You see them all the time downtown Washington DC and in other cities: promotional trucks that drive around giving out free samples, often with photographers aboard to get promo pictures of "everyday people" enjoying the product.
Well on Sunday, I saw one of these trucks pull up next to McPherson Square in downtown DC as I was going into a nice restaurant adjacent to that park. That park is currently infested with an Occupy DC encampment, which is still there despite the rumors of it's removal by the Park Service. Now it's just a couple dozen "symbolic" tents--many of which are half collapsed or filed with junk--and it's population is a dozen or so homeless bums and suburban white kids who pretend to be homeless as they type on laptops and talk on smartphones that I'm sure were provided by their over-indulgent suburban white parents.
This truck pulled up and the two who were in it popped the back doors and rolled out a big cooler tub, which they pulled into the park. It turned out that they were giving away free samples of Powerade, the Coca-Cola product intended to be a knock-off of Gatorade. Sure enough, the two began handing out bottles to the Occupods and taking their pictures as they drank it.
Well I suppose that's the whole point of these promo trucks--to put their product into the hands of people likely to go out and buy more. Still, had it been my business, I'd want the stuff distributed down on the Mall or the waterfront where real job-having productive people and their families are probably just as thirsty.
But then as I shrugged and began to walk away, I heard the woman who was one of the pair from the truck exclaim: "Powerade supports the Occupy movement!" I then heard her say: "Let's just give them the rest of it and we can call it a day." At this point, as I watched, this woman and her driver went back to their truck with several Occupods in tow and began handing them cases of the beverage. They handed out so many cases that the Occupods were taking the cases into the park, setting them down, and going back for more cases. They had to have handed over a couple of hundred bucks worth of product to this dozen or so slackers before driving off.
If those two in the truck were actual employees of Coca-Cola or Powerade, their support of the Occupods just cost them my business forever. I'll be damned if I ever buy another bottle of that swill. If, by chance, they merely paid another company to promote them, well then they got ripped off when that company's employees just unloaded a large percentage of their promotional load at one spot, giving it all to one small group instead of spending the afternoon passing it out like they were undoubtedly supposed to do. Not knowing which was the actual answer, I sent an e-mail to Powerade Sunday night asking them about this, but they haven't bothered to reply so I'll just post what I saw here and let the public draw their own conclusions. Is Powerade really the supporter and sponsor of losers and layabouts, of drug-users and assorted petty criminals? Because that's the message that they send when their spokespeople do what I saw them do on Sunday night. I mean, Geeze, Powerade, why not just toss the stuff over a prison fence or hand it out to the people at a welfare office or homeless shelter? What's that? That's not your target audience? Well then you might want to steer clear of Occupy camps too then, because the demographic is pretty much the same.
Oh, and sure enough, not an hour later, the Occupods had a table set up on K Street trying to sell the excess Powerade that they'd just been given for free.
Comments, Powerade people? You respond and I'll post.