George Saunders imagines the future of advertising:
January 25, 2002 5:55 AM   Subscribe

George Saunders imagines the future of advertising: "But Teddy of course did not see Gene Kelly, Gene Kelly not being one of his Preferences, but instead saw his hero Babar, swinging a small monkey on his trunk while saying that his data indicated that Teddy did not yet own a Nintendo." Hilarious Vonnegut-like short fiction.
posted by BT (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Worth reading just for the bit about the "Merrill Lynch talking fist" which asks, "Are you kicking ass or kissing it?"
posted by BT at 7:18 AM on January 25, 2002

a woman in lingerie running a bottle of Pepsi between her breasts
hm, sounds like the big britney ad in times square right now. i guess we don't have much farther to go.

surprisingly beautiful story, especially the last sentence.
posted by witchstone at 7:45 AM on January 25, 2002

Loved the story! Great link!
posted by fnirt at 7:53 AM on January 25, 2002

Beautiful story, and scarily plausible. Good link, BT.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:01 AM on January 25, 2002

The young writer had forced himself past Hirschfield's secretary and into his office with a stapled manuscript in his fist, one that might have still been crisp had it not become dog-eared and wrinkled by the boy's haste to squeeze past everyone crowding the boiler room this early January day (Deadline Day, that is, when 90% of the work actually got done--some writers claim--because 90% of the inspiration didn't come until 11:30pm the previous night as the hacks stared at the bottom of their whiskey glasses).

"I've got it, sir, this is the best one I've done yet!" he gasped while tossing the coffee stained screed onto the desk.

The editor of Adcrushers Magazine pushed his glasses up his greasy nose and read the first scentence. "Oh dear," he sighed, "is this another somewhere-in-the-future tale filled with shocking UFA gadgets, mixed in with a heart breaking tale of an old man and his granddaughter?"

The hack was still catching his breath, "grandson... it's his grandson. And... wh... what do you mean 'another?'"

Hirschfield removed his glasses and leaned back in his chair, "Gregory, we did one of those last month. And the month before that. And... now that I come to think of it... we've used a variation of the same idea practically every month we've been in publication!"

Gregory pinched sweat off his nose in a nervous gesture and gestured at his manuscript. "Well... it's popular stuff, Hirsch. Always good for a few pinboards, a couple e-mails, one or two links off MetaFilter. Good traffic, this stuff."

The editor's knucles cracked when he meshed his fingers together and pressed his palms out in a stretch, and the old man winced as a few more tired muscles and bones popped in his shoulders and his neck--which he rolled around to loosen up as well. "I really..." he paused to summon the words he wanted and assemble them in his wordsmithing mind, "..I really think it's time we began a change of direction here at Adcrushers. We all come from a graphics design background, most of us have been in advertising at one time or another, and we all think we know what the Bottom Line is all about. But I've been thinking--what if marks aren't really as stupid as our entire editorial position has naturally assumed? What if the basic human consumer isn't as suggestible as our quick-draw reaction to JP Merrill Pepsi Proctor & Gamble's campaign pretends it is? What if..."

The editor paused once more, gazing up at the ceiling tile where he'd finally noticed that the brown patches of moisture stains had congealed into the Georgia Pacific logo, guided by the tile's invisible density pattern imprinted at the factory. Struck stunned, the man glanced down at the manuscript--Yes! There, in the corner, where it'd picked up a coffee stain as the writer shoved past someone on the way back from the cafeteria, the Georgia Pacific logo there again! Hot damn!

"Boys!" Hirschfield yelled across the newsroom, holding up the manuscript in his meaty paw like so many McCarthy Communists "This is our new front page!"
posted by wenham at 9:03 AM on January 25, 2002

wenham, I'm impressed and disoriented.
posted by BT at 9:31 AM on January 25, 2002

This thread gives you TWO stories for the price of one! It's true, wenham, that there have been many stories about overexuberant ads (see "The Space Merchants" by Pohl and Kornbluth for an example) but, leaving social commentary aside, I still though the story a good one. As was yours.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 12:07 PM on January 25, 2002

I didn't hear that one on my SleepCoo, perhaps I ought to reprogram my bathroom mirror.
posted by wenham at 12:33 PM on January 25, 2002

If you liked that short story, you'll love Saunders' collection

posted by jonmc at 6:21 PM on January 25, 2002

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