Ask.com goes bananas

Dot-com ads now blanket not just the bulging Net business magazines, billboards and TV -- but our very own fruit bowls.

By Janelle Brown

Published May 10, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

In these days of dot-com dollars, nothing is what it at first appears to be. Witness the humble banana -- no longer merely a yellow fruit popular with babies and monkeys, but an advertising vehicle for search engines! "What's a recipe for banana pudding?" the sticker on my banana winked at me this morning. For the answer, I merely had to log on to "Ask.com."

Where once the Chiquita logo had reigned supreme, a dot-com was now hawking its wares. Is there not enough ad space in the bulging Net business magazines or on TV?

Personally, I loathe banana pudding and wouldn't make it even if I could find a recipe for it with the click of a mouse. But Ask.com, a search engine on a spending frenzy, has other marketing strategies for tough nuts like me. Last month, the site sent me free tickets to an Elvis Costello concert -- which, much like the banana, was not merely an evening with a grizzled crooner, but a marketing extravaganza for Ask.com.

This company that uses bananas and rock stars as marketing gimmicks is the same company that, last Thanksgiving, plopped its main company icon -- Jeeves, the butler -- on a float and sent him marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What would Jeeves think? Would P.G. Wodehouse's flawlessly proper butler approve of Internet-mania taking over even the skin of our fruit? I guess I'll just have to ask.


Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a contributing writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Janelle Brown


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Advertising