Hueless

TOM TEEPEN

March 17, 1993|By TOM TEEPEN

ATLANTA — Atlanta.--What is it, all of a sudden, with all this Clear Stuff? Product after product is being declared by its shills to be superior or at least trendy for having drained itself of all color.

How do these things get started? What do they mean? Do they mean anything? How can we make them stop?

Without apparent provocation or demand, Pepsi is now boasting that you can see right through it. So? The Cola Cola Company has countered by producing a clear version of Tab. So?

Ivory Liquid soap, which used to be creamy, is now indistinguishable from the water you pour it into.

A gasoline -- Amoco, I think -- claims to be one-up on its competitors because it is now clear and they (ugh!) are not. It is never quite explained in the pitch why this is better. Anyway, who's to know? Have you ever actually looked at your gasoline?

Is Michael Jackson part of this trend?

Now comes word that brewers are joining the fad with clear beer. Coors and Miller are said to be preparing to market products, with Stroh and Anheuser-Busch not far behind.

Well, hold it right there, fellows. Now we're going from silliness to sacrilege. The brewers think see-through beer may attract new buyers, especially women and young adults.

Maybe -- though the notion strikes me as defaming women and the young -- but brewers, like priests, hold their charter in ancient trust. The very idea of clear beer is an affront to human history. What will the head look like? Bubbles from a Popeye soap pipe?

It's time for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to step in and put a stop to this nonsense. There's menace afoot.

Surrounded by these colorless products, clueless in a landscape of clamoring commerce, it is only a question of time before some harried soul washes the dishes in Amoco, gives the kids an iced Coors, fills the gas tank with Pepsi and sits down to relax with a tall, cool glass of Ivory Liquid.

The advertising cuties are using words like ''crystal'' and ''pure'' to describe these products, grabbing for some unexplained innocence by association.

The rest of us, roughed up by years of being jerked around by commercial gimmickry, might come more naturally to the word ''transparent.'' As in ''transparent scam.''

Tom Teepen is a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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