Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Entry for "Writer's Island" and "Progress"

(With a nod to “Mad Men.”)
Ron: I guess we’re all aware of the reason for this meeting. It’s a new year, folks, and we’re about to embark on a new adventure. We’re getting together this afternoon with a man who has developed an exciting new product, an item with fantastic potential, and he wants us to be his advertising agency. Take over, Blake.
Blake: Well, you saw the Powerpoint presentation. “Candy Babar” is being proclaimed as something revolutionary for this industry. An entirely new confectionery item, a new type of candy bar in the shape of the world-famous elephant, loved by children everywhere. It's new in concept, new in philosophy, new in substance, new in excitement.
Ron: Right. This is an historic occasion: it shows we're making real progress. We'll be associated with what is literally a revolutionary product. Why is Candy Babar revolutionary? It’s a candy bar that relies heavily on high-fructose corn syrup in a never-before-achieved solid and stable form – it’s a scientific breakthrough. By the way, be sure you get the client’s name right: R. Philip Dubieus. For those of you who haven’t met the man, this is important. His last name is pronounced Dubyess; as he puts it, there’s an emphasis on the “yess.” I need hardly tell you there are to be no wisecracks about his name and the word “dubious.” And he likes to be referred to as “R. Philip.”
Blake: Yeah, we met him last year. Remember, Ron?
Ron: For those who are new with our agency, Blake is sarcastically referring to a meeting just like this one last year. R. Philip brought in his latest product, “Plumber’s Friend,” for us to evaluate.
Blake: And Ron evaluated the hell out of it.
Ron: Look, I’ve admitted it. I messed up. I told R. Philip that Plumber’s Friend, a candy bar in the shape of a toilet-bowl plunger, would never sell.
Edna: But the Plumber’s Friend candy bar sold like hotcakes. As you probably know, it was the most successful candy bar in the country for a while this year. And we told the client it would never sell. Who knows what kids are going to go for?
Ron: I’ll tell you who knows: R. Philip Dubieus knows. He’s a dam’ genius. He’s the Bill Gates of the confectionery industry – maybe even the Mark Zuckerberg. And he’s giving us another chance. This time we’re not going to drop the ball.
Wendell: Or the elephant.
Ron: How does that help, Wendell?
Wendell: Sorry.
Blake: To top it off, we provided them with their motto – at no charge.
Ron: That’s true. During our meeting last year, as we were talking about the Plumber’s Friend candy bar, someone blurted out, “It’ll clean out your pipes!” They used it and paid us nothing for the use. But it turned out okay. R. Philip now feels he owes us.
Blake: R. Philip’s lawyers have of course contacted the estate of the folks who own the name “Babar.” They’re very interested and even enthusiastic about the possibilities. They were especially interested in the Dubieus Industries’ scientific division.
Edna: Wait a minute. This guy is a candy-maker. He has a scientific division?
Blake: He sure does, staffed with top scientists and researchers, since candy-making these days relies so much on chemistry. They were responsible for the success of Plumber’s Friend. And they’ve got another winner in Candy Babar.
Ron: We must put across to R. Philip that in our advertising, in all media, the good-health and nutritional advantages of high-fructose corn syrup will be emphasized.
Edna: (Sighs) Just between you and me, why do we wind up with products like this? We never get something like Campbell’s Soup.
Ron: Campbell’s Soup may well be outsold next year by this tasty little pachyderm. If we play our cards right, Candy Babar will be paying the salaries of quite a number of us in this agency for years to come.
Blake: You’re actually enthusiastic about this product.
Ron: Well, I keep thinking about our Plumber’s Friend fiasco. I was wrong about that; I’m not going to be wrong about this. As for TV, R. Philip wants his television commercials to look like the movie “Avatar.” He’s very aware of what’s going on in the culture.
Blake: Is he aware of what’s going on in law-suits? Copy “Avatar” and he’ll find out.
Ron: We’ll deal with that later.
Edna: From what I’ve read, he’s going to get an actual elephant, paint him white and walk him around to school assemblies and so on.
Ron: What can I tell you, the guy thinks big. Now, by the way, R. Philip has a sort of special request. He has a friend, a young lady named Brandee – Sandee..?
Blake: Mandee.
Ron: Right, Mandee; her name has two “e’s” at the end.
Wendell: Bet that’s not all she’s got at the end.
Ron: I can’t tell you how great it would be, Wendell, if you would just shut up. Mandee Mullen, that’s her name. She’s 19 years old and she thinks of herself as a writer; she wants to write the TV commercials. Er, you’ve got nothing to say about this, Edna?
Edna: As head of the copy department, I’m speechless.
Wendell: So R. Philip has his own little candy bar…
Ron: What is the matter with you people! This is not a joke! You know the kind of year we just had. This wonderful new product, Candy Babar, is going to keep our ship from sinking. Enough with the wisecracks!
Wendell: Sorry.


Doctor FTSE said...

This is very funny. It reads like you have professional experience of what goes on in meetings like this, and know exactly how to make satire of it. The candy bar in the shape of a toilet bowl plunger is hilarious, doubly so when we remember that chocolate has laxative properties. I suspect there are "in jokes" in the names that are lost on UK English speakers. Very good.

kaykuala said...

A lot of witticism play in this skit. It takes a skilled mind to come up within a short space. You were in control. You pulled it off very well, Browne. Great! And a Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Yes, this reads true to many a dire marketing and advertising meeting that I sst through in days gone by. It's such a shame when the client has no sense of humour.

Berowne said...

My thanks to Doctor FTSE, kaykuala and vivinfrance for their encouraging comments.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for several morning smiles. Cleverly created and executed. I could actually see these people. Have a wonderful new year,


Berowne said...

Elizabeth: "Have a wonderful new year,"
And with your help, I shall. :-)

flaubert said...

Berowne this is a clever piece of writing.
Happy new year.

Jeanne Estridge said...

Favorite line: "Since candy-making relies so heavily on chemistry these days."


Jae Rose said...

I've never seen 'Mad Men' but this was a really funny inventive piece - Edna's line particularly made me chuckle. An original take on the prompt and a great start to a new year of writing! Jae

annell4 said...

Interesting take on progress.

Josie Two Shoes said...

I totally loved this, especially with the darker undertones about high fructose corn syrup. The dialog rang so true... a fun read!

Berowne said...

flaubert: "Berowne, this is a clever piece of writing."
Coming from someone named "flaubert," that is quite a compliment -- thanks. :-)

Berowne said...

Jeanne: "Perfect." jaerose: "This was a really funny, inventive piece." annell: "Interesting take." JTS: "I totally loved this."
What great comments; my sincere thanks.

Old Egg said...

That sure is a lot of progress from the early 60's setting of Mad Men!!! Things never change do they? A laugh on just about every line.

RJ Clarken said...

Oh wow! This is really funny! Thanks for the cleverly done script!

Berowne said...

lightverse: "Thanks for the cleverly done script!"
Thanks for the cleverly done comment. :-)

chiccoreal said...

Dear Berowne: So enjoy the continuing story of "The Candy Babar" and what a treat! Not sure if this a series, a spin-off or saga. Nevertheless definitely a two-thumbs up! Yes, I do recall an earlier version of "Candy Babar". Can't get enough! And when we get right down to boardroom politics when the bar hits the fan and push comes to "shove off" as is often the way in the steely Madison Ad exec offices; we know who's going to "sink" who's ship and float on top! The characters are fleshed out nicely GREAT DIALOGUE!!Love the Over-the-top feel to this, reminds me of a Berowne!!!Definitely a best seller this year!

Berowne said...

What a terrific comment from chiccoreal -- thanks!

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