GREAT MOMENTS IN ADVERTISING by Andy Sottilare
LIGHTS UP to reveal a “Mad Men” scene...its an ad agency meeting....everyone is smoking and drinking booze; suits and ties....
BOSS Gentlemen. We have yet to come up with the right approach for the Rancid Baby Food campaign. Do we have ANY new ideas? (ANDREWS <female>raises her hand) Yes...Andrews?
ANDREWS Sir, perhaps we should just ask them to change the name of the product.
BOSS You don’t think they should call it baby food?
ANDREWS No sir, I meant the brand name. Rancid Baby Food? not very...marketable.
BOSS So...you are saying...we...change the name....?
ANDREWS Yes sir --- to a name that is perhaps more -- condusive to sales.
BOSS Are you insane? YOU’RE FIRED! GET OUT! CLEAN OUT YOUR DESK AND GET OUT!
ANDREWS leaves, crying.
EVERYONE in the room laughs.
BOSS So -- any other ideas? COME ON! WHAT DO I PAY YOU PEOPLE TO DO? (JOHNSON raises his hand) Yes Johnson?
JOHNSON What about... “Rancid- the baby food for negroes.”...?
BOSS I dont get it. Negroes? Why is it for negroes? You lost me.
JOHNSON Well its not really MADE for negroes, sir, its just that they consist of 13% of the market and ....
BOSS Nah...too racial....Williams? What about you?
WIILLIAMS Me sir?
BOSS Yes. Do you have any new ideas?
WILLIAMS Um -- um -- sir, I’m sorry. I just get nervous when I’m under pressure. You want a new idea?
BOSS YES! Do you have any?
WILLIAMS um --
BOSS SPIT IT OUT, MAN!
WILLIAMS CATS! CATS!
BOSS Did he say...CATS?
WILLIAMS Yes -- cats. Sir. Cats.
BOSS (thinking) We give away a new cat with every jar of baby food. Interesting, Williams. Very interesting. THAT is a NEW idea, gentlemen...
WILLIAMS Yes sir, its new. New concept!
SMITH Wouldn’t that get expensive?
JOHNSON Not if the cats were dead.
SMITH True. We can get dead cats for pennies.
JOHNSON And they could be dead NEGRO cats, sir!
BOSS Shut up, Johnson.
SMITH Sir, I think I have a solution.
BOSS Does it involve cats or negroes?
BOSS Then go ahead.
SMITH (pause) No.
BOSS What do you mean no? What’s the idea?
SMITH No. I just did.
JOHNSON No negroes you mean.
BOSS SHUT UP, JOHNSON. Smith, what did you mean.
SMITH You just asked me if we had any “new” ideas and I got the newest idea...that the correct answer was NO. You see?
BOSS What was that cat idea again?
JOHNSON The negro cats?
BOSS Shut up, Johnson --
WILLIAMS -- Sir, our research has shown that 76% of cat owners belong to country clubs.
JOHNSON --76% of negroes don’t belong to country clubs, Sir.
BOSS Johnson, do you know what the word negro means?
JOHNSON Like you do? We all pretend we know what big words mean, like “herpes” and “scrotum” and “incest” and “rectum” but no one REALLY knows what those words mean.
BOSS You were saying about country clubs....?
WILLIAMS Yes sir. 76% of baby owners go to country clubs. And 50% of those play tennis 3.6 times a week.
WILLIAMS Well, they need cat guts. To -- string the rackets....?
BOSS I like it.
JOHNSON Negroes will like it too, sir!
SMITH I don’t think the cats will like it.
BOSS Do cats buy baby food, Smith?
BOSS Then shut up.
JOHNSON Is a negro bigger than a bread box?
SMITH I guess it would depend on the box.
WILLIAMS (IDEA POPS IN HIS HEAD) ... the GUT box! Yes! A box! Where you keep cat guts! We can give away a free one with every say -- tenth jar of baby food!
BOSS I like it...”RANCID...THE BABY FOOD WITH GUTS!”
JOHNSON Guts..and Negroes!
BOSS Didn’t I just fire you?
BOSS OK, just checking. (beat) WELL WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ALL SITTING AROUND FOR? JOHNSON! SMITH! WILLIAMS! DONT JUST SIT THERE! GET US SOME DEAD CATS! I smell a winning campaign!
they all scramble offstage...Boss pours more whisky...