You've probably heard about the rare total solar eclipse set to pass over the skies on August 21.
Heard about it again.
And some more.
Whether you've heard the repeated reminders that if you enjoy your sense of vision, you should buy these glasses before viewing the eclipse, or the shameless, never-ending plugs that Casper, Wyoming, is actually a cool place to visit once every few hundred years, or the re-hashing of "X/Y/Z ancient culture thought the total solar eclipse meant imminent death/world ending/God's revenge," you get it already:
The eclipse is happening, and it's already the greatest thing that's ever happened and ever will happen.
But, wait! It's also the greatest opportunity ever for some companies to cash in on the eclipse with ideas that range from interesting to idiotic. Here are just five of them:
5. Chiquita's 'Banana Sun'
This tie-in flirts with funny. The banana dancing-themed promo correctly stresses the importance of wearing the right kind of eclipse glasses on August 21, and features a British dude in a banana suit. It's way over-the-top corny, but that's probably the point.
Still, there are a couple of holes in this campaign. Chiquita is offering banana lovers a free pair of eclipse glasses...in New York City, a long way from the path of totality, where there will be only a 70 percent eclipse. Also, eclipse glasses are free or dirt cheap in many spots, so this isn't much of a deal. How about free bananas for a year?
And, seriously, who's buying a banana because of the eclipse?
4. Counterfeit eclipse glasses
From Nigerian royalty offering you cash-rich wire transfers via email to local pot scams to $50 parking for Broncos games, we run into all kinds of dumb, money-hungry ripoffs every day. But there's something extra sleazy about selling counterfeit solar-eclipse glasses, something so sleazy that Amazon is now refunding thousands of customers who fell for these offers. Ruining a population's eyesight in order to make a few extra bones is pretty slimy, even amid all the general slime we run into on a daily basis, and there are lots of retailers falling for it.
But, seriously, before you buy a pair of eclipse glasses, Google around and make sure they're legit. If you already have them, put them on: Everything should be completely dark, and the only time you should be able to see anything at all is if you're looking directly at the sun.
3. Krispy Kreme Eclipse Donuts
On a scale of forcing-it-because-everyone-seems-to-be-doing-it marketing, this deal can't be eclipsed. Krispy Kreme is taking advantage of the first solar eclipse since the First World War to introduce...a chocolate-glazed doughnut. Watch the video. It's a...chocolate-glazed doughnut, set to the tune of thirty seconds of Star Wars music and a sleek camera angle showing...a chocolate-glazed doughnut. We'd assumed that Krispy Kreme had offered chocolate-glazed doughnuts long before the eclipse was predicted, and if it's taken the company eighty years to figure out how to make one (KK started in North Carolina back in 1937), then there are some rather large flaws in Krispy Kreme's business plan.
“The solar eclipse is a rare occasion providing a total sensory experience for viewers across the continental U.S. Chocolate will have the same effect as we introduce a first-time chocolate glazing of our iconic Original Glazed Doughnut,” says Jackie Woodward, chief marketing officer for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. “The Chocolate Glazed Doughnut is a delicious way to experience the solar eclipse – no matter where you are – and we can’t wait for fans to try it.”
At least you can take one of these doughnuts and see the eclipse through the hole in the middle. While wearing your glasses, of course. You can find the doughnuts — if not the glasses — at the three Krispy Kreme locations in Denver.
2. Ravenna Golf Course, Nebraska
That's right, folks! For only $10, you can buy the right to bring your blanket and cooler to a golf course in the middle of nowhere to watch the eclipse.
Not that there's anything terribly wrong with paying $10 to sit on a golf course outside of a town of 1,300 people, 400 miles from Denver and 200 miles from Omaha. But for that same $10, you can grab a meal at Flashbacks Neighborhood Grille a mile down the street (Sam F. says his brisket sandwich and fries were good when he ate there three years ago, providing Flashbacks with its only Yelp review), and enjoy the eclipse from...a parking lot in central Nebraska, which is probably really similar to watching the eclipse from a golf course in central Nebraska, except in this scenario, you'll be full of Buffalo County's finest brisket.
1. Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
Feel like spending hundreds of dollars to watch a...partial solar eclipse? Then drive up to Avon, where rooms at the Ritz-Carlton in Bachelor Gulch start at a mere $293 a night.
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The Ritz is touting a free, five-minute massage during the eclipse and offering guests a host of eclipse-themed drinks. These include the Total Eclipse cocktail, which mixes coconut rum and Jägermeister, meaning you'll get the rare opportunity to see two or three partial eclipses before blacking out at noon on a Monday. Fortunately, the Ritz-Carlton is offering kids' activities during the eclipse, while Mommy and Daddy are down for the count.
But the real issue here is that Avon, like the rest of Colorado, is in the 90-ish percent eclipse range, and a good 150 miles from the path of totality. If you're in Denver, you'd be better off driving north rather than west. If you're traveling to Colorado, why not experience the real thing in Wyoming or Nebraska instead?
It's kind of like flying in from San Francisco for a Broncos playoff game, only to watch it from a bar in Avon. While paying nearly $300 for a hotel room.