While chomping on a meaty six-incher in an Edinburgh Subway this afternoon, I nearly choked. In the corner of my eye I saw the above flyer with its laughably bad slogan. What went on in that marketing meeting, I wondered…
Boss: OK team, let’s touch base. We’re looking for serious traction in the business lunch sphere. Hit me…
Poor Sod Who Has To Do The Work: Well, erm, I thought – we’re pitching at business people talking business things, right? And we’re bringing them some food, so, erm… some sort of wordplay, maybe a rhymey thing about that – ‘Eat our platter while you natter’, ‘Grab some scran, businessman!’, ‘Food on a fork, while you talk’, maybe you could have a picture of a fork…
Boss: Oh no, no, no! Bullshit! This is bullshit! I’m talking a killer slogan here, something that looks good and sounds good….
Poor Sod: Well, erm….
Boss: Bloody hopeless. Do I have to do everything myself? Let’s get back to basics. What’s our target market?
Toadying Assistant: Business meetings
Boss: Business meetings, right. *writes on whiteboard* *ponders while stroking chin* OK, here’s something… ‘meet’ – that sounds like ‘meat’, yeah?
Boss: And our sandwiches have meat in them.
Boss: You see where I’m going? *rubs out ‘meetings’, puts in ‘meatings’*
Toady: I like it.
Poor Sod: But, erm…
Boss: And if we highlight ‘eat’ that works too. Because people… eat… meat
Toady: Looks good!
Poor Sod: But erm, ‘scuse me,… meatings? What are meatings? It’s like ‘beatings’. It conjures up a bad mental image, like you’re gonna get battered round the head with 5 lbs of sheep carcass.
Toady: It’s a pun, you know, like a play on words.
Poor Sod: I know what a pun is. It’s just a shit one.
Boss: Listen, pipe down. Let someone else do the talking. OK, now what happens at meetings? You meet and present…. meet and powerpoint…. meet and run through the agenda items…
Toady: Meet and greet! Meet and greet!
Boss: Brilliant! Brilliant! It rhymes! And it’s what you do at meetings! Yes, yes, yes! Oh yes… and lookee here… if I just … *rubs out on whiteboard* … you see… you see… ‘meatings and greatings!’
Toady: Oh yeah! Yeah! That’s it! Looks good! Looks good!
Poor Sod: But erm,…
Boss: That’s it! I think we’ve cracked it.
Poor Sod: But erm…
Boss: Yep – meatings and greatings. Love it.
Toady: Looks good!
Poor Sod: Yes, but, it doesn’t rhyme….
Boss: What???? Yes it does. Of course it does. Look – ‘meetings and greetings’. That’s the saying, ‘meeting and greeting’.
Poor Sod: Yes, but it doesn’t say that. It says ‘meetings’ and ‘graytings’.
Boss: Yeah, that’s because our food tastes great! You know – the great taste you always get at Subway! What is wrong with you man?
Poor Sod: I just think when people read it, you know, it doesn’t rhyme.
Toady: But it looks good.
Poor Sod: Yes, it might look good, but it doesn’t rhyme. Meetings and gray-tings. Gratings are what you find in the street.
Toady: But it looks good. Look – there is an ‘eat’ in meatings and an ‘eat’ in greatings. Subway is all about eating, yeah? And we serve meat. And we are great. It’s genius!
Poor Sod: It’s not genius. It’s like a Slovakian exchange student failing his English exam.
Boss: We’re going with it.
Toady: Yep. Looks good.
Poor Sod: It’s just wrong! It’s just wrong! For God’s sake, people, sounds and letters are different things! People, regular English-speaking people, are going to see this and read it. If you read it aloud, it doesn’t rhyme. If you read it how you want people to read it, it doesn’t mean what you want it to mean. A meating sounds like getting battered round the head with a sheep carcass. And a grating is a place in the street where drunks spew. This is not the right message!!!
Toady: But it looks good!
Boss: And I’m in charge!
Poor Sod: Oh I give up…! *comes back with a sheep’s carcass and gives them both a meating they won’t forget*