“What about Jimmy Cola?” Hank asked.
“Not good. Down 45%. That damn story last week is killing us.” Bill responded.
“That bad?” Jerry pondered.
“Yeah, we’re in the shithouse.” Bill said while shaking his head.
“What is our synergy plan?” Arthur asked.
Arthur was the VP of the program. Everything was resting on his shoulders. Hank, Bill, and Jerry were the best. Ratings and profits were down. If anyone could get things crawling up again it was the three parasites sitting across the table from him.
“We need to enter total spin. If the cola does bad stuff to your body we need to market that in some way to make people want it anyway. Ultimately it should push up sales if we are clever enough.” Bill said while stroking his beard. It was an annoying habit he had when he was thinking.
“Bad stuff is kind of an understatement, Bill.” Hank said.
“How bad are we talking? What does it do?” Jerry asked. He was never in the know. He was only part of the power three because he was good with numbers. He was otherwise a parasite with very weak fangs. Bill and Hank had both slept with his wife Janice. Arthur felt sorry for the guy.
“It doesn’t matter. We just need to find a solution.” Bill said.
“What do you mean it doesn’t matter? I mean if something is really that bad shouldn’t we look for another product instead to promote?”
Arthur, Hank, and Bill all burst out laughing. After a few seconds they composed themselves. Poor Jerry didn’t get the joke.
“Jimmy Cola is giving us a very respectable 20 percent. Sure, it is hurting us now but they have been good to us. We need to make this work. If we do we can probably even modify the contract and go up to 25 or 30. We have them right where we want them. We just need to clean up this little mess.” Arthur said imparting his sage wisdom to his three parasites.
Bill and Hank nodded with great vigor. Jerry looked uneasy.
“Alright, from a pure numbers point of view you are right of course. Increasing to 25 or 30 would be an excellent way to make up for our losses since last week. However, it sounds like we are talking about a new marketing campaign here. That alone is going to cost us 6-8 points if we want to make it quality.” Jerry stated with a tone of finality. They all knew better than to question his numbers.
“Glad you have your head back in the game” Bill said.
“I’m not the one normally known for that problem am I?” Jerry fired back.
It was a low blow and well played. Bill had a serious drinking problem. It had cost them three sponsors so far. If he wasn’t so god damn bloodthirsty Arthur would have let him go years ago.
“Let’s focus on our PR problem shall we?” Hank said quickly trying to steer the conversation back into something that would be productive.
Bill and Jerry nodded at each other and then focused on the problem at hand.
“What are your thoughts, Hank? How can we spin this?” Arthur asked.
Hank shook his head and tapped his fingers on the giant oak table. Arthur was very proud of the table. It cost him twenty thousand jobs and it was imported from South America. The rumor was that three workers died bringing it to the plane. It was a quality product worth the price.
“As I said, this is bad. The scientific report is pretty damning. There is very solid evidence that shows that the cola is directly responsible for the supposed side effects. We could try to buy off some other scientists to refute the claims but it would be a damn hard sell.” Hank declared.
All of the men around the table nodded their heads. Jerry broke the momentary silence.
“How bad are we talking exactly? You guys still haven’t answered me. I mean I know this is more Hank and Bill’s area of expertise but I might still be able to help. What are the side effects?”
“It melts your small intestine from the inside.” Bill said with a shrug.
“Jesus!” Jerry declared.
“Oh, don’t be so dramatic.” Bill said.
“Don’t be so dramatic? How the hell can we possibly spin this?” Jerry said with a shrill voice.
“I already told you. We just need to figure out how to sell the benefit involved.” Bill said.
“Is there a benefit?” Arthur asked.
“Of course. Weight loss.” Hank said with a smile.
“Explain” Arthur said.
“Look, it doesn’t kill you all at once. It somehow messes with your body chemistry and the acid in your stomach somehow gets changed around. This then leads to the modified acid somehow getting into your small intestine and then the acid just slowly melts it. Along the way you get a series case of diarrhea that won’t go away.”
“That’s brilliant. It’s a weight loss soda. Same great taste but with none of the calories.” Bill said with another smile on his face. He was obviously very proud of himself.
“What about the damage?” Jerry asked. He looked kind of ill.
“Whatever. Just buy new organs. They’re cheap enough these days. Sure, the useless class won’t be able to afford the new organs but who cares? Jack up the price of the soda and market it towards those of us that can afford it and want to lose weight. The dregs rarely watch our show anyway. They are a blip on our data stream.” Bill said with obvious contempt in his voice.
Arthur and Hank looked to Jerry.
“He’s right. They only make up 5 percent of our total buyers. The number don’t’ lie. As much as I hate to admit it the plan has a lot of merit.” Jerry stated.
“I’m going to be very busy, but I think we can do it. How are we going to start off the spin?”
“What about Mike? He drinks this shit on the show all the time. How is he holding up?” Arthur asked.
“Oh, his intestines are ripped to shreds. We just thought he was being a diva but apparently all his complaining lately has been legit.” Bill said with a laugh.
“Perfect. Schedule the organ replacement for Friday. We’ll do it live on air. Once America sees their beloved Mike Hunter endorse the newest health craze we’ll be back on top in no time. This is brilliant stuff gentlemen. We’ll get that 30 point for sure. Hell, I’m feeling bold. Think I’m going to go for 40. Seems fair considering we’re about to make Jimmy Cola the most popular soda in the world.”
Arthur got up and shook the hands of the three men.
They were parasites but they were his parasites.
Nobody did business better.