October 21, 2010

The ketchup packet: Art medium of the future

This morning, hiding in the Dunkin' Donuts bag with my egg and cheese on a bagel, I found these:
First of all, why was I given three ketchup packets with an egg and cheese sandwich? Are there really people who eat such a combination? Of course there are; people eat anything, and I once knew a dude who put ketchup on his scrambled eggs. But he also lived in a rusted-out luncheonette, so this can't possibly be common enough to warrant the DD employee assuming I'd want ketchup. Come to think of it, why does Dunkin' Donuts even have ketchup? And why, after hundreds of visits to Dunkin' Donuts and thousands of times seeing the sign throughout NYC, is it still the case that every time I hear/read the name "Dunkin' Donuts," I mentally say the name backward: "Stunod Niknud." Jokes from age 14 die very, very hard.

Anyway, these pictures made me smile, especially the roller coaster one—I like to imagine what would be the particulars of a Heinz Ketchup amusement park ride. Apparently, it's not bad, because those anthropomorphic tomatoes and bottles seem to be having an awfully good time (and the sun approves). Either that or they're terrified, because the car has no apparent seat restraints and they're about to experience a wicked-looking drop.

The lobster one is kind of blowing my mind—it took me a while to make out what it's supposed to be, and I can't begin to understand what inspired it. I can't stop staring at it. And while the center tomato bonanza isn't nearly as clever, it shares the others' delightful aesthetic.

You can barely see it in that photo, but each packet has the name of a kid and his/her school and hometown. Apparently, this is part of Heinz's Ketchup Creativity contest; they sent out the call for kids to send in ketchup-packet designs and the best not only became reality (with what's obviously serious brushing up by professionals), they also earned the kids, and their schools, cash and prizes.

A few more I found on the Web:
Yeah, that far left one is creepy if you think about it.

I like this—the packets are fun to look at, it's rewarding kids in a nice way, and it encourages our youngsters to consume corn-syrup-laden food products. That's what I call a net gain.


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