Marketing Code-X

Drink Me

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Texas Pete social

The CODE-X series catalogs a vast codex of source codes (aka “signs”) extracted from past audits.

The object of study in semiotics is not the signs but rather a general theory of signification; the goal of each “audit” is to build a model demonstrating how meaning is produced and received within a category or cultural territory. Signs on their own, therefore, only become truly revelatory and useful once we’ve sorted them into thematic complexes, and the complexes into codes, and the codes into a meaning map. We call this process “thick description”; the Code-X series is thin description.

Sweet Baby Ray’s print ad

DRINK ME” NORM: We love the sauce so much, we can (and sometimes do) drink it straight out of the bottle.

DRINK ME” FORMS: Enthusiasm for hot sauce as a beverage — tongue-in-cheek tonality, though not entirely. “The BBQ Sauce for people who put BBQ sauce on their BBQ sauce.” “Sometimes food is merely a vehicle for hot sauce.” “Sometimes I drink it out of the bottle” “The meat is just a garnish.”

From a 2020 study of the Excite & Delight space — defined as “Adding oomph to our daily routine.”

Tags: CODE-X, Condiment