I spied Peace Tea brand sugar water beverage near the checkout line the other day. As we all know by now, sugar water beverages are totally unnecessary and, due to their contribution to our nation’s obesity problem, a huge drain on the national health care system. And the market is glutted and competitive.
So you think maybe their idea was to associate an unnecessary evil product—tea flavored sugar water—with a universal human aspiration, peace? And I guess while they were at it, they decided to stick some atavistic 60’s pinball machine art on their cans, and plaster on a few empty slogans like “encourage others,” and “never, never give up.” Brilliant!
(By the way, for some great corporate doublespeak about what Peace Tea “means,” visit Peace Tea’s About Us page. There you’ll learn that, “While Peace Tea is a product, it is a product that stands for social obligation, social awareness, benevolence, compassion and soul.” It STANDS for those things, but it evidently doesn’t SUPPORT those things, as no mention whatsoever is made about corporate profits going towards complementary worthy causes. Huh.)
OK, fine. I get all that. Unnecessary, socially detrimental product, cynically tied in with vague notions of a better world and coupled with throwback peace-n-love artwork. But what about the seemingly random “Caddy Shack” tie-in?
If you check out the Caddy Shack can art closely, the similarity to pinball art stands out even more. See, back in the day, pinball manufacturers would often bring out a themed game that tried to ride the coattails of a hot cultural property without officially licensing it, with this being the most egregious example I could think of off the top of my head (The Bootles?!).
And I think that’s exactly what’s happening here. Notice “Caddy Shack” is trademarked on the tea can. And what’s the name of the famous movie we’re supposed to think of? It’s “Caddyshack”—one word. A ha! The lawyers have been foiled again!
Wow, so aside from invoking “peace” without doing anything about it, they also get to reference a well-known cultural brand without paying for it. And people call me cynical.
BTW, to be fair, here’s the official explanation from the Caddy Shack sugar water product page:
As most avid golfers and tennis players know, half lemonade - half tea is the drink of choice at country clubs across America. Peace Tea’s Caddy Shack takes a light-hearted, humorous look at the country club set – a little golf, a little tennis, and of course, a whole lot of drama and comedy. From the hot, accent-having tennis coach flirting with surgically-enhanced club members to the self-important folks chatting away on their phones, Caddy Shack shakes off the stress and has a little fun in a world that can sometimes be too serious.
Right. Got it. Makes me thirsty.