Last week my husband picked up takeout Asian food as he does several times a month. Found a new place near our home and the food was pretty good. Might just become our new go-to place. We finished dinner and topped it off with a fortune cookie.
I have a bit of an uneasy relationship with fortune cookies stemming from the one time my cookie was empty. Trust me, it can be a little unsettling. As a result, I approach opening a cookie with pretty low expectations and a touch of trepidation. Good advice, bad advice, dumb advice, vast emptiness, and my favorite, translations gone wrong.
This fortune cookie, however, contained quite a surprise. What you might ask? It was not the fortune, which was pretty inane. Not the lucky numbers that get no attention. Not the occasional bonus extra fortune. No. No. No. What appeared, imprinted upon the opposite side, was teeny, tiny, perhaps the world’s smallest ever…advertisement.
What! (I actually said this, out loud, several times). I was so conflicted. What was this doing here? Who did this? Who thought of this? I felt a little violated, this intrusion had completely disrupted my fortune cookie experience. But also, I couldn’t help feeling that it was kind of brilliant. I hated it, but it was a good/bad idea. Compounding these feeling was the realization that some copywriter was given the assignment to create an ad for a fortune cookie. I’m pretty sure of this because the headline reads, 4%. Enough Said. I have to believe that’s a writer’s response to a ridiculous assignment. But seriously, how much more room could a headline take up? The ad also had a tiny picture of a credit card (that will remain nameless) and calls outs promoting 4% earnings on dining and entertainment. Oh, smart. I hate that I thought this was smart.
I brought my ‘fortune’ to the office and more comments and questions came up. What if it’s on the back of a bad fortune, something like be careful of your spending. Do you think the card company gets to write the fortunes? Does the restaurant know the ad is there, are they ok with this, or is the fortune cookie company selling ads and secretly peddling credit cards to the customer? Perhaps the cookies are free to the restaurant. The answers to all of this is who knows. But the experience could a harbinger more of disruptive, confusing, conflicting, good/bad advertising to come.