As we all know, the purpose of art is more to inspire than to entertain. Historically, Amazon has been all about entertainment and products, but now the mega-retailer appears to have entered a pseudo-artistic realm, quite possibly by accident and without its own knowledge! Amazon’s product offerings have apparently inspired a multitude of creative writers.
Currently, there is an undercurrent of clever and artistic prose, photography, and video hidden among the customer product reviews on Amazon’s site. These “Customer Reviews” can be submitted by anyone who registers with Amazon as a customer. Near the end of January 2010 it came to my attention that we are in the midst of a groundswell of creativity and cleverness with regard to these reviews. A few of the products with fictitious and/or hysterically funny reviews include a laptop writing desk you attach to a steering wheel, dead rabbits, milk, and Bic pens.
Customers can also upload photos (shown as thumbnails below the main photo of the product on that product’s main Amazon page), which are apropos of the product, in many wonderful and twisted ways. For example, these are some of the photos included in the review of the writing desk.
Now, you would assume the pictures would tell the whole story regarding this ridiculous product, but no. Customers describe their experiences using it as a mobile bar, changing table for baby, and work surface for model ship building!
The “Raven”-esque review of Tuscan Milk by “Edgar” of “Baltimore” is beautifully written and worthy of national attention. The review of rabbit meat “mistakenly” purchased as a children’s gift at Easter is pointed commentary on our gullible and litigious society (as is the Bic pen review by the dissatisfied customer who found the pen to only function as advertised if used in one hand, but not the other).
And then there was video! An astute consumer friend of mine steered me to the Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt video review! Classic! If you’ve ever wondered who would actually wear a shirt like this, the review is a testimonial to the shirt’s power: “This video is living proof that you will get women, and fly.”
Certainly I don’t want to stem the tide of creativity by bringing Amazon’s attention to all this but it does beg the question, ‘who’s monitoring all the product reviews, videos, and photographs people upload?’ Can I add a review easily? Are the products real (a gallon of milk for $67.99)? Why are some “reviewed” products featured in the “reviews” of other products (product placement of Tuscan milk in the Three Wolf Moon review)? Are we on the verge of a conspiracy to overtake Madison Avenue? Are all the fake reviews written by one person, or a secret braintrust in some remote hideaway? What do the actual makers of these products think of the reviews, assuming they even know? Why am I going on and on about this? One thing is certain, there is no such thing as ‘bad’ advertising! If it brings attention to your product, it’s all good! Such creativity is sure to bring more traffic to Amazon’s site.
In conclusion, I’ve been wondering how to find the reviews that are worth reading. I haven’t searched them out myself–people send me the links (Special thanks to my astute observer friends, Tom, Patricia, and Mike). It seems just about everyone knows of one. How many are there? Dozens? Thousands?! So far, I’ve collected five. If you know of one, email me the link (via the “Contact” tab on this page) and I will compile a list for our collective enjoyment!