A Short Story on the Foibles of Marketing
Have you ever looked at a baby hamster? If you haven’t, do yourself a favor, because those things are adorable. Every single one is like a bite sized Christmas of cuteness, capable of transforming a grown man into a helpless heap of silly smiles. In nature this is a positive force designed to make long work days bearable, but what if someone tried to corrupt this force of sweetness, and used its power for evil?
Let me share the tale of Tim, the world’s cutest hamster.
When Fire Eater Industries’ marketing division found baby Tim in the forest, five interns were hospitalized for cardiac arrest. When they brought Tim back to the laboratory, they had to carry him in a special hamster ball made of lead. Even when they finally had him, safety regulations dictated that he could only be viewed through sunglasses. This was because Tim was the cutest hamster that had ever lived.
Now, Fire Eater Industries was in a slump. Sales were down, investors were flummoxed, and cuts were being made across the board. Things were looking grim, but the CEO of the company had a plan. Now that they had secured the world’s cutest hamster, why not make it the company mascot? Surely with careful engineering, Tim’s natural cuteness could be transformed into an unstoppable force and set loose into the social media like a viral storm.
With thunder, rain and a cackling laugh, it began.
Within a week, the world’s finest fashion designers had been called to Fire Eater Industries to help create the world’s greatest mascot. Tim’s life became a flurry of scarves, booties, and hats. His soft fur was covered in the latest double-breasted suits; his tiny feet were ensconced in the finest Italian leather. Even his great big eyes were hidden away by a pair of sweet stunner shades. At the end of it all, Tim’s outfit was so fresh it caused inflation. “Adorable!” screamed the CEO, “He is ready! Unleash him upon the world!”
An enormous showing was announced, and the local stadium was crammed to capacity with people clamoring to see the world’s cutest hamster. They patiently endured the summer heat, the pre-show entertainment and the terrible crowding. They endured everything, so that when the revelation of Tim was at hand, the stadium lights trembled with their anticipation.
“Reveal him!” cried the CEO.
And Tim was revealed.
And there was silence.
After a long and terrible pause, a man spoke from the crowd. “Where is Tim?”
The CEO looked at him incredulously, and gestured to the stage. “Why, he’s right there! Where do you think he is?”
But where the world’s cutest hamster should have been, there was nothing but a barely-mobile creature underneath a mountain of clothing. All of Tim’s wonderful traits had been covered up with snazzy gear, and there was nothing left to see. Jilted, the crowd turned sour, and such a ruckus broke out that the Fire Eaters had to escape by helicopter.
When the dust cleared the next morning Tim was nowhere to be found. Nobody knows where he went, but rumors abound of a benign spirit in Wisconsin that travels from town to town to bring cheer to the world. They say he’s the cutest thing this side of the moon, and if you ask a person why they’ll shrug. “I don’t know,” they’ll say, “He’s just really great and genuine. Just doing his thing, you know? It’s all natural.”
Rock on, Tim.