Spent parts of the past two days checking out Convenience U, or "Con U" as the natives call it. It's billed as "Canada's National Convenience, Gas and Car Wash Event."
The Toronto confab, located near the airport, is a surreal mix of convention displays, everything from giant car wash railings and hoses to state-of-the-art gas pumps to every conceivable candy/drink goodie you can get within a hundred feet of a gas station AMB swiper.
There are even guys pushing stainless steel doggie wash tanks (set one up next to your car wash), with settings like "ticks and lice" next to wash and rinse. Come to think of it, one of those things would be a good place for me to rinse out my hockey equipment.
I gained entry to this secret little business deal thanks to Carlin C. West, executive vice president of New York based 4Kids Entertainment. They're the folks behind Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! and the next generation of collectible card games, Chaotic.
If you have a 6-12 year old at home they probably know all about it. The animated Chaotic M'arrillian Invasion series is already the No. 1 show for kids in that age range on Teletoon.
What's it about? Brace yourselves, parents. Maxxor, Rothar and Van Bloot are coming ‘atcha.
No, they’re not the German Jonas brothers. They’re creatures from Chaotic, a collectible card game/animated kids show/marketing kidapalooza set to sweep Canada.
You’ve heard of Pikachu, right? That cute little Pokémon critter was just part of the advance team.
Read more about Chaotic in the feature I just filed on the CP news wire. Check it out here.
West and her Team Chaotic gamers were all over Con U, supporting the dudes behind a cool, new “nutrient infused” Chaotic brand drink. The tall 12 oz can has Maxxor and other Chaotic creatures splashed all over the label, so good luck getting the kids to part with those cans. Plus the container comes with secret codes (giving kids another virtual playing card) on the bottom of each zip top tab.
It was fun scoping out the rest of the Con U sharpies trying to foist their impulse buy wares upon an unsuspecting public. There were power drinks sponsored by WWE dudes, plenty of candy and snack goodies and even babes in hot Hooters tops teasing passers by with "Before and After Mints." They come in little lip-shaped containers, the mints do. The girls would not be specific about what exactly was meant by before and after, but pretty sure they weren't talking about pumping gas.
Bizarre to see so many grown men hawking giant display pumps, too. There dudes were way too into gas pumps, going on and on about how they now look like sexy ATM machines.
I'm not sure what you do with a Con U degree, but take me to graduate school.
As the show was shutting down Thursday, the various vendors were all over each other like ravens on a road kill, trying to stuff every last Kinder Egg surprise or Cola into goodie bags. It was like Halloween for bald guys.
Bit shocking, too, how many Jolt cola-like wake up drinks there are out there. Booth after booth had their own spin of the over-caffinated colas. Some even come in teeny tiny containers, with names like "Knock Knock Energy Shot" ("Sugar Free!"), "Kickbutt" energy balls and "Red Rain 12 Energy Drink" (Gives you "mental clarity and focus.") Canada must have the sleepiest drivers in the world! The powdered "ZizZazz" explosive energy mix is supposed to give you 1000% the required daily intake of vitamin B-12. Yikes!
The show stopper had to be the Jones Cane Sugar Soda label featuring Barack Obama. My favorite flavor: "Orange You Glad For Change Cola." Now, there's Hope.