I'm writing this on flight to Miami. Carlos, our man in Guatemala, has gone native. He's using local voodoo sun god as a marketing tool for our 'fruit drink', Shiny Bright, and has apparently become a bit of a local deity himself. Great sales results but all a bit off-brand. I've been ordered by Sir Marcus to go and sort it out and keep it all very hush-hush. Shiny Bright is global mega brand, so we can't have it tainted by voodoo marketing (all marketing is voodoo but no need for him to know that). Interesting brand Shiny Bright, a cocktail of some of the nastier chemical agents we couldn't use in our oven cleaner. We put it in a yellow bottle with sunshine on the label and sell it to kids as a health drink. 'Health', in that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Put my seat back to fall asleep counting air miles.
Arrive in the dark heart of Central America - that's Miami airport. Download my e-mails before heading for the jungle. Bad news. Sir Marcus using my absence to deal direct with Shiny Bright advertising agency. Has told them we need great creativity for a great brand. The last thing we need is a creative agency coming up with 30 seconds of art school rubbish with no sign of the product. If you want to sell things, you need a young mum with good teeth. Land in Guatemala and walk straight into some heavy looking local hoods, wearing shades and sipping Shiny Bright. They stuff me into a limo and say they're taking me to Carlos somewhere in the jungle. Either a great promotional gimmick or I'm kidnapped.
Finally arrive at Shiny Bright bottling plant deep in the jungle, where I meet large, shadowy figure of Carlos. Surprised that he gives me masonic handshake but then realise he has two fingers missing. A truck leaves the plant with Shiny Bright logo on the side. Small children run after it and Carlos explains they are 'repeat purchasers' of the brand - while he laughs a cold, hollow Finance Director's laugh. To show that they all worship the Shiny Bright sun god, the kids stick out their tongues at each other (they are the colour of a magnesium flare). Carlos mentions that this is particularly useful for the coroner when they overdose.
Wake up with mother of all headaches after late night with Carlos talking about Shiny Bright marketing. He admits he made up his own recipe. I warn him that's against the rules. He says as long as the stuff comes out yellow, what does it matter if they add a little extract of coca leaf? I can't tell if he's mad or a genius. If this was a film, I'd have to shoot him.
Instead I say he's being called home for IT training. That'll finish him off. I say my farewells and head for the airport with case of voodoo Shiny Bright - for personal use. On my Miami stop-over, I lie on a hotel sunbed and marvel at the grip the sun has on primitive cultures.
Straight from airport to ad agency to see their new incredibly creative work before Sir Marcus does. They reveal fantastic idea, 'Drink of the Sun God'. I tell them it is the last idea on earth we want, and they better come up with a young-mum-with-good-teeth idea, pronto. They throw an industrial size rattle out of their pram until I promise to do the selling. At afternoon meeting with Sir Marcus, I tell him it's important to get into the product and pour him a large one, fresh from Guatemala. Sir Marcus's pupils dilate as he watches the young mum ad like it was the birth of his firstborn. He gets all emotional and thanks the agency for its most creative work ever. I just say a quiet thank you to Carlos and the sun god.*****************************************************************