Wednesday, 12 December 2018

SAINTS PRESERVE US

Rallying Around the Brand

The scene is the exclusive executive departure lounge at a major Canadian international airport. Two super elite fliers with similar stories encounter one another for the first time. The alcohol is free and tongues are loosened.

Brand Manager One: Excuse me, is this seat taken? May I share your table? And I must recharge my phone.

Brand Manager Two: Eh? Oh, sorry! Let me move my stuff. Sorry.

BMOne: Hi, I’m Brand Manager Who Only Replies To Media Queries Via Email.

BMTwo: Pleased to meet you! How’d you guess my name?

BMOne: Funny old world, not funny ha-ha but funny nonetheless.

BMTwo: I could use a laugh or two myself these days.

BMOne: Who couldn’t? So… not to pry, but you work for whom?

BMTwo: Huawei Canada.

BMOne: Ooh. Well… you must be pleased your CFO got sprung from the joint on $10-million bail. Nasty stuff, violating trade sanctions and stealing intellectual properties, state sponsored espionage…

BMTwo: It’s always darkest before the red dawn.

BMOne: Excuse me?

BMTwo: It’s always darkest before the dawn. You?

BMOne: Me? I work for Tim Hortons.

BMTwo: Ooh. You know, I just read an unscientific study about the nature of litter in Canada. Apparently when it comes to strewn garbage, your brand’s at the top of the heap.

BMOne: Customers, eh? Can’t live with ‘em; can’t live without ‘em. Still, we serve coffee and treats, not the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army.

BMTwo: At Huawei we pride ourselves on providing our customers ‘A Higher Intelligence.’ That is to say a product of excellent quality at a competitive price. We also treat our employees and vested stakeholders with dignity and respect.

BMOne: Touché. So… campaign season is upon us, the holidays. What are you running?

BMTwo: We’re all in on hockey: ice graphics, rink boards, broadcaster call-outs, set decoration; like that. Seems to be the most reliable way to reach Canadian consumers and millennials don’t pay attention to the news. It’s all good. You?

BMOne: Hockey, eh? Been there, done that. This time we’re going for warm and fuzzy, human interest, real life, heart warming stories narrated by our customers and employees. A real calculated small town feel, everybody of every ethnicity and ability pitching in for the greater good. Similar to Huawei at home, I suppose? So... I bought heavy weight during hockey broadcasts, the usual standard operational Canadiana bullshit.

BMTwo: If it ain’t broke… Hope that works out for you again.

BMOne: Yeah, yeah, thanks. Likewise. Timmy’s has chewed up and spat out a lot of brand equity this year. There’s no maple sugar-coating that. Still… all things considered, it could be a lot worse for the likes of us and our ilk.

BMTwo: Like working in the White House?

BMOne: Yeah, or Brexit.

BMTwo: Or Assad in Syria.

BMOne: Or bin Salman in Saudi.

BMTwo: Sears, don’t forget Sears.

BMOne: Facebook.

BMTwo: Ooh, good one. We still leverage it though.

BMOne: Us too. A devil you know sort of thing.

BMTwo: Anyway, must run, they’re calling my flight. Nice chatting with you.

BMOne: Likewise. Happy next financial quarter!

Copies of my latest novel The Garage Sailor are still available and ready to ship. Get aboard at Megeoff.com.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

HUMAN WRECKAGE

You Had a Friend

Modern times amaze and confuse me.

Our friend Netflix Derek who lives around the corner from the Crooked 9 underwent a surgical procedure this week. He is an active man and his ailment affected his quality of life for a significant period of time, months at least, probably longer. Upon diagnosis, and following the trickier part of scheduling his place in the health care system’s queue for treatment, just an hour or so under the knife set him right. He was home that evening.

Such is the miracle of modern medicine. It’s a bit like commercial air travel. I’m still dumbfounded that Canadians are able to traverse the second largest country in the world (by landmass) in a matter of hours.

I said to Ann, “I hope Derek has a speedy recovery.”

Because ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ begins streaming on Netflix a week this coming Sunday and our rabbit ears with their aluminum foil muffs can’t receive its signal.

Ann mentioned as a mere aside, “Did I tell you that Derek got rid of his landline?”

“He did? Well, what’s he use?”

“His cell.”

“His cell?”

Thoughts zipped through my mind, completely coherent but impossible to articulate in that nanosecond of neuron transmission: I don’t have a cell. I don’t send text messages. We still have a landline. Other friends text me; I pay the phone company to recite gibberish. How am I ever going to communicate with Netflix Derek again? Cell::landline, it’s like inserting a 45 or a cassette into a CD player.

“Derek texted me his cell phone number,” Ann said. “Maybe you should write it down in your address book.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Yeah. Yeah! I can still call Netflix Derek. He might even answer. I’ll wish him well and drop hints, angling for his Springsteen viewing invitation to Ann and me. Could work, this antiquated, quaint form of contact even as he’s adapted to new technologies swifter than I ever have or ever will.    

Copies of my latest novel The Garage Sailor are still available and ready to ship. Get aboard at Megeoff.com.