A short story aka The new campaign
Charles didn’t want to be the one who came up with a new campaign. “That last campaign was great, unbeatable. We are going to be known as the idiots who thought they could outdo it,” he reasoned with his business partner Clem.
The remaining partner, Nicola, was hoping Charles would prevail in the debate. She had fabricated the whole phone conversation where they had been offered the contract; the conversation had approached whose turn it was to get the paper from the store room and she couldn’t face the long walk and just blurted out something about doing a new campaign. For his part Charles just couldn’t be bothered. He was pretty sure his betting slip in his pocket was going to leave him without the need ever to work again: he’d had £50 on ‘everybody to score’ in the big football game at the weekend.
Clem didn’t know whether to push it or not. He didn’t really know how to make adverts and thus far had got by with agreeing with whatever Charles and Nicola said. He always wore a nice ironed shirt – and that had seemed to be enough to get him by. This silence was lasting too long though…why was the computer telling him he couldn’t print the 2 for 1 Pizza Express voucher? Out of paper? But they had a rota…
Charles wasn’t going to let this rest, “The last ones with the man and the woman who smiled was too good. How are we going to top that? Two men smiling? Not this century. We could always pitch something with a cat but then you’ve got to find a cat. Does anyone else here know how to find a cat? I’ve lost a cat. Finding a cat is the opposite of where my experience lies.”
Nicola excused herself. Maybe she should just go and get some paper. It had to be a better course of action than suggesting major brands were offering them advertising campaigns. But it was harder: the stationery cupboard was up three stairs. And she had never learned to climb stairs – something she put down being raised in a bungalow. And it was with this sense of her own inadequacies spinning round her mind that Nicola Shapton ran out of the agency – never to return. She would go on to die in her old age due to mass disappointment at having never won the lottery.
What of Clem and Charles? They never did come up with a campaign and they never caught on that there was no offer from the manufacturer. It nearly caused an embarrassing situation at a volleyball contest several years later – but there was a loud bang and the embarrassment was totally avoided. They noticed Nicola had gone after several weeks when the Cup-a-Soups they been eyeing on her desk went out of date. The day after Clem broke down and admitted he knew nothing about advertising. Charles was very understanding and they got a new sign, sold the printer and turned the office into a butcher’s.