Friday’s Short Story

storytellerGentlemen. Domestos. It’s not performing.

History lesson: When I was a kid, when you were a kid, Domestos had the famous slogan “Kills 99 percent of all known germs… Dead”, which was quite a boast even in those days, when there were actually only three known germs. (In fact, as it later turned out, one of those germs, the deadliest of the three, wasn’t even a germ at all. It was a midget with a gun.) Still, 99 percent of three is a lot of germs, proportionally speaking.

But where could they go from there? All its competitors could come back, year on year, advertising that they were now 50 percent improved, 39 percent stickier, 76 percent more blue. Domestos, no matter how hard it tried, could only ever be 1 percent better.

Oh, they got there. When I joined the company Domestos was marching under the slogan: “Kills Germs Dead”. Great slogan. Brutal. Definitive. You can’t get better than that. That is job done, for a bleach. We had achieved bleach perfection. We’d reached the top, and had to stop, and that’s what’s bothering me. Unless…

Gentlemen. I have a modest proposal. The time has come to broaden our remit. I’ve been doing some research and I think that if we are to remain vital and competitive in the 21st century we need to move into areas in which progress is once again a possibility.

In my experience Domestos will kill most things smaller than a rabbit… Dead. No, no. I’m not suggesting that this is an appropriate fact to hang an advertising campaign off. People are not scared of rabbits. In fact a lot of people quite like rabbits, so even if Joe Blow was to find a rabbit in his toilet his first reaction would probably be “Aww, there’s a rabbit in the toilet”, not “Mrs Blow! Get the bleach! And not that cheap own-brand shit, either. We’re going nuclear. Get the Domestos.”

If next year we announced that Domestos would definitely kill even quite large rabbits I can’t see sales improving too much.

But what about this: “Domestos! Kills a good 3 percent of tigers… Dead. If you aim it right and use enough of it. (Your face and body may be at risk. If you get even a small amount of tiger in your eye flush with water and await help.)”

People are scared of tigers. I know I am. I’d be comforted to know that if a domestic tiger event was to occur my chances of survival would be upped even marginally.

And then the following year we, the fine folks at Domestos, could announce that our product, still one hundred percent germ-killy remember, was now 6 per cent more deadly to tigers, and also had a more lemony fragrance, why gentlemen! We could sit back and watch sales grow and I could look forward to the day when I can release myself from this anti-tiger cage and rejoin society.

And then? Gentlemen, then we go after the fucking polar bears. Who’s with me?

******
Domestos
by Harris
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