My first meme: Platinum Sandwich!

I realized that I haven’t really tried to coin many words or memes as a blogger, so I need to catch up. It’s always strange to me to see software sold by tiers (Quicken Basic, Quicken Deluxe, Quicken Premier, Quicken Home & Business). I usually stare at the side of the box for 10 minutes and then put the box back on the shelf instead of buying one of the choices. I recently bought a PC, and it came with a piece of software called (no joke) “Roxio Easy Media Creator Basic DVD Home.” Basic DVD Home? I’m sure that means something to people who work at Roxio, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it?

The tipping point for me was when I went to get a sandwich at the local grocery store. Turns out that you don’t just get a sandwich at Safeway, you get a “Platinum Sandwich”:

Platinum Sandwich!

Setting aside the fact that sandwiches shouldn’t be made out of precious metals, I can imagine the dialogue at the check-out line:

Cashier: Sir, is that a gold-level sandwich?
Me: Nope, it’s a platinum sandwich. (Matt ponders how cool he is to have a platinum sandwich.)
Cashier: Oh. Is that a platinum deluxe sandwich, or just regular platinum?
Me: (deflated) Just a regular platinum sandwich.
Cashier: Did you know that you can upgrade to an Ultimate Diamond Premium sandwich for just 49 cents more?

The next time a product line has so many levels that you can’t tell which one is better, just remember that there’s a name for that. Platinum sandwich.

64 Responses to My first meme: Platinum Sandwich! (Leave a comment)

  1. There’s another name for that too. Rolls off the tongue and its initials are B.S.

  2. Interesting observations Matt. I believe it’s all about retailers, manufacturers, etc. trying to find “new” ways to justify selling us more stuff. You could have just normal sandwiches, as in I’ll take a “Ham Sandwich” and if you want more stuff in it, you just ask for that. But the Platinum Ham Sandwich now makes the consumer think, wow, I am getting a top of the line sandwich for just X cents more – got to like that.

    Besides, a little bit of extra minerals in the body never hurt…

  3. Platinum sandwich eh? Hope you didn’t have to pay platinum amounts for that platinum sandwich.

    I know what you mean though. It’s like having the Platinum Passport at SES. Fancy. 🙂

  4. Next, they will go through a number of iterations of product name improvements, that supposedly reflect product improvements (but rarely do; its usually the same old product in a bigger more colourful packet).

    The names get longer and longer: “extra-size double-bonus super-discount platinum-star mega version”, until the sillyness is (temporarily) halted with a reversion to “original flavour”.

    Meh! Bloody marketroids.

  5. Haha, the name itself “platinum sandwich” is hilarious. Enjoy your sandwich!

  6. The stellar scientific breakthroughs in washing powders that we have (supposedly) had in the last 4 or 5 decades should mean that the stuff is clever enough to wash your clothes without it needing to be tipped out of the packet….. Err, correction, it should be able to wash them at home while still left in the packet on the super-market shelf….

  7. Dave (Original)

    Hey, this stuff is “perishable” just like Spam 🙂

  8. “Platinum Sandwich”. Nice.

    I hate Quicken. I buy it every year and I never know which business version I need. I stare for ten minutes then cross my fingers and hope I buy the right one. A couple times I had to take it back once I got home and realized it was the wrong version.

  9. Isn’t MS releasing like 27 versions of Vista? I hope they call one Vista Platinum Sandwich.

  10. The cashier was mistaken. The Ultimate Diamond Premium is still in beta and available by invitation only.

  11. Indeed a platinum sandwich seems a good description to keep one on a diet rather than spring for one.

    As mentioned very truthfully with the Quicken confusion factor, it wouldn’t be so bad to have some of these names if they actually _told_ the purchaser anything. I’m much older than the average blogger/software consumer … born 1945. Not too many advantages to that except for the fact I remember (and miss the days) when America’s shopping guide (and for us country folk) shopping source was the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Almost everything was sold in three versions … Good, Better and Best … simple, and you pretty well knew which one to buy. Ahhh simplicity…….

    By the way the real reason I dropped a comment here was to thank you for the work you’ve been putting in on your videos and especially the recent promo on Webmaster Central Excellent stuff. We who shall never partake of the secret sauce appreciate the sharing.

  12. Matt, Truthiness be told the Platinum sandwhich is definitely the best ever made. I know it in my gutt.


  13. Forget Vista.. there are many more versions of XP. Should be… Windows X-PS.

  14. Sounds like a sandwich that hurts the teeth.

  15. The sandwich is so 18th century,_4th_Earl_of_Sandwich

    What you need is user created web2.0wich which strives for synergistic partnership between meat and whole grain breads in zero carbon based lifestyle

  16. There is nothing more annoying than trying to figure out cell phone plans. The way to approach these annoyances is by finding which “platinum” like features you can removed to get the most value. Do this before you have to talk to the underpaid guy behind the counter who makes a few dollars more for selling you a feature that you do not need.

    Remember your Cholesterol Matt, think “Subway” not Steak Bomb. 🙂

  17. Thanks for the post that was trully funny. I often wondered who wouldn’t buy the extra strength pain reliever, or the heavy duty soap? Do you want the pain to last a little longer, do you not want it really clean?

    Your point about only Roxio knowing what it meant is also very valid. Just try going to a semi-technical manufacturer’s website and try to find information on their products. Most of them have navigation based on the model numbers, without full descriptions. You click on the Products tab, then the next options are: T Series V9, W Series ty5S, etc….

    That may make perfect sense to someone who has worked there for 10 years, but worthless if I’m just a guy looking for a thinga-m-jobby-do.

  18. I don’t get it.

    Why not just make a sammich rather than buy some prepackaged one? And doesn’t anyone in the world find those things nasty? (Especially those plastic-wrapped ones in donut shops.)

  19. As long as the sandwich don’t have no SPAM Capn…

  20. I think all this has become necessary in today’s world of marketing.

    Without words like extra, new, enhanced, ultra, super, powerful, more, advanced… and without special names of simple things like platinum sandwitch, Deluxe DVD… it has become difficult to attract consumer’s attention.

    The marketing people only tweak their campaigns based on what sells… All these words and special names have been coined only due to the consumer’s attitude.

    Moreover in the information industry it is always better to sell information in the form of different versions. There a paper by Carl Shapiro & Hal R.Varian in Harvard Business Review titled “Versioning : A smart way to sell information”.

    This paper clearly bring out why all these terms have been coined and why it has become necessary in the knowledge economy.

  21. It’s because they cannot say “Sandwich with double-cheese portion, double-meat portion, potatoes, mayonese…” as it’s too long. That’s why they have to use these levels. And Platinum Sandwich might sound just as strange as Big Mac for someone not aware of the McDuck giant.

    In the software industry problem comes when you start with 3 products, then you’ll have 3-4 editions for each one, then each edition actually divides in 2 or 3 other sub-editions…this is how you get to those strange names. They just didn’t consider this when they’ve started.

  22. Off topic question for Matt Cutts

    Can you verify this?

    My .com site is hosted in the states and USA and UK visitors are my preferred buyers on the site.

    I also now know that google and perhaps other engines track the webmasters location.

    I spent some time in Australia and my Ozie visitors rose and USA visitors tanked.

    I then moved to Asia and the local Asian visitors went sky high especially from the exact city I was living in.

    So google tracks my IP address and when I log into sitemaps and google personalised search they know all about my location and this effects my site in the serps for these different locations.

    I wish this wasnt so and I would appreciate help in combating this –

  23. Here in the UK we just have two tiers of Sandwich 😉 In Sainsbury’s it will be your bog standard sandwich and then usually a “Round the World Gourmet” sandwich like a New York Club 🙂

  24. Almost as yum as these

    Maybe the marketing dudes at Hormel could learn a thing or too from this platinum sarnie thing.

    And hey whilst where on the subject.

    hmmn from sandwiches to webspam in 2 short hops.

    How bout a little series on the various levels of spam. You know, like standard spam, thick idiot spam, OMG how dumb am I spam. Etc etc blah.

    There’s definitely a video with comedic value in there somewhere.

    Double dare ya 😀

  25. um..not sure what happened there

    the code stripped out this url from the above post, specificlly the words ‘Almost as yum as these’

    i’d wrapped it in a standard ‘a href’

  26. In near future… um, upgrade to Plutonium sandwich, get some yellowcake free.

  27. Its a bit like my local starbucks (which is probably identical to every other starbucks in the world) – where I can get a Tall, a Grande or a Venti coffee.

    So, the smallest size is a Tall ?

    Why not return to plain english, or plain American if you prefer and just describe things as small, medium and large ?

    I think we are now so worried about people feeling somehow inferior when ordering a small option (maybe they cant afford the large?) that we have to start at large – then work upwards.

    Of course – the *ahem* larger people may themselves take exception at finding their order is no longer the diety medium size and has transformed into the “super deluxe gut buster mega option” – same product, different name.

    So obviously, we will solve the problem by swapping the sizes around.

    The drink with the largest capacity will be a small – and the smallest drink will now be a large.

    That way poor people can buy a large drink and sizeable people can feel better by purchasing a small drink.

    And the world carries on its strange and insane way.

  28. Dave (Original)

    Just like “new & improved….” Well, which one is it? New, or improved?

  29. Matt, that’s great. It’s crazy how marketing agencies use words like that for naming a frickin’ sandwich! But then again, there are folks out there spending $800 on a purse. A PURSE!!!! They’ve never had $800 in their purse, but they pay $800 for a purse!

  30. >> Why not return to plain english, or plain American if you prefer and just describe things as small, medium and large ?

    Wendy’s finally did that. Small, Medium and Large for their combos. Of course, the large is bigger than the old Biggie size, and the small is the same size as the old Medium, but at least the sizes make sense now.

    I remember going to Pizza Hut years ago and they had Medium and Large soda’s. No small. ?!?

  31. Sandwiches with heavy metals in them? I would just go for a plain sandwich.

    It’s almost rediculous. McDonalds is promoting these very big “somethings” now on tv, they make it look like they’re huge. But the smallest wopper at Burgerking is still bigger than the biggest big “what ever” of McDonalds.

    Then I like the simple sandwich stores in Brussels better; you just ask for a sandwich with what you want on it and you can be sure there no heavy metals like platinum in them.

    Pizzahut is another example. Those pizzas cost more than platinum and what you get is a thick layer of very fluffy bread with an extremely thin layer of something that looks like cheese and has the taste of the type of pizza you ordered. For one third of the price you get a real pizza in a real pizza restaurant with real ingredients that taste and look like what you ordered.


  32. “which is probably identical to every other starbucks in the world”

    As far as I know, starbucks only exists in the USA, not the world.


  33. They are not only in the USA.
    The first Starbucks location outside of North America opened in Tokyo in 1996, and Starbucks now has outlets in 30 additional countries.

  34. And I thought Matt is a big fan of Platinum Happy Meal and Diamond Baco Polenta 🙂

  35. “I realized that I haven’t really tried to coin many words or memes as a blogger, so I need to catch up. It’s always strange to me to see software sold by tiers (Quicken Basic, Quicken Deluxe, Quicken Premier, Quicken Home & Business).”

    LOL Heck Matt, what are you doing in the cheap Windows software isle, get yourself a real accounting package like RealWorld, Peachtree, Cougar Mountain, etc ….. Life would be dull if everything was just labeled Accounting Software.

    BTW, what is a Quicken?

  36. “BTW, what is a Quicken?”

    The oposite of a Slowen.

  37. agreed! and some things can even be whiter than white! i think procter & gamble came up with that kind of marketing!

  38. Well

    As Matt is an “enginer” he should of course write his own accounts sytem in “Fortran” none of this namby pamby C++ lark

    Oh I did wite billing sytems in fortran

  39. That’s delicious (the meme, not the sandwich.) When this becomes common vernacular, we’ll all support your claim to it.

    It seems that most of the best ones come from some parody on marketing/consulting jargon. Both groups are famous for their sound bites.

    Here’s one that we plucked from someone in marketing: “It’s a great no-cost solution!”. “No-cost solution” equals the IT spending weeks and countless hours building something trivial and useless so that marketing can avoid revealing a major mistake — all without a huge footprint onto THEIR budget.

    Here’s how you would use it in an conversation:

    Consultant: “Hey JM, Let’s create a project matrix and determine the action steps required to significantly cut overhead, while streamlining the process and cutting costs. Any ideas?”

    JM: “Sure, we could dip all of the consultants in honey, roll them around in African Driver Ants and fire them out of a cannon into flaming vat of carniverous pirahnas and moral eels. It’s a great no-cost solution.”

  40. “Platinum Sandwich” beautifully describes the problem. Now somebody’s just got to post this to YTMND and the new meme will be born!


  41. “They are not only in the USA.
    The first Starbucks location outside of North America opened in Tokyo in 1996, and Starbucks now has outlets in 30 additional countries. ”

    Still not even close to “the whole world” 🙂

    McDonalds is in the whole world. Wouldn’t surprise me the first fast food restaurant on the moon will be a a McDonalds,. 🙂

  42. At one of my favorite local taquerias (La Corneta in San Francisco), you can get a super burrito (it includes guacamole and sour cream) and/or a baby burrito (same as a regular burrito, but smaller).

    The particularly entertaining combo, as you might guess, is a Super Baby burrito, or a “Super Baby” for short.

    Maybe I’m just too easily amused, but I continue to get a chuckle when folks ask for a “Super Baby to go” or stuff like “I’d like two mild super babies.” I was so tempted to ask the most recent requester “For goodness sake, lady, won’t you just settle for a regular baby?!”

  43. I walked into a sub shop today not showered, shaved and wearing an old army jacket to grab a steak bomb. I mumbled the words “steak bomb” to the lady and soon there were police pointing guns at my head asking me where the explosives were. I forgot that they do not sell steak bombs at that sub shop down the road were nobody speak English anymore. ;-(

    Burritos are yum!

  44. Setting aside that sandboxes shouldn’t be made out of time, I can imagine the dialogue at the new webmaster central

    Support: Sir that is the platinum level sandbox
    Webmaster: I was hoping for a lower level sandbox (Webmaster ponders how cool it would have only the gold level sandbox.)
    Support: Ok lets take a look a Platinum Sandbox requires 3 hyphens for each domain rather than the 2 hyphens for the Gold Sandbox.
    Webmaster: (deflated) I’ll have to stick with a platinum sandbox.
    Support: Did you know for a couple of pages of duplicate content you can upgrade to an even longer Platinum Diamond Premium sandbox?

    Next time there’s a website with so many levels of supplements and you can’t tell why just remember there’s a name for that. Platinum Sandbox 🙂

  45. Completely un-related to your blog topic… But I’m having a dilema. Anyone know which is the better choice, a mac or a PC? I can’t decide. I am leaning towards mac… But everytime I say that, someone bullies me into thinking a PC is better. Is it? My ThinkPad is always crapping out on me. I thought maybe a switch to the mac would be just what I needed to restore my faith in technology.

  46. Is your work purely graphical,.. probably better to choose a Mac (that´s what all designers tell me.)

    In any other case go for a PC,.

  47. Completely un-related to your blog topic… But I’m having a dilema. Anyone know which is the better choice, a mac or a PC? I can’t decide. I am leaning towards mac… But everytime I say that, someone bullies me into thinking a PC is better. Is it? My ThinkPad is always crapping out on me. I thought maybe a switch to the mac would be just what I needed to restore my faith in technology.

    If you must have a laptop, get a Dell. They’re well-built, configured properly out of the box for the most part, and generally don’t cause problems.

    Mind you, a laptop is no substitute for a desktop PC, especially a StinkPad.

  48. The same person who came up with a “platnium sandwich” probably also gave Carl’s Jr. the idea that Pastrami should go on top of a Hamburger. Sheesh…what’s the world coming to?

  49. Mid-western restruant serves burgers… Texan, Roughneck and Cowhand… the Texan is bigger than most would eat… Roughneck is a good size served with BBQ sauce and hot peppers… and the Cowhand has beans…

    No big deal until a movie comes out called Broke Back Mountain…

    A trip to San Francisco… restruant has a menu with… yes a Texan, Roughneck and Cowhand… I look around the room to see what others might be getting… have a flash back to the movie… I decide immediately to leave without ordering as I am not sure just what I would get…

    I wonder how many would order Rocky Mountain Oysters flavored from smoked Buffalo Chips?

  50. usually, there is a reason behind marketing messages. usually, there is a target.

    product lines often coincide with revenue structures. businesses need a way to differentiate their product line accordingly.

    precious metals might be weird, but it is a standard that is very common.

    common is the keyword.

    and when you are safeway, common means understable. probably a wise marketing decision when targeting a safeway sandwich customer.

    as for quicken, taxes and complicated branding, seems, well, for the safeway sandwich, i would rather eat a cubic zirconia.

    sorry we didn’t have more time the other day, but i am sure we will eventually get our chance.

  51. I like the meme – descriptive supremecy adjectives are off the hook.

    I believe the saying goes something to the effect of “if you have to say you’re cool, you’re probably not very cool”.

    Thinking like a true SEO again I see…
    A definite must when going full force with a meme.

    I believe it is platinum sandwiches that often cause companies to jump the shark.

  52. I’m glad Google’s product lines don’t have any platinum sandwiches!

    Yum metals.

  53. Funny that you mention Roxio and it hasnt been the first time I heard a comment about the product names. Working in Tech Support “Platinum Style” we always have customers call Roxio products strange names such as Roxio complicated burner, always respond with RTFM my friend.

  54. isn’t it just like taking sitemaps and calling it “webmasters central” ?

  55. Why do they make things complicated for them, maybe not for them, but for their customers, it might seem very logical to them but to the busy guy who just wants to fill his tummy with a good old fashioned sandwitch.

    Now he has to go through all this mombo jumbo of understanding the differences between sandwitches.

    I like the KISS formula, Keep it simple, Stupid.

  56. Hi Matt… I don’t have enough words… I just wanna say it’s so funny…lol 😀
    I like the way you describe it… Platinum Sandwich. Is there delivery order service ? ha ha

  57. I feel disgusted by the picture. as a vegetarian, it really disturbs your perception… but maybe this was the point: being provocativ

  58. Bravo, good point Matt. Why do people fail to see the fallacy of their ways? Adding names to a mundane item doesn’t make it better, it makes it harder to order/find/figure out.

    Back to the drawing board, and THINK this time people!

  59. I don’t know what all the fuss is. It’s just a play on words. Better yet, an eye catcher. Anyway, I’d sure like to take bite out that sandwich as hungry as I’m right now.

  60. I made the SAME comment this weekend when I went in to buy a sandwich. I couldn’t figure out what kind of sandwich it was; finally figured out it was a club sandwich (or something like that). All the sandwiches were the same, and I saw no “Gold” or “Silver”, so I didn’t realize it was a tiering scheme. I couldn’t see how “platinum” was an appetizing adjective.

  61. Very entertaining posts – the things that creep into our lives, without us realising. As a marketing bod I have been involved in some of this for a living – staggering really when you think about it!

    But companies need to call their products something – this is especially so when products are nearly identical and the company needs to differentiate thier products from nearly identical products. But it does get ridiculous at the extreme. Anyway here are my suggestions 😉

    What about the Luteium Sandwich, lutieum is even more expensive than platium or even – the Rhenium Sandwich.

    While I was at one company that made minibuses etc. the MD decided to call all of the vehicles after US states even though we were in the UK and we have some very nice counties. So we had the Arizona and the Nevada – the most famous the Dakota Cab which we are still in No 1 spot for in the serps.

    And lastly…….

    Just think how much money the descendents of the Earl of Sandwich would have made if the old boy had trademarked – the sandwich!! The sandwich conquered the world long before McD and Starbucks – lol.

  62. “Platinum Sandwich” haha!

    Companies trying to sound cool and using computer terms .. lame

  63. You can upgrade to the Diamond sandwich for 75cents.

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