been called a lot of different names over the years: ad guys, mad men, spin doctors, Satan’s little
helpers. And those are just a few. These are the people who tell us what to buy,
where to buy it, and how it will make us cooler and more attractive to the
opposite sex. They sell us clothes, cars,
hardwood flooring, pre-packaged politicians, bad music from pretend bad boys,
hair care products, movie stars and their lives which are “just like ours” only
better, weight loss come-ons, shoe trends, catch phrases, wars, dreams, fears,
the latest bad guy, the stories of how we almost caught the latest bad guy and
how he narrowly escaped again, the reason we should think that we’re better
than the latest bad guy who narrowly escaped again, make up, bed sheets, mutual
funds, marriage, divorce, psychotropic drugs with bouncing ball mascots to
combat erectile dysfunction, children’s television, war toys, peace toys, the
reason we should celebrate catching the latest bad guy, cell phones, love,
lust, and bottled water. They’re very
good at what they do.
Bradford, Waters, and Wilkerson was relatively new to the ad game. They hadn’t been around to sell the world shag carpeting, cars that just last year were called tanks, or Mike Dukakis (and even America wasn’t buying that one). BWW was only five years old. And most companies want to know that their ad people have an established reputation, which said agency has proven through some earlier successful ad campaign. It’s Economics 101. But, being a small fish in a huge pond meant that BWW had to be creative in order to last.
Warren Hutchison, Sheila Madrasgani, and Fred Nelson all had the requisite as props: coffee, the laptops, and the five o’clock shadows and powerful, slow-building body odor of those who’ve been brainstorming for two straight days. Women get five o’clock shadows too, just not usually on their faces. These three are the R & D team for Bradford, Waters and Wilkerson.
Sitting around the conference/folding picnic table, the intrepid explorers of desire were trying to think of new, and hopefully inventive, ways of selling people stuff that they didn’t know that they needed.
Warren---…no, forehead stickers is a nice idea, but the kids aren’t used to it yet. It’s not that I disagree with the idea of facevertisement, but we need to hire someone in Hollywood to start the trend, some sports star or rapper.
Sheila---Warren, you don’t think that facevertisement is, I don’t know, over the line?
Warren---I might have a few years ago, but remember how having Money T wear gauze pads as pure fashion accessories shot their profits through the roof. And, after cowvertisement worked, nothing surprises me anymore.
Fred---What about that thing that we brainstormed with the military a few years ago?
Warren---Oh branding the detainees? We workshopped it and decided that the foreign backlash would negate the obvious positives.
Sheila---Plus the Pakistani with the Verizon tat didn’t exactly launch the Kashmir cell phone revolution that we’d hoped. And we all remember how the Laotian House of Pancakes faltered.
Fred---Back on track, people. Maybe we should just concentrate on domestic prisoners. We could talk to parole boards about conditional early release programs.
Warren---You mean if a convict is willing to have Eat More Jell-O put on his forehead, then he’d get paroled?
Fred---Exactly. And they already give each other tattoos in prison. Let’s make that work for us.
Sheila---Where did we leave off the weapon/toy debate from last night?
Fred---I thought we dropped it after the disaster with the Rubix hand-grenade campaign.
Sheila---Oh yeah. We’ve got to start getting some sleep. We keep having these great two-thirty in the morning ideas that don’t turn out so well the next day.
Warren---Wait, you’re talking about my virtual reality child labor game. You’re wrong. I still say there’s a market for that one.
Sheila---Time will tell, Warren. Let’s re-explore the face jewelry. If we can convince the nose and earring people to make their products bigger and less tied to the classic idea of the ring, then there’s a way to work ads there.
Fred---Maybe, but let’s table that for now and tiger team the largely unexplored world of pregnancy related advertisement.
Fred---Now we’re talking. Now that pregnancy has become hip, we can convince famous pregnant women to logo their bellies.
Warren---And that could just be the first step toward eventually branding the pre-natal.
Sheila---We could offer to pay for the epidural if they brand the infant.
Fred---We could hire out a few OBGYNs who work mainly with the under-privileged and have them give free A to Z labor if the mother is willing to brand the child. Picture it, an exhausted, smiling mother beaming with love at her newborn with its chubby little legs, its big baby eyes, and Tangy Barbecue Doritos tattooed on its soft baby head. What do you guys think?
Warren---Won’t the soft baby head tats fade once the skulls harden?
Fred---Does it matter? By then the client will want a new campaign anyway and the kid on the stroller will have cutevertised the neighborhood.
Warren---I like it, especially when you consider how many parents are video taping the births these days. Lots of them are even web-casting.
Sheila---Now we’re on to something. We could talk to the baby food people and have an “I’m a Gerber baby” campaign where the kid comes out sporting a Gerber tattoo.
Warren---Or the kid could come out holding a jar of baby food.
Fred---There might be some logistical problems with that on the front end, Warren, but good idea still.
Sheila---Warren, what was that thing we were talking about last night, the second language thing?
Warren---Oh yeah, this is so easy. We just need to get ESOL teachers to work the words “Icehouse” and “Levitra” into their lesson plans.
Fred---I like it.
Warren---I thought you might.