Recent Correspondence


Moneybox gets lots of e-mail, from helpful suggestions to spam. I don’t often do this, but lately I’ve had a small batch of unrelated notes that deserves some kind of public response.

First, several people have already responded to this morning’s item on Slim Jim with some images of the early, elegant Jim, who has since been displaced by a freak screaming, “Eat Me!” A couple sent this link, and a couple of others sent this one. Both links are to items being auctioned on eBay, so I assume they won’t last forever. To the senders of these links I say: Thank you! (Anyone with other links or early Jim images, feel free to pass those along.)

Second, following last week’s Ad Report Card  on a pair of unrelated ads that both happened to feature the same actor in different wedding scenarios, several people asked who the actor is. I had no idea. But heroic reader Scott W. provided this link and the tidbit (mentioned also by others) that the same actor showed up on Friends last week. (I can’t vouch for that, as Moneybox HQ is a Friends-free zone.) Anyway, the guy is not James Spader, as some asked or argued. And while I’m at it, I’ll mention that several people echoed the argument seen in “The Fray” that the Jetta ad’s protagonist isn’t after the bride but rather the groom. Everything’s open to interpretation, I guess, but the editing of the ad very strongly suggests a link between Jetta Guy and the bride. Some correspondents felt compelled to add that I’m too thick or bigoted to have thought of something so radical as mutual male attraction. (“Free your mind,” scolded one reader, who I figure must be real smart ‘cos of the Harvard e-mail address.) Actually, Ad Report Card has addressed gay imagery in advertising, positive and negative, more than once.

But enough of that. On a lighter note, reader Gary N. suggested after reading another Ad Report Card (on Jeff Bezos’ star turn in a Taco Bell quesadilla spot) that I visit Amazon and type in “taco bell.” Here is what happens when you do that. (“I guess this is synergy,” he adds.)

I continue to get suggestions on the topic of opportunistic, post-Sept. 11 marketing, and, less helpfully, I continue to get a lot of opportunistic, post-Sept. 11 spam. Of all the lame, offensive, pushy, or misguided crisis-related spam I’ve received, the very best subject heading was on a message that arrived last week: “Gas Masks—Anti-Biotics—Viagra.” That pretty much covers it!

And finally, I not long ago got a note touting a book on options trading. (There were links to a site for more information, but by the time I got around to checking, they were dead.) What caught my eye is that the note was from (or claimed to be from) one Michael Evans, who said that he works for “Merryl Lynch Stocks and Financial Investments.” I’ve heard of Merrill Lynch, but never Merryl Lynch, so I sent a note asking where his firm is based and what exactly it does. Hey, “Michael,” why no response?