Day 30: The Marketing Campaign

Edgar Dynamo strode into the small mar­ket­ing office. His hands were eagerly rub­bing them­selves together as he grinned to the rooms three occu­pants. “So,” he began, black, beady eyes dart­ing between them and already see­ing the improved pro­jec­tions on the cash flow charts, “what’s our big idea?”

Well,” said Sally, “animal mas­cots are big.”

Really big,” cut in Henry.

So we were think­ing, how can we get an animal into a car advert.”

Then we had it!” yelled Maud, jump­ing from her seat and point­ing to the ceil­ing, “what do cars run on? Pet­rol! What is pet­rol made from? Oil! What is oil made from? Anim­als that died mil­lions of years ago! Cars! Run­ning on anim­als! It all fell into place!”

But we aban­doned that idea,” said Sally, “and there is an ongo­ing review of Maud’s cur­rent respons­ib­il­it­ies. Instead, we tried to think of an animal nobody is using at the moment.”

And?” asked Mr Dynamo.

Birds.”

Birds?”

Birds.”

Genius.”

We thought so. Which is why we’d like you to meet,” and Sally stood up, walked to veiled board stood in the corner of the room and whipped the sheet from it, “Terry the Toucan.”

Edgar Dynamo looked at the car­toon­ish pic­ture of the tou­can, read the text under­neath it and fur­rowed his brow. “Thanks to our great fin­ance offers, you too can own one of our great cars?”

A sample phrase. They’ll each fol­low a sim­ilar format though, so we can have ‘you too can’ in all of them. You too can. Too can. Tou­can. See?”

I’m not an idiot, Sally. Of course I see.”

Is there a prob­lem with it?” asked Henry.

The mas­cot idea I like. A bird. A tou­can. It’s good. Rainforest-ey, green and envir­on­ment­ally friendly and all that. Fam­ily friendly. It’s cute. Close enough to human-shaped that we can have costumes.”

Those were the reas­ons we chose it.”

It’s just that phras­ing. It seems too forced. Not nat­ural enough.”

We had thought about that, but we think the tou­can idea will charm people into look­ing over it,” said Sally.

No. It’s wrong. You need to re-order it.”

To what?”

It needs to be punchier, like ‘Thou­sands of people have dis­covered our cars, now you can too!’”

But you’ve ruined the ‘too can’ bit.”

Or ‘Mr Smith of Alder­shot loves his new car, and you can too!’”

But what hap­pens to the ‘too can’?”

It’s just reversed. Just make the phrase ‘you can too’ and have that in all of them.”

You’ve changed the whole slo­gan! The tou­can bit is totally inside out!”

But it sounds so much bet­ter, Sally.”

And what do we do about the bird, Mr Dynamo?”

Jesus, Sally, do I have to think of everything myself? Can too? Inside out ‘too can’? Make the bloody bird inside out as well!”

Sally took a good long look at the board. “Can too. Can­tou. I can see that fitting.”

It could work,” said Henry.

I like it already,” said Maud.

I’ll get the art depart­ment on the phone right now,” said Sally.

Mr Dynamo beamed and rubbed his hands together some more.

David Jones and his two chil­dren walked into the Bick­ing­ton Motor Show­room on a Sat­urday morn­ing. Mr Jones had been look­ing for­ward to get­ting a new car and had decided that the time was finally right. He’d brought the kids along because they were excited by the idea too. Sarah, six, wanted to try out the ste­reo to make sure it was to her lik­ing and Tim, four, just wanted to see the “house full of cars.” Delight­ful chil­dren, Mr Jones thought, they’re allowed a treat.

The dealer saw them walk in, adjus­ted his smile and headed out to greet them. “Hello, sir! Wel­come to Bick­ing­ton Motor Show­room. How can I help you today?”

Hi. I’m look­ing to buy a new car but I mostly wanted to talk about fin­an­cial plans today. I think I’ve got a good idea of the model I’m after. Not sure about some of the extras though.”

Excel­lent! You can take a look in per­son while you’re here then and get everything sor­ted. I’m not a fan of some of the extras myself, but some are truly invalu­able. I almost think we shouldn’t sell the cars without them a-hah! We’ve got some great pay­ment plans too. Are these your children?”

Yeah, I prom­ised I’d bring them along.”

Won­der­ful! I think we’ve got some­thing here that they might like. Have you heard about our new mascot?”

No. No, I haven’t.”

Per­fect! Well, the kids are sure to love him. He’s very fam­ily friendly. We can talk fin­ances in one of the offices over here whilst they have a play,” the dealer then called out towards one of the back rooms, “why don’t you come out here, Ian? Kids, I’d like you to meet Ian, the Inside-Out Toucan!”

Emer­ging from the back room came a pink and red, glisten­ing abom­in­a­tion. Muscles twitched with each fal­ter­ing step. The beak was cracked and broken, point­ing at odd angles. Bits hung off it and made wet slaps each time they bounced off each other. There was no face and no real detail, just a sham­bling mass of meat, veins and nerves, wrapped around a grot­esque humanoid shape, but with huge sheets of pale, trans­lu­cent skin where its arms should have been. The bright neon light­ing shone through them, sil­hou­et­ting the net­work of blood ves­sels that ran through each per­fectly and cast­ing a half-shadow on the floor.

Jesus Christ!” yelled David. Tim hadn’t noticed, but he turned around when his sis­ter screamed and began bawl­ing. Both of them ran to hide behind their father’s legs, plead­ing with him to help them. The thing con­tin­ued towards them. “What the hell is that?”

That’s our mas­cot, Ian the Inside-Out Toucan.”

Kids, we’re leav­ing. Hurry out­side and get in the car.”

The dealer sighed as they ran out of the glass-fronted show­room. The tou­can shuffled up next to him. “For­get it, Dave,” muttered the dealer dejec­tedly, “they’ve gone. Get back to the staff room and we’ll try it on the next ones instead.”

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