Monday, July 5, 2010

Eternal smoke, climbing pandas

Shopping a first class Southern-fried fireworks shack like Sharkey's in Foley, Alabama, is so much fun I wonder why I do it only twice a year. Sharkey's was packed yesterday on the 4th of July, and the good-natured help in their sparkly red-white-and-blue party hats were literally giving stuff away. We copped eight free flash-bang Roman candles on top of the $82 worth of firecrackers, M-60s, bottle rockets, artillery shells, whiz-bangs, and assorted exploding crap Simon bought with money he had saved for just this occasion. We all thanked Simon for providing our holiday entertainment in his generous way, also praising his sense of life priorities and ability to delay gratification.
As always, I was much amused by the fanciful brand names and packaging that the Chinese apply to their pyrotechnics. The fountains and novelty items carry the most poetic names. You can almost see Eternal Smoke or Climbing Pandas lighting up some emperor's garden way back when in the Han dynasty.
The bunker-buster super-duper combo packages were also to drool over. But they have a completely different, aggressively Westernized brand positioning. I liked Mind Games, Beyond Reality, It's All About Power, and Wow! Then there's Winner Take All! What's with the Old Master portrait of the guy with a Hapsburg jaw and van Dyck stache? We need a re-brand here.
Fireworks stands South Call it Thirty Years War: Winner Take All! and splash the package with the magnificent "Surrender of Breda" by Velasquez. Or dial back a few days in June, 1625 to the actual siege of Breda, the better to advertise flames, gunsmoke, and wholesale destruction.

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