Advertising, therefore, is a particular bane of mine - whether in the form of billboards, or those slides they put up on the screen before movies, or placards on the sides of busses, I can't avoid reading them. I don't need their words cluttering my head; I often spend an inordinate amount of time internally puzzling or fuming over the permutations of grammar and syntax in adspeak, and I have other things I'd prefer to waste that brainspace and runtime on.
So as I was sitting in the theatre waiting for Minoes to begin a week or so ago, we were being treated to the usual slide-show advertisements for this and that. DaVinci flavoring syrups is one of the concerns to have purchased a number of slides, and every third offering or so contained rhapsodies on the ability of french vanilla to improve one's motor-reflex response, and so forth. Reading the ads as they flashed on the screen in my usual desultory way, blah blah American Airlines blah blah Serifina blah...
Then, with a shudder, I became aware of a horrible thing. I was staring at an advertisement for Buttered Popcorn flavoring syrup. It sounded awful. I was sure it was a joke of some kind - though if so it was flawless at matching the tone of the other syrup slides. I thought gah! and resolved to keep my eye out for similar ad-slides in other theatres. It was probably a joke - it had to be, right? Butter popcorn flavored Jelly Bellys are odd enough! I can barely see adding flavor syrup to coffee drinks in the first place - they're always too sweet, for one thing, and give me a headache. Or they taste like perfume, with that artificial chemical tang. I can at least understand the attraction of vanilla or hazelnut flavoring. But who wants a latte that tastes like buttered popcorn? Or worse, a buttered popcorn flavored italian soda? Why not just get some popcorn, with butter? The whole enterprise struck me as gross and disgusting.
Over the course of the next several films I saw, I kept an eye out for that slide. Nothing - plenty of ads for other flavors of syrup, but no Buttered Popcorn. I became more convinced it was a clever hoax by a bored graphic designer toiling away in the bowels of the DaVinci machine. Until Monday evening at the Egyptian theater, after the screening of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. On my way out I passed the samples & flyers table, and grabbed a bottle of something as I went, not looking too hard in the crush, but curious all the same.
I have it here before me now. It sits on the desk, lumpen and strange, labled in a freakishly carnival font: a sample-sized bottle of the official flavor of the Seattle International Film Festival:
Classic Buttered Popcorn syrup from DaVinci Gourmet, Ltd.If it's a joke, it's a damn elaborate one. 50 ml. of golden sugary olegeneousness I am not about to open without the vicinity of an Elder Sign. Yuk.
Solid evidence there's no accounting for taste, to be sure.