The image sent is not necessarily the image received

I can’t remember the last time I’ve read a book that made me laugh out loud with each and every new page. Jon Stewart’s Earth: A Visitor’s guide to the Human Race is one of those rarities. Written by Stewart and his staff, the book is intended for aliens who discover our planet long after we’ve perished. It’s intended to explain to the aliens what they’ve stumbled across.

Sections include: explanations on how our society was structured, our major religions formed and our bizarre culture created. The latter is beautifully captured in what Stewart calls his FAQs, or Frequent Alien Questions. For example:

Alien question: "The Acme company appears to have made low-quality products. How did they stay in business?"

Stewart: "Free shipping to remote desert locations."

Alien question: "You had the word Trump on many of your buildings. What did that word mean?"

Stewart: "A Trump was a demon who sometimes appeared to us in quasi-human form in order to fire us from jobs we never wanted in the first place."

One of my favorite sections is entitled, ‘Corporate Identity.’ It reads: "The choice of a proper brand logo was as crucial to a corporation as a nation’s flag or a religion’s gold-thing-you-wear-on-a-chain. It had to be visually appealing, but it did not have to have anything to do with what your company did." In other words, the image being sent by countless corporations wasn’t necessarily the image received by end users.

Here are three classic examples Stewart cites:


What you’d expect them to sell: White babies.   

What they sold: Baby food.


Anheuser-Busch 'Here's to Beer' :  

What you’d expect them to sell: Eagle traps.   

What they sold: Urine-flavored beer.



What you’d expect them to sell: Three-field crop rotation.

What they sold: Your own money back to you.



Loving Stewart’s suggestions so much, I decided to submit my own: 


What you’d expect them to sell: Antebellum plantations.  

What they sold: Cholesterol-laden fried chicken.


  Alaska Airlines Logo

What you’d expect them to sell: Grumpy Eskimos.  

What they sold: Air travel to and from places that had no Eskimos.



What you’d expect them to sell: West Village bouncers.

What they sold: Floor cleaner that could probably double as rocket fuel if you Aliens ever find yourself in a pinch.

How about you Repman readers? Do you know any corporate logos that have absolutely nothing to do with explaining the type of product the company sells? I’m all ears (which, FYI to future alien readers, means "I’m welcoming readers to submit their ideas.")


5 thoughts on “The image sent is not necessarily the image received

  1. Great stuff, Beth. Here’s another one: the New York Jets. What you’d expect them to sell: gas guzzling, chronically delayed jet planes. What they do sell: football teams that have broken fans’ hearts since 1969.

  2. Fun post, rep. Here’s a few more for you:
    Fruit of the Loom
    What you’d expect them to sell: um, fruit
    What they do sell: underwear
    What you’d expect them to sell: owls
    What they do sell: greasy food served by large chested women
    What you’d expect them to sell: Geckos
    What they do sell: Cheap car insurance

  3. McDonald’s.
    What you’d expect them to sell: Clowns, clown gear and clown action figures.
    What they do sell: obesity epidemics, higher health insurance premiums and elastic waist (or is it waste?) pants.

  4. Hey Rep: Here are my entries:
    What you expect them to sell: Cowbow hats
    What they do sell: Poor alternatives to fast food hamburgers
    What you expect them to sell: Sunflowers
    What they do sell: Oil slicks and cheeky CEOs
    World Wildlife Fund
    What you expect them to sell: Panda bears
    What they do sell: Dread about the future of all non-human species