Few Christmastime traditions are more cherished than the classic Yule Log, a celebration of the season which apparently dates all the way back to pre-Christian Scandinavia. The practice has evolved quite a bit over the centuries, with most Yule Logs now burning in digital rather than analog fireplaces.
Similar to how Christmas is technically a pagan winter festival co-opted by early Christianity, brands have taken it upon themselves to appropriate the aesthetics of the Yule Log for their own marketing purposes. For the latest such example, we turn to Olive Garden, an Italian restaurant chain who believes that Christmas should be celebrated by staring their Oven Baked Pastas for eight hours. Yes, really.
Intended as a sort of ASMR video, the whole thing consists of an eight hour, zero minute, and thirty second loop of Olive Garden’s new Smoked Mozzarella Shrimp Rigatoni and Asiago Tortelloni Alfredo with Grilled Chicken pastas. I can only imagine that leaving either of them in an actual oven for eight hours would result in an Olive Garden burning to the ground, so you’d have to think that this is on a loop. I have neither the time, nor the patience, nor the attention to detail required to figure out when in the video one loop ends and the next begins. You’re on your own.
As mentioned, it’s far from the first time a hearthside image associated with Christmas warmth has been used to sell something. Everyone from Budweiser to Microsoft has leveraged the YuleLog for their own holiday marketing purposes, perhaps hoping that throwing this sort of mostly-static video on in the background might serve as a form of subliminal advertising.
So this Christmas Eve, gather your family around the Yule Pasta Oven and dream of the Olive Garden gift certificates that Santa will bring. Just make sure you don’t leave your own oven on for eight hours.
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