Pream - Patterns in the fog.

It's been a little while since we had a decent Graphic Gift, so today's ad comes at a fine time. This ad for Pream has a great clip art lady head.

Pream was (Google doesn't seem to think Pream is around any more.) a coffee creamer made from dairy products and other milk stuff. Quite unlike Coffee-Mate, which is famously a non-dairy creamer that continues to dominate the market, Pream wasn't okay to use if you were lactose intolerant. Maybe that made the difference that killed Pream? It sure wasn't for lack of a snappy name. "Pream" is way simpler and catcher than "Coffee-Mate".

My dad always had Coffee-Mate, which had a similar picture on the label - a steaming cup with the white product swirling and dissolving into the coffee. Here's the weird thing: as a single-digit-old kid, I studied this picture trying to figure out what was swimming in the coffee. It just wouldn't register as a random swirl of creamer. My brain demanded that it BE something.

This is a uniquely human psychological phenomena, called Pareidolia, that makes our brain want to see patterns in random stimuli. It's why we look at clouds and see Lincoln's head or hear voices in the wind. Pareidolia was an evolutionary advantage for us because it allowed us to learn why things happen, like migration of prey animals and predicting the seasons. It's a driving trait behind analysis that animals don't have. However, combine it with a little egocentrism or paranoia, and depending on who you ask, it can account for everything from the "face on Mars", religious phenomena, and pretty much every conspiracy theory there's ever been. We can't let Pareidolia make us think crazy shit. You know how, maybe twice in your life, a street light has gone out just when you drove past it? Believe it or not, you don't have some magical power that interferes with electrical systems. It was just random. When a street light reaches the end of it's functional life, odds are somebody will be driving past. How many times have you driven past a street light that has totally failed to go out at that moment? I'll bet lots.

As a kid, for some reason, despite the obvious presence of the spoon and cup, I couldn't see the random swirl of Coffee-Mate as it was. My leading theory was that there was a sea serpent in the coffee. I didn't' think my dad was drinking a sea serpent, maybe because watching the action of him stirring a spoon of powder into the coffee made everything clear. But the picture on the jar mostly looked like a something slithering in a brown pool, but I had other theories, depending on how late it was, how sleepy I was, and what I had for dinner. Weird.

Anyway, about that lady head. Sure, she's no candidate for the Disembodied Floating Head deathmatches, but she's easily perky enough to be useful as clip art. She has been lovingly pen tooled out of her background by our elite staff of old-world craftsmen so that we could present her to you, our loyal readers, in two sizes - big and less big. I know, you're endlessly grateful. But, try not to vote me into public office. I'm not running for anything and you wouldn't want someone in office who fails to see a threat in every random event. I'm not seven any more.

 You're welcome.
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Did someone say "gimme a friggin' Pream commercial? No? Well, here are some! Watch or don't!!!


Steve Miller said...

A. There was a DFH of Rand Paul in Time this week; it was so hideously done that I'm now quite sure he IS one of those lizard people that rule us. (The Pream Lady is artfully done. Except for that zit.)

B. Don't you sure a deaths-head floating in that cup of coffee? I do!

C. Coffee-Mate (or coffee-lightener, as Firesign Theatre has correctly identified it) will kill you. SHOULD have a skull-and-crossbones on the label.

D. The wind! The wind!

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

A. Gotta look that one up. This sounds good.

B. Therefore, Mars is made of coffee. Expect a mission to be hastily assembled by week's end.

C. I just pour a cup of coffee into a jar of Coffee-Mate and drink it that way. Still kicking. Well, my extra tentacles are, anyway.

D. Don't listen to the wind-voices. Just do whatever the jesus-shaped oil stain on your garage floor tells you to do. Mine tells me to buy a new gasket.

Thanks, Steve!


Anonymous said...

Actually, streetlights will go off quite regularly, it's called "rotating outage". A single light on a street will go off, and come back on some time later, then a different one will go off. The idea is energy savings. The smart people figured out that, given how much power a streetlight uses, if they temporarily turn just ONE off on a given street, there will still be an acceptable amount of light, but the systematic outages will save the city a considerable amount of power (and therefore money) in the aggregate.

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