Really, Really, Bad Product Ideas

Really, really, bad ideas is a rather broad subject, if I do say myself, but one I approach with a great deal of relish. And just a wee touch of mustard on top. For instance, there’s the beer hat. Now the problem isn’t that the beer hat encourages excessive drinking, but instead it encourages excessive drinking among a specific target audience that shouldn’t be drinking to excess. And that target audience is composed primarily of people who think beer hats are cool. I know, I know, it’s a circular argument, but they’ve been drinking, and they’ll never figure it out.

Similarly, but different, is the Slanket for travelers, or at least that’s how I think of it. I believe the actual product name is the Cabin Cuddler. Which when you think about it, and I think about these types of things probably more than I should, especially as a means of avoiding working on whatever it is I should be working on, Cabin Cuddler does seem to be an rather unfortunate product name. It sounds like some sort of skeevy pervert. Or perhaps the pet name a medieval torturer would give one of his overly complicated medieval torture devices. As an aside, I don’t know why medieval torture devices all have to be so complicated, like the rack and the Iron Maiden. Did they just get bored with the simpler devices and procedures like the classic red-hot pokers and flogging? And it’s yet another example of the kind of thing I spend too much time pondering while avoiding remunerative type work.

Like the beer hat, the only type of people I can see using the Cabin Cuddler are people we all profess not to know, at least not well. Even the product models (and in this case I don’t mean the blankets themselves, but instead the people wearing them) in the ad are slightly dorky, tragically unhip types. I mean, look at them. The guy is using a Dell. When you want to portray cool, hip people, the kind of people that other people might want to emulate, you don’t have them using a Dell, they use a MacBook. And look at his haircut. It just screams part-time server at Applebees, not hip designer/producer on his weekly trip out to the coast.

Anyway, the primary problem with this product is that it’s not very practical. Imagine the contortions you’d have to go through to get into the Cabin Cuddler on  a typical narrow body aircraft today. Notice the promo picture does not have the furiously angry guy in the center seat, who starts off being mildly irritated because he is, after all, in a center seat, and is now incandescent with rage after pretending-to-sleep dork woman elbowed him seven times and stepped on his foot three times getting into her airborne Slanket. Oh, and lets not forget the best part. Trying to get out of this thing in an emergency, which really isn’t going to happen. On the other hand it does possess an uncanny resemblance to a body bag, but maybe it’s better if we just leave it at that, turn off the lights and sneak out of the room, pretending we didn’t really suggest that. The body bag thing.

Am I being to hard on the kind of people that would buy this product? Maybe, but then again if I can encourage people not to buy this, then I don’t have to suffer through sitting next to someone who thinks wearing one of these is a good idea. And if I don’t have to sit next to him, then maybe I won’t be the incandescent-with-rage-guy.


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