Were Self-Driving Cars Really Developed Because of . . . Cheetos?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and slogging through the Sunday New York Times (which – has anyone mentioned this to you? – really should trigger a federal subsidy) when I came across a full-page ad that seemed to attribute the emergence of automatic doors, self-driving cars, voice activated lights, audio books, automated dog feeders, and more to . . . Cheetos?

Is that true, Doc – Cheetos dust was the driving force behind all those innovations? There’s supposed to be truth in advertising, right?

– Orange You Glad I Asked?

Dear Orange You,

First of all, “truth in advertising” is largely overrated (and underutilized) as a concept, but it’s a really good poem by Andrea Cohen.

Truth in Advertising

by Andrea Cohen

If we’d moved her,
she’d still have ’em,

the ad for Acme
Moving says, with a photo

of Venus de Milo.
But who, intact,

would Venus be?
Some standard-issue

ingénue. Give me
a woman who’s lived

a little, who’s wrapped
her arms around the ages

and come up lacking: that’s
the stone that can move me.

As for Cheetos, here’s the Times ad in question.


That ad turns out to be part of a Cheetos Hands Free promotion that the snack food brand launched last week at SXSW, complete with a Hands Free House in Austin.

Here’s the teaser.

It was spokescritter Chester Cheetah, though, who drove that train on Twitter.

Oh, yeah – there’s also a sweepstakes.

The Doc’s diagnosis? An extremely hands-on campaign.

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