I was waiting for the bus the other day when a sign across the street caught my eye. Dave’s World Famous Burgers & Dogs. I’d never heard of it, but maybe the rest of the world has? I’m a vegetarian but know a lot of meat eaters and I’ve heard tell of great burgers from other lands, but not this one. And I’ve lived in Long Beach for 4 years and no one’s ever mentioned it. So what makes it world famous?
As it turns out, it’s supposed to have a pretty great burger according to overwhelming reviews on Yelp. Even if I was somehow in the mood for a burger I would probably not make a good judge. But still the concept of “world famous” was stuck in my mind.
Now it turns out this place has been here for fifty years so there is a different advertising mind set from that time. That’s when the clients and the ad guys used to go get drunk for lunch if Mad Men is too believed, so I’m sure they eventually just started laughing at anything and before he knew it, 7 martinis later Dave thinks World Famous is the perfect choice and he writes a check.
Now I don’t fault Dave, sober or not. Why not put that on a sign? Who’s gonna argue but me? What’s more fascinating to me is that this is not just an old-school method, we still fall for it. I recently saw a commercial for Super Cuts where this band talks about how they go get their hair cut there, because they can “relate to their lifestyle” or something just as ridiculous. So some kid who can only play one song is probably going to buy into the idea that if he goes to Super Cuts he’ll become a rock star.
Thousands of kids wanted to “be like Mike” and bought everything Michael Jordan endorsed. When I was a kid they sold Space Food Sticks so you could eat what the astronauts ate and PF Flyers that would make you “run faster and jump higher.” It’s all about the superlatives. We want the best, brightest, and most important in our life, I guess, with the hope that we’ll become world famous.
We all seem to want to feel special and the people that are clothing us and feeding us know that we want only the best, whether it’s a thousand dollar suit or a four dollar cup of coffee. I for one, feel sorry for the guy that named his hot dog Best in the Land. How can he compete with something that’s World Famous?