I cannot stop laughing

>> Sunday, November 02, 2008

I cannot stop laughing. I finally saw Dan Aykroyd's infomercial for his new Crystal Head Vodka. You have to watch this to believe it.

And yes, it's apparently real.

It's not supposed to be funny. Dan Aykroyd has been serious about his belief in the paranormal in every interview I've ever seen with him where it came up, and was apparently completely sincere when he hosted that goofy X-Files knockoff in the '90s. But this is the voice that hawked the Super Bass-O-Matic '76, now hawking premium vodka with which to get your drunk on. And that's if you leave out the fact that it's also Dr. Ray Stantz hawking premium vodka with which to get your drunk on. (The EPA may have finally shut down that unauthorized on-premises containment facility, but it seems Professor Stantz was able to spin off his notoriety as a member of NYC's foremost wraith-capturing team into a second life handling spirits of another kind, no?)

Listening to Aykroyd wax rhapsodically about the powers of mystical crystal skulls while holding a skull-shaped liquor bottle, it's hard not to believe it's a put-on. An extremely straight-faced, dry, brilliantly-timed put-on. The infomercial unintentionally echoes a score of SNL fake ads done so straight-faced it takes several moments to realize it's an ad (Old Glory Insurance comes to mind as an example, or several ads in which the game wasn't up until the late, great Phil Hartmann appeared on your TV).

I mean, he's talking ponderously about UFOs and psychic healing and tapping into higher powers... in the context of a vodka ad. In a documentary, it might be silly or sad or annoying.

But it's not a documentary. It's not a cheesy program about ghosts on History Channel or UFOs on A&E. It's a damn liquor ad. In which the bottle has "symbology and iconographic value... a mystic symbol in which we have chosen to enclose joy in the form of a very pure alcoholic beverage." (I suspect Mr. Aykroyd might be onto something: one might well experience an alternate reality and/or have a religious experience at the bottom of a bottle of Crystal Head.)

You've gotta go watch it. Right now.

(Oh: mysticism aside, it's a pretty cool bottle. If I was a premium vodka drinker and could splurge, I'd probably consider a bottle just to have the empty on my shelf. It looks like Crystal Head was retailing for around $40.00, until limited quantities drove the price up to $250.00. But hey, it's made from pure Newfoundland water, which--thanks to its different, more Eastern time zone--is free of all the pollution we have here. And it's quadruple-filtered... through diamonds.)

(Oh good grief, I played back part of the video to fact-check myself on that last paragraph, and I'm laughing my ass off again.)


Nathan Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 12:18:00 AM EDT  

It's only a 1/2 hour ahead of the pollution.

kimby Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 12:32:00 AM EDT  

I buy his wine..but sadly they do not have the cool bottles like the vodka.

Eric Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 12:34:00 AM EDT  

How is the wine? Good, or is it another celebrity vanity project? He seems serious enough about the vodka, unintentionally hysterical ad aside, that I'd suspect/hope the wine's good, but....

John the Scientist Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 9:42:00 AM EST  

OK, I think John Stossel did an expose where "premium" vodka drinkers were given blind taste tests and could not differentiate Stoli from Grey Goose.

The Premium Vodka category is the biggest con in the history of marketing. The only difference is in the flavored Vodkas, otherwise, it's filtered distilled spirits. Unless it's poorly filtered and put into plastic bottles where the ethanol leeches out the cheap plasticizer, like Popov's (which tastes like antifreeze), vodka is vodka.

But Pertsovka? Nectar of the gods. Especially when chased with black bread and a pickle. Seriously, try it. But get the real Ukrainian Pertsovka.

And OT, Akroyd and Maher are living proof of the aphorism that when the masses believe in nothing, they begin to believe in anything.

Eric Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 10:30:00 AM EST  

I haven't cared for Stossel's "exposes" since he did one in the mid-'90s about "criminals getting off on technicalities" that was the sort of thing I've ranted about in the past. I'm all for a skeptic like, say, Randi, doing that kind of thing, but Stossel's obvious agenda really puts me off. (Then again, I've heard people say similar things about Randi, so there ya go.)

I'm not a straight vodka drinker, so I can't pretend I'd be able to tell a difference between adequate and premium vodkas; I can tell a difference from cheap vodkas the same as anyone--if it burns the throat or tastes like rubbing alcohol, it's not good. But my vodka intake usually comes in the form of a White Russian or Russian Immigrant (vanilla vodka and Coca-Cola).

One thing I am sure of: if Crystal Head does taste better (the reviewer I linked to in the post seemed more impressed by the bottle than the contents), it isn't because of the construction of the bottle and it probably isn't because of the Newfoundland water (point a gun to my head, and I'll tell you it isn't, I'm just being conservative with my certainties). And if it has anything to do with the filtration, it's because of the fourth pass itself, not because the fourth pass involves diamond crystals or some such fluff.

But it's a wicked cool bottle.

I do drink premium tequilas, and there is a difference--but then, tequilas are graded by age and aging techniques vary. I don't know if I could pass a taste test, but then I don't pretend to much more than knowing that an anejo is barrel-aged longer (a year or more) than a reposado ("rested" in casks for two months to a year) or blanco (bottled after distillation).

I'll have to think about your aphorism, John. Aykroyd clearly believes too much. I assume with Maher you mean that he fell for the anti-vaccination spiel; I wouldn't say that has anything to do with what the "masses" believe, so much as it demonstrates that even a guy who's sorta smart can be fooled by con men with numbers.

Eric Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 10:31:00 AM EST  

(Oh, speaking of Randi: the biggest con in the history of marketing maybe Monster Cables, but that's totally off topic.)

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