Frosting a balloon
The other day a friend and I were discussing the books of marketing guru, Seth Godin. More specifically, we were discussing his book titles and how they intriguingly and memorably expressed each book's central theme. (Thus, his book, "Purple Cow" extolled the virtues of making your business "remarkable," and "Meatball Sundae" warned of marketing that was out of sync with customers' needs.) As a lark, we tried free-associating our own Godinesque marketing analogy, and came up with this:
"Frosting A Balloon" -- when a fancy marketing tactic or creative concept conceals the fact that there's nothing but empty air just below the surface.