the bitch and the dead man

You're the new boss at the agency.

StoryKettle » Bitch » the bitch and the dead man

Copyright © 2013, Michael M Wayman

After the ambulance had left Showfie stared at me or at something behind my head. She shouted at me.

“Get out of my life! Go! Get out!” She roared. “You're the new boss at the agency. Get out and get on with it!” She marched me to the front door and slammed it behind me.

“Hello everybody!” I was sitting at the end of the table in The Boss's chair. “I've got bad news and good news. The Boss had a stroke yesterday and he is in an intensive care unit somewhere. Don't ask where, I don't know either. Hopefully he will recover and he will be back here soon.”

“I have talked to the owner and our lawyers this morning and I have agreed to lead the agency until The Boss returns.”

Harold stood up. “Bad news about The Boss, we all hope he recovers soon. However we should have a discussion and vote on his replacement...”

I butted in. “No, this is a privately owned company. There will be no vote. The owner had decided. We are all on short-term contracts, everyone is free to go. Harold, you can go now.”

“Does that mean that I'm fired?”

“Yep, Harold.”

It was boring, it was bland, no different from the other face creams. Flowers of Spring in pale pink or pale blue little tubs. Sales were flat, what could we do.

We gave it a new name that was harsh and ugly and put it in bright red, green and blue cans. No one could ignore it or forget it.

A bit of glamour – the customer wanted me in the adverts – and no, I had no choice.

You've seen me on TV holding a blue can and saying:

“You don't have to be beautiful to use GROTSCH, but GROTSCH helps.”

or with a green can and:

“Hello, I'm Claire, I have dry skin, so obviously I use GROTSCH for dry skin.”

Pretty obvious really, go for the brightly coloured can with the unforgettable name, you've got to use it.

Sales were great, marketing research told us that. Also that the sales of Flowers of Spring continued to be flat despite containing the same cream and a big surprise: lots of men were buying GROTSCH.

This was odd – more research showed that men were buying GROTSCH for their wives or daughters. We did posters and hoardings with workmen, a plumber holding an open bottle of beer in one hand and colourful can of GROTSCH in the other and the slogan “Make her beautiful with GROTSCH!”

Sales soared. Our next trick was to persuade brewers to tape small, give-away cans of GROTSCH to their bottles and cans of beer. Sales soared, what a campaign.

It was difficult at first, but I coped – always something new in my life – though the memory of Showfie was tearing at my insides.