After its success of the Cult of the Dead ad campaign the BADAD agency now has a new challenge: to advertise some run-down holiday cottages in a small village near a town known as the English Chernobyl.
This then is the continuing story of the Bad Ad advertising agency. If you want to track it from the start, start with: Part 1: Welcome to the home of Bad Ad. This part of the continuing stories starts here. Or you can take your chance and jump straight in below.
We now had two rustic old gentlemen learning poems (which I had no doubt they would recite incomprehensibly), and a deal with the licencee of the Ratcatcher’s Arms for a 3% cut in the increased turnover from the public house as a result of my drive to make Fishwick-cum-Hardy the centre of the UK’s poetry industry.
For good measure I had also painted a meaningless slogan on the wall of the nearby railway arches, and the local radio station had made it headline news (replacing the earthquake in New Zealand and the civil war in Libya.)
My next plan was to get young William Cardigan-Cardigan from the Bad Ad agency to dress as a poet and parade around the streets gazing meaningfully at anything that caught his eyes. For the event a I chose a replica of the wig Alan Rickman wore playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, and a red cape, black trousers and boots and an Australian rugby shirt.
He was ordered to say little, mumble a lot, and write down the occasional phrase in a notebook. And wear a trilby.
Louie and I set up an office (well somewhere to shelter from the rain) in the front parlour of one of the three cottages that were available for rent. It contained a desk, three chairs, a laptop, stove, a non-functioning digital radio (digital not having reached this outpost of the Empire), a lightbulb hanging naked from a flex that emerged through the roof, and several books on neurophysiology which I assumed at first Louie was reading but which it turned out she had just brought along in case we needed a door stop.
Louie would always say that we were “work mates” or perhaps “pals”. I confess I am totally enamoured of her charms. She is pretty, lively, charming, attractive… well you know the sort of thing a fellow writes we he starts writing about the girl he fancies.
The only problem with Louie is that she has ideals and ideas. I may be wronging her, but I have an idea that she’s the sort of girl who would want a fellow to rise to the top of his profession, rather that tootle around in a diminutive Northamptonshire village setting up a party-trick that will turn it into the centre of the nation’s poetry, just to prove a fellow member of the agency completely wrong. Thus I conclude she is after a man whom others admire and look up to and call “sir”, and for whom doormen at the Ritz open the door, rather than announce in a loud voice that can be heard by the lady one is taking out for afternoon tea, “tradesmen round the back mate”.
She’s big on politics too. I know I’ve heard her speak favourably of Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (he of the French Revolution and so on), and I think she is fairly positive on the International Committee of the Fourth International (founder Leon Trotsky).
So what with one thing and the other, I have to accept that “pals” it is. I think she’s everything a fellow could ask for (leaving aside the bit about Trotsky of course), and she thinks me at best a second rate advertising copywriter, and most of the time next door to a looney.
Our first customer arrived at 0945 on the first morning our office opened. It was a young man – I would guess mid-20s.
“You’ve got two of the codgers in the bar learning poems,” he said. I agreed this was so. “For free drinks,” he said. Again I did not try to dissuade him. “I’ll do it,” he said.
I told him that I would put him at the top of the list, which we created on the spot.
Thereafter a steady stream of ne’er-do-wells, drop outs, young mothers, bankers and property developers approached us with their claims that they could make the project work for us, although most were on the indistinct side of vague when it came to understanding what the project was, and quite what they could do to enhance it. Although I must say I quite liked the chap who came dressed as Confucius, for reasons that failed to become clear in the subsequent interview.
In between the meetings we worked on the media, writing the press releases and posing alternatively as members of the international poetry literati seeking out hitherto unknown writers in the local bush, and as journalists from the national dailies who had heard there was a story and were trying to get the low-down without the bore of having to make the trip to the Midlands.
Within half an hour we had it. The Mirror had heard that the Sun was doing a piece on the way so-called poets were holding wild orgies in the previously peaceful village of Fishwick by Bottleneck, while the Star was investigating the tale that Jordan’s ex-husband had been seen reading a book by the Libyan revolutionary John Betjemn (their spelling not mine) who was proposing to unleash the holocaust on Slough. The Mirror was said to be running a piece about how 16 year old beauties were demanding that their parents take them to the village of Fusdock on Biggit where known pop stars rubbed shoulders with poets and bemused locals. The Guardian was working on a special on “Contemporary British Poets” which would be a free give away with the saturday edition.
At 11.30 the local GP arrived from Hardy-by-Slimwart, the next village, asking if we were new to the area, and would we like to be on his list? He was closely followed by the school administrator from the village primary in Hardbottle-in-the-Wold who wanted to admit our children to the school. When we said we were not a couple, and had no children, the administrator announced that she hardly thought that relevant, and suggested she would put us down “for three”.
I began to feel quite at home.
If you would like to discuss story telling as a form of advertising, please do call Hamilton House on 01536 399 000. If you want to know about the range of our direct marketing services please visit www.hamilton-house.com and if you would like to see some other examples of our humour you might care to visit www.blog.toppled.info