  Yeah…so it is…anyway…I gotta go.

Fred:  Sure pal, but if you’re headin’ to the truck dealership remember to ask for SPICY PUMPKIN!  OKAY JASPER?!  SPICY PUMPKIN!!

Other colors that I haven’t found for trucks:  Cotton candy; vanilla verbena; sandalwood rose; primrose & lavender; and my own personal favorite…Dark Dollywood.

Remember to watch Tongs & Thongs this week where my special guest will be Greg Evigan.  Most of you will remember Greg from some of his finest work on the TV show “BJ and the Bear” (Bear won’t be joining us).  See you next Tuesday!

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