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If Porsche Can Build an SUV, What Else Is Down the Road?

March 28, 2001|MARTIN MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Porsche's surprise entry into the SUV business with the Cayenne in 2002 is already reshaping the global economy. Companies and other enterprises are scrambling to market "against type" just as the German auto maker has done.

Below are some of the unusual moves being considered:

* Moet & Chandon, the venerable French champagne maker, announced plans today to enter the American malt liquor market. Moet officials said the time is right for two reasons. First, Americans are stupid and don't know how to make proper malt liquor. Second, Americans are stupid and will drink anything with alcohol in it.

The company is still experimenting with brand names, but sources say "Stupide Americain" stands the best chance of carrying the new Moet & Chandon label.

* Abercrombie & Fitch, the hipster apparel company, is jumping into the foot odor business. In mid-July--the height of smelly feet season--the clothing company will launch a massive promotional campaign to sell its new transparent "odoreaters."

For $100, customers can purchase the complete "odoreater" catalog spotlighting its famous models wearing only the new product. For another $100, customers can buy the privilege of actually owning a pair of A/F insoles.

"People don't realize this, but beautiful people have smelly feet too," said a senior Abercrombie official who claimed his feet smell like "the fresh spring rain."

* Estee Lauder is branching out from the skin care, makeup and fragrance business and into home improvement. The New York-based company is poised to market an exclusive line of gravel, cement mixtures and paint removers.

Officials are especially pleased that they've signed Joan Rivers to be spokeswoman. Apparently, Rivers will appear in commercials in which she testifies to the amazing restorative powers of paint remover on her Los Angeles home, her New York condo and her face.

* Terminix, one of the nation's leading exterminators of termites and roaches, unveiled a new line of anti-cold and flu medications this week. Bug-Be-Gone Total Body Spray and Wash will hit pharmacy shelves this autumn in time for flu season.

Liberal applications of Bug-Be-Gone in every body nook and cranny are guaranteed to kill every flu bug within a 600-yard radius of the user. For optimum results, gargling is recommended.

* Lego, the Danish toy company, will mitigate the overcrowding in California schools next fall with the introduction of Lego brick classrooms. The toy company's classrooms will be similar to current satellite classrooms, except they will come with enormous butterfly wings, a "Star Wars" laser gun and a rooftop helipad. Another benefit is that the new classrooms can be quickly dismantled and stored in a small toy chest.

* In hopes of averting a costly strike, the Writers Guild is offering "rolling blackouts" of Act 2 scenes in all future screenplays. The move would save the studios billions in production costs and let the audience skip the boring middle part of the story line.

Update: Studio executives rejected the guild's proposal but immediately commissioned a pair of screenwriters to pen a major motion picture called "Rolling Blackout" before the strike deadline.

* Home Box Office is spinning off one of its hit original programs into a financial talk show. Actors from the mob series "The Sopranos" would remain in character as they interact with Wall Street's great minds. The first show will feature a stock analyst who gave a strong buy rating to Priceline.com at $150. Guests who provide sound financial advice will be rewarded with free passes to the Bada Bing Club. Those that do otherwise will get whacked by Furio.

In a related story, the "Sex and the City" cast is in talks to develop a children's show.

* Bemoaning a consistent dearth of campaign funds, the Green Party announced it will go into the lucrative Christmas card business. The festive cards will show Ralph Nader with a green Santa's cap stating, "Ho! Ho! Ho!"

For sales to take off, officials admitted they'd have to secure the rights to the color red, which are currently held by the Socialist Workers Party. "It's going to be tough," acknowledged a senior Green official. "The Reds always get top dollar.

"If it doesn't work, we may have to go into the SUV business."

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