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.
“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.”
“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.”