Funyuns Still Outselling Responsibilityuns

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Vol 36 Issue 12

Kitchen Staff Warned Not To Make Fun Of Regional Manager

TRAVERSE CITY, MI–Shift manager Dennis Brandt issued a stern warning to his Bennigan's crew Monday not to make fun of visiting regional manager Gary Wallace. "I'm telling you right up front that Gary has a bit of a weight problem," Brandt told the staff. "So if I see anyone giggling or making fun of him in any way whatsoever, there will be consequences. Got it? Because if he catches any of you laughing, it's me he's gonna go after, not you." The staff has previously received stern warnings not to make fun of the woman with the limp who frequently eats there and the man with the scar who delivers the Coke syrup.

Clinton Fumbles With Submarine Controls; 'Everything's In German!' He Shouts

SOMEWHERE IN THE NORTH SEA–His hand-picked mob of go-to-hell leathernecks counting on him for their very survival, President Clinton tried frantically Monday to make sense of the German-labeled controls of captured Nazi Kreigsmarine Unterseeboot 639. "I can't make head or tail of this Kraut malarkey!" Clinton told mortally wounded Seaman First Class Bruce Cohen, the plucky kid from Brooklyn who heroically fended off Stuka dive-bombers with the deck gun. "We've got to blow the tanks and dive now! Now! What the hell is 'BALLASZTWASSER'?" It is believed to be the most gripping moment of the Clinton presidency since April 1998, when he told unconscious HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, "You've never given up on anything in your life, you bitch, now fight! Fight!"

Man Carefully Selects T-Shirt For Night Out

WILMINGTON, NC–After nearly half an hour of trying on different T-shirts, Wilmington resident Larry Goltz finally settled on a black Peterbilt Trucks shirt for a night on the town Saturday. "I was going to wear my Blockbuster Video T-shirt, but it's white, and I wanted something a little nicer for a Saturday night. Plus, I wore that one when we went bowling Tuesday," Goltz said. "I was also thinking about my plain red one, but for some reason, I was in the mood to wear something with writing on it. And I like the way the Peterbilt logo on the chest draws attention away from my belly." Goltz said he is "99 percent sure" he made the right choice.

Last Month Apparently Women's History Month

ATLANTA–According to an ad in a March issue of Bon Appetit magazine lying around dermatologist Dr. Ira Haas' waiting room, March was, apparently, Women's History Month. "I had no idea," said Gail Travis, who happened to come across the ad, which read, "Join Almay In Celebrating Women's History Month," while waiting to see Haas. "That's the first I'd heard of it. Oh, well, guess I missed it." People across the nation are equally surprised. "Are you sure? I thought it was Black History Month," said Timothy Durkee of Wayzata, MN. "Or maybe that was February." Liz Unger, CEO of Almay Cosmetics and co-chair of the Women's History Month Project, described the month-long celebration of "women's remarkable contributions through the ages" as an "unqualified success."

Bereaved

I hope you are all sitting down, because I have some-thing terrible to impart. No, the President was not assassinated. If only that were the case! The news is far, far sadder. But first, I will string you along with some largely unnecessary details presented in a rambling, discursive manner, so as to build suspense and fulfill my word quota.

I Can't Believe I Missed The Oscars!

What sort of entertainment journalist am I? I was all psyched for the Oscars this year, as I am every year. Would Gwenth Paltrow look slim? Would Tom Hanks be sporting his madman beard? Who would take away the Best Adapted Screenplay award? I couldn't wait to find out!

U.S. Population At 13,462

WASHINGTON, DC–With the April 1 deadline for returning Census 2000 forms finally passed, the Bureau of the Census announced Monday that the U.S. population stands at 13,462.
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Funyuns Still Outselling Responsibilityuns

DALLAS–Funyuns, the world leader in artificial onion-ring-flavored and -shaped snack-food items, continues to enjoy an "overwhelming sales lead" over competing brand Responsibilityuns, the trade publication Impulse Purchase Quarterly reported Monday.

The unpopular product.

Responsibilityuns, launched last May in a bold attempt to challenge Funyuns' dominance of the faux-onion-ring snack market, have done "little to no damage" to its rival's sales through the first quarter of 2000.

"I just don't understand what went wrong," said James Connell, CEO of Delayed Gratification Foods, the Dallas-based maker of the sober, salted snack. "Everybody knows that responsibility and self-reliance are virtues which, with patience and persistence, bring rewards far greater than the fleeting pleasure of instant gratification. And, frankly, that is all our competitor has to offer. We felt sure that customers would respond to our product's image of hard work and long-term stability."

Responsibilityuns is not the only Delayed Gratification product to fail to connect with consumers. Also faring poorly are Proprie-Teez Fruit Chews, touted as "a blast of fruit flavor that maintains a basic level of decorum at all times"; Homework-First Nut Clusters, "the candy you only enjoy after buckling down and investing in your education and future"; and, perhaps most disastrously, Reputables, the "pre-wrapped snak-pak for churchgoing folk with a position of good social standing to maintain... in the home, the workplace, and the community at large."

Seeking to appeal to consumers' respect for time-honored values, the products stress thrift, discipline, and a strong sense of personal obligation over what Connell calls the "me first" sensibilities currently dominating the snack-food marketplace.

According to Delayed Gratification vice-president of marketing Anthony Fontaine, it was hoped that the emphasis placed on diligence, proper conduct, and "a little magic extra ingredient known as moral fiber" would win the company's products long-term brand loyalty among customers who "were raised right by honest, hard-working taxpayers."

A new responsibility-themed snack-food item.

Fontaine explained the company's marketing strategy.

"When entering a highly competitive market, it's important to seek out and exploit the weaknesses in your competitors' thinking," Fontaine said. "When looking into the feasibility of breaking into the snack-product field, we noticed a tendency among other brands to stress excess and self-indulgence over the sort of gumption and tenacity that delivers real results over the long haul. Our entire sales strategy was designed to exploit that weakness."

Despite its apparent logic, Delayed Gratification's strategy appears to have backfired. In recent independent focus-group tests of the new product Rote Memorization Doodles, not only did a majority of consumers not respond well, but they actually went out of their way to avoid them. In many cases, those tested opted to leave the premises of the store entirely rather than remain in the presence of a point-of-purchase display stand for the product.

In a subsequent study, respondents to consumer surveys designed to pinpoint the flaws in Delayed Gratification's marketing strategy reported they would "rather eat rocks" than purchase a bag of Auto-Safety-Reminder Cakes. Further, several respondents stated that "there's no reason to waste money on this [box of Insurance Bills Choco Crunches]," claiming that "just looking at the box puts me in a bad mood."

Delayed Gratification, however, has no plans to alter its approach in the face of poor sales.

"It is downright foolish for people to expect to always get everything they want right now, before first earning their reward through the endurance of significant setbacks," said Connell, munching on a bag of Character-Building Puffs. "Yet, somehow, it appears that many of today's snack-food consumers are looking for some sort of 'quick-fix' solution when they walk into a convenience store. Well, our company is above such childish impatience."

Said Fontaine: "The hedonistic party atmosphere endemic to so much of what passes for snack-food-brand identity today might offer consumers a moment of fleeting satisfaction, but once that initial sugar rush has faded, where does that leave them? At Delayed Gratification Foods, we offer customers something better: stability and security well into their retirement years."

"Sales will pick up in time," Fontaine continued. "We may not be shooting up the charts just yet, but slow and steady wins the race."

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