First I’ve ever heard of a food company wanting to use a spider for PR


There is a spider, Araneus mitificus, AKA the Kidney Garden spider, that sort of vaguely resembles the mascot (?) of Pringles potato chips. Surprisingly, the Kellog company, which markets Pringles, has embraced this idea and want to make the name “Pringles Spider” official.

There’s a petition and a website. If the name change is approved, which they think they can do by persuading “the decision maker” with enough signatures, the first 1500 signatories get one free can of potato chips. Who is the “decision maker”? They don’t know.

Pringles has added a petition to Change.org with the hopes that the International Society of Arachnology, the American Arachnological Society, and other organizations will “do what’s right and recognize this very real spider as the Pringles Spider.”

How awkward. The American Arachnological Society does not determine nomenclature, neither does International Society of Arachnology. You can send all the requests you want to them, and they’re just going to give you the side-eye and block you as spam. There is an International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, but they have very strict rules about the assignment of binomial nomenclature, you aren’t going to change that. Common names are vague and often lazily defined by usage; you can call it the “Pringles spider” if you want, but it has no official weight.

There is absolutely nothing preventing Pringles from putting a photo of Araneus mitificus on all of their packaging and happily calling it the Pringles Spider. They could also make commercials with a smiling anthropomorphized spider touting their product, and get rid of the mustachioed cartoon man altogether. They don’t need a petition for any of that!

Go ahead, Pringles. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.

Comments

  1. StevoR says

    @ ^ woozy : Really ? Why? The idea of something being done by popular demand / request / voted for and wished for by a relatively big number of people really seems “weird” to you?

    .***

    I really hope this succeeds and I’m going to do my bit by calling it the “Pringles Spider” from now on. Good for them.

  2. Rich Woods says

    I expect the person who thought up this petition ploy has a lifetime ambition of gaining employment at the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. Next project: get tigers renamed to Felis Frosties.

  3. larpar says

    Spider gummies are a thing.
    If I find a spider in my can of Pringles, i probably won’t buy more Pringles.

  4. John Harshman says

    It might work if they were talking about birds instead of spiders. The American Ornithological Society’s checklist committee decides on common names for birds and for some reason everyone pretty much goes along with their decisions.

  5. Tethys says

    I don’t know anyone who thinks pringles are edible, but I know many people who are phobic about anything with that many legs.

    Food with insects* on it might not be the greatest marketing scheme. Most humans react to that with revulsion.

    *I’m aware spiders are arachnids, not insects.

  6. Walter Solomon says

    Next they’ll want to change the name of toucans to “Fruit Loop birds.”

  7. PaulBC says

    I’ve watched enough Mad Men* to know that this idea is going to result in either divorce or dismemberment. It’s only a matter of time. I doubt Peggy would touch it. Ginsberg might have just brought it up as a joke.

    *Better late than never. Starting Season 7 and soon I will need to unearth another TV show from the archives.

  8. hemidactylus says

    @9- PaulBC
    Streaming is kinda nice compared to cable. The show Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix is a decent reality show with plenty of drama, tension, and intrigue. JDM Legends on Motortrend is kinda neat as I didn’t know that whole Japanese domestic market car subculture existed. As for regular shows there are plenty. I’ll never watch them all, but beats flipping through hundreds of cable channels and finding nothing but crap. I am drawn toward garage shows.

  9. John Morales says

    I don’t see the alleged vague resemblance, though I see how I’m supposed to see it. Meh.

    I had some pringle “chips” once. A perfect example of a highly-processed food.

    From their web site, the ingredients: DRIED POTATOES, VEGETABLE OIL (CORN, COTTONSEED, HIGH OLEIC SOYBEAN, AND/OR SUNFLOWER OIL), DEGERMINATED YELLOW CORN FLOUR, CORNSTARCH, RICE FLOUR, MALTODEXTRIN, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT, WHEAT STARCH.

    I much prefer real chips made from potatoes and oil and salt.

  10. hemidactylus says

    @11- John Morales

    My typical morning break snack is a very ripe banana followed by Lays chips. Because bad stocking or distribution my supermarket runs out and sometimes I resort to Pringles. I grew up with them. They aren’t great or horrible IMO. At one time they went with a dill flavor simulating if pickle juice infiltrates the chips on your plate. The texture of Pringles is weird.

    I eat at a bowling alley with surprisingly good food on occasion and they fry their own chips, The quality varies, but when done right drenched in malt vinegar they are far better than store bought bagged chips.

  11. John Morales says

    hemidactylus, sure.

    But still, it’s like the difference between boiling potatoes and then mashing them and using instant potato powder to make the mash. I can see how some people might prefer the instant version, if that’s to what they are accustomed.

  12. hemidactylus says

    @13- John Morales

    Way I look at it at least Pringles aren’t Doritos (shudder). I’d prefer Fritos corn chips to Doritos by far. But tortilla chips made at a nice Mexican restaurant blow those away.

    Pringles are low in my hierarchy of chips. Cape Cod brand chips are ok. Lays works for me. I discovered the delight of presetting my taste buds with a sweet ripe (browned peel) banana before digging into salty greasy chips. Pringles doesn’t quite pass muster, but following a ripe banana with Doritos of any nasty flavor is just wrong. I hate Doritos. They are the worst chip. Pringles is ok in a pinch. Better than Doritos is nothing to brag about.

  13. woozy says

    Really ? Why? The idea of something being done by popular demand / request / voted for and wished for by a relatively big number of people really seems “weird” to you?

    Well, when they aren’t things up for public debate. Like the naming of spiders. Or whether the Harper Collins and HBO owe readers and viewers a written apology for “Go Set a Watchman” or the last two seasons of “Game of Thrones”, yeah, I think the of petitioning is very weird.

    It doesn’t seem weird to view every aspect of existence as a negotiable social contract to you?

    .

    I really hope this succeeds and I’m going to do my bit by calling it the “Pringles Spider” from now on. Good for them.

    Okay, my turn to say “Really?” Why on earth would you want that? Isn’t there enough branding in the world that they could just leave the poor spider alone?

    But seriously. You “really hope” this succeeds? Why? And “good for them”? For what do they deserve praise? I’m complete confounded.

  14. Rich Woods says

    Pringles cans are good for determining the exact location of wifi points, but I’m not going to eat the salt-death contents merely to learn that.

  15. StevoR says

    @15. woozy :

    Why on earth would you want that? Isn’t there enough branding in the world that they could just leave the poor spider alone? But seriously. You “really hope” this succeeds? Why? And “good for them”? For what do they deserve praise? I’m complete confounded.

    Its not hurting the spider to give it the name of “Pringles spider” and its good on them for tackling arachnophobia or and at least not being put of by it and encouraging people to like spiders and associate them with things that are nice – even if nice in the sense of tasty. It is just a bit of fun that draws people’s attention to an interesting spider that we wouldn’t otherwise hear about ina postitive way..Basically for being arachnophilic rather than arachnophobic and willing to do something interesting and different with their brand that is pro-spider.

  16. says

    Of course they will then register it as a trademark and demand a licensing fee from IUCZN and any textbook, spider field guide etc that publishes a picture of it. Maybe the nomenclature committee could get ahead of them and demand a licensing fee first.

  17. woozy says

    Alright…. I’ll admit I hadn’t thought of it in those terms. I’m not converted and I still disagree. But I admit I hadn’t thought of it in those terms.

  18. CorporalKlinger says

    @16 Rich Woods
    “…Pringles cans are good for determining the exact location of wifi points…”

    ?? ??

  19. Rich Woods says

    @astringer #22:

    Glad I could help!

    I haven’t thought about any of this stuff for nearly 20 years. I hate to think how much I must have forgotten, and that I’m not motivated to recover. Other projects call.

  20. Pierce R. Butler says

    Can anyone name any other species whose Linnaean name has been corporatized?

    As garydargan indicates @ # 18, the implications of the ramifications produce indications of defecations.

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