I popped into Offenbach today, just to see what it’s like. Annoyingly, the town closed its tramlines in the 90s, so instead the trams just come to a sudden halt at a set of buffers built at the city limits, and you have to walk or bus the rest of the way into town. Anyway, along Frankfurter Straße I stumbled on two marketing decisions so bizarre and shameless that I had to take pictures of them on my phone to share with the world.
Bit the first
In case you don’t know even the best-known/most notorious of German words, that says “H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds 3”. Not just “War of the Worlds 3”, “H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds 3″. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember that entry in Wells’s oeuvre.
Now, unofficial War of the Worlds sequels do have a long history. Perhaps the very first piece of modern fanfic was a story called Edison’s Conquest of Mars, written by Garrett Serviss*, where Thomas Edison went to Mars (with the help of a professor called Garrett Serviss) and killed 90% of the Martians to teach them a lesson, and there’s also Sherlock Holmes’s War of the Worlds (about which Wikipedia says “the underlying philosophy of the book is very different to, indeed contradictory to, the original Wells story”), The Martian War (“While making use of many themes in the original Wells book, the present work is diametrically opposite in its basic philosophy”), War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave (“The plot bears little resemblance to the novel”) and the Marvel comic book Killraven (“the Martians from H. G. Wells‘ The War of the Worlds return in 2001 for another attempt at conquering the planet. […] After humanity’s enslavement, men not used as breeders or collaborators are trained and forced to battle gladiator-style for the Martians’ amusement”), among others.
But do you know what’s baffling about this? This isn’t a sequel. This is just the original H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds mockbuster (“Director David Michael Latt describes the film as The Pianist with aliens instead of Nazis”), published by infamous cash-in studio Asylum Films (makers of Transmorphers, Snakes on a Train, Sunday School Musical and Paranormal Entity), under a new title. It recieved a sequel, Next Wave, but then the studio decided that Next Wave, despite its abysmal 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, needed a sequel too, and what
better cheaper way of doing that than to rerelease the first film but stick a 3 on the end of it? Perhaps the Martians fell into a time loop or something, who knows or, quite frankly, cares. All I know is that someone who buys H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds 3 will be even more disappointed than they deserve to be, considering that they bought a film called H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds 3.
Bit the second
If I was reading a dystopian sci-fi book where the characters drink a product called “Energydrink”, made almost entirely from whey protein and sugar, from a can which is entirely blank save the name of the drink, a picture of a model wearing lingerie, and a dozen lines of small print warning people about heart-attack risk, I would put the book down for trying too hard.
Let’s look at the title first. Energydrink. ENERGYDRINK. Even allowing for the fact that it’s German (the German word for energy is “Energie”, the word for drink is “Getränk” from the word “trinken”), this is the most unsubtle name you could possibly give an energy drink, and that includes POWERTHIRST.
Second, there’s the model. According to the back of the can, this drink is licenced by Penthouse, which is doubly baffling because even though it talks about the Penthouse logo being used under licence, the logo doesn’t appear anywhere on the can. As for why they bothered with model, I think this can is the equivalent of the Nudge Nudge Wink Wink guy from Monty Python.
Does this drink give you, err, energy, eh? Know what I mean, know what I mean?
It does, yes.
Oh, say no more! Say no more! This drink, is it a… “sport”?
Well, it will make you better at sports.
I’ll bet it does, I’ll bet it does! A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat!
Only at least Eric Idle is slightly more subtle.
*Holder of the world record for most double letters in a name.
** Rejected captions:
CONTAINS PREPOSTEROUS AMOUNTS OF OESTROGEN. PREPOSTROGEN.
ENERGYDRINK NOW COMES IN WOMEN.
WHEN GOD GIVES YOU BOSOMS, YOU FIND A NEW GOD.
WHAT IF EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WANTED CAME IN A PENTHOUSE CAN?