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Gag Me With Asparagus

I try to keep my eyes and ears free of distressing stimuli such as news, but news is like radiation. It gets to you even when you do your best to avoid it.

This weekend, while hanging out with our family in upstate Vermont, a Newsweek Magazine cover surfaced and caught my attention, because on its cover was a woman fellating not one, but two, spears of asparagus. One spear is acceptable, but two is gratuitously over the top.

How did I know she wasn’t just eating asparagus? Well, eating in an upright position is considered a best practice.

How did I know she was performing fellatio and not simply savoring the delicious bounty of the earth? Well, for one thing, she seems to be lying on her back. I’m not saying that you have to be on your back to perform the act, but I am saying that eating asparagus sitting up is considered a best practice.

A family member of mine used to be a VP  in circulation at Newsweek until they let her go in 2009, and I can only assume that without her firm hand on the tiller, they had to resort to  porn to keep the print edition going.

The eyes often play tricks on you which is why when I read the copy  after seeing the image I thought it read “101 best places to suck dick in the world chosen by 53 of the the finest hoes.”

A quick double take on the copy and I got it right the second time. Clearly my mind is in the gutter and I should not have assumed that Newsweek would go all porno in a desperate effort to get a few readers for their dreary shell of a print edition.  After all, here I am, hypocritically throwing around the words “fellatio” and “asparagus” in a thinly veiled attempt to make my own blog go viral.

So, I think we are all agreement about how spectacularly lame this cover “concept” was, but let’s break it down a little more and try to reconstruct the meeting that lead to this serious lapse in, um, creativity.

Editor/Marketing Intern: OK, listen up guys (there were no women present in this meeting) this week our cover story is going to be about the best places to eat in the world. We think this is a good direction for the issue because Newsweek has a proud culinary tradition the world over and at the end of the day we need to leverage that.

Creative Director/Marketing Intern: Totes!

Graphic Designer/Marketing Intern: Dude, I totally know where we can get some awesome pictures for the cover. I still have some money in my fotolia.com account from last semester. The images are mad cheap, and they have a ton of them.

Editor/Marketing Intern: That’s awesome, Tyler. Let’s brainstorm!

Creative Director/Marketing Intern: I’m seeing salami, kielbasa, strawberries…

Graphic Designer/Marketing Intern: Yeah but this is about the best restaurants in the world, not about hard, hard meat or tender, juicy fruits…

Editor/Marketing Intern: Exactly, which is why I think we should look for an image of a woman’s pouty lips going down on some asparagus.

And so Tyler went back to his cube and did an image search of the internet using the terms “pouty, juicy, fruity, asparagus, lips, woman, sexy, lipstick, red, pink”…and so on. It had to have taken him half a day, but he was driven and wanted to nail it the first time.

I caught up  with Tyler by phone to ask about his process. “It took some time,” he said, “but once I took the word ‘hollandaise’ out of the search, a lot more images popped up.”

Eventually, Tyler’s perseverance was rewarded, and after discarding as tasteless an image of a chef in his toque wanking a salami, and the other image of the gluttonous novitiate on her knees with corn chowder all down her front, the creative team chose the one that ultimately graced their cover.

The day the magazine went to press there was a frisson of excitement among the Creative Team. They knew they were taking a lot of risks with the editorial and the creative direction of the cover, but they had to cut through the visual clutter, and Tyler’s indefatigable search of every stock photography site in existence was going to pay off on the newsstand.

Confident in their knowledge that you can’t go wrong with a blow job when it comes to the best places to eat in the world, the Creative Team signed off on the first press proof, and creative history was made by a team of young visionaries. Buoyed by their success in attracting attention to the tragedy that is the once proud print edition of Newsweek Magazine, the Creative Team is now hard at work on the next issue, which I am told by an insider, is going to be about artificial insemination.

 

 

 

 

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