A classic blunder

A few years ago, Captain D’s upscaled its menu somewhat and added “Seafood Kitchen” to its name, with more grilled entrees, side items and sauces. (You can still get the signature fish and fries and coleslaw, of course.)

Recently, the chain has begun airing TV ads which tweak expensive full-service seafood restaurants — particularly Red Lobster — by implying that its food is just as good, and a lot cheaper. At least one commercial was even filmed in a parking lot next door to a Red Lobster, where diners leaving the restaurant are shown some of the dishes they might have bought at Captain D’s instead.

Well, Red Lobster has responded to this in the worst possible way — with a “cease and desist” letter. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Captain D’s is not only refusing to comply, it’s celebrating the letter and will be giving away 1,000 “I Refuse To Cease And Desist” T-shirts at its web site.

Red Lobster and Captain D’s, regardless of menu selection, are in entirely different market categories. While Captain D’s campaign is a clever and effective way to hawk its improved product quality I don’t think anyone is ever going to confuse Captain D’s with Red Lobster. (I’m sure Captain D’s realizes this as well.) Red Lobster, by objecting to the campaign, is just drawing more attention to it and making itself look foolish. And credit is due to the savvy marketing executives at Captain D’s for jumping on Red Lobster’s blunder.

Picky, picky, picky

And now, your unnecessarily anal-retentive commercial review of the week.

The new Old Navy commercial drives me crazy. It promotes their women’s sweaters, and in the background there’s this song. Thanks to the Internet, I have discovered that this song is entitled “The Way I Am” and is sung by Ingrid Michaelson. I’m not familiar with Ingrid Michaelson, and so I don’t know if that’s actually her singing in the ad, or if the ad agency got someone else to cover the song. In any case, here are the most notable lyrics from the song as it’s used in the commercial:

If you are chilly, here take my sweater….
Cuz I love the way you call me baby.
And you take me the way I am.

OK, so, here’s my problem. Who is offering their sweater, and to whom? The woman we see on screen (and she is a beautiful woman, so I should probably just shut up and keep watching) is wearing what are clearly women’s sweaters. Speaking on behalf of men, I have to say that we would freeze to death in the Yukon before putting on one of these sweaters, even if it were offered to us by the woman in the Old Navy commercial.

But of course, how many couples do you know where the guy gets chilly and the gal offers him a sweater, Old Navy or otherwise? I’ll tell you how many: zero.

The other possibility, I suppose, is that the song is supposed to refer to one woman offering another woman a sweater because she loves the way the second woman calls her “baby.” If so, that doesn’t match up with the visuals, which clearly feature a man and a woman. (Although, in the visuals, no one offers their sweater to anyone.)

It’s at times like these, that I have to sing another song — a theme song — which contains these wise words:

“Repeat to yourself, ‘It’s just a show — I should really just relax.'”