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Monday, April 18, 2011

Chewing Gum at the Office

Just another day at the office.
The call from my side went something like this:

“Montana, huh?”

“You want to test your new product into Montana?”

“But, why?”

Twenty minutes later I took my directive and charted a marketing solution. But first it was time to speak with the natives. Or near natives.

I have a friend who decided it would be a good idea to save the world in Montana. That’s a wonderful concept, with the exception that I can’t possibly imagine living that far from the entertainment capital of the world. I mean to me living in Montana is like living in Edmonton. Even there they have a hockey team with five Stanley Cups. Buying media in Montana must be the same as buying media in Stockton, only easier.

So yesterday, I interviewed her to see what it’s like living in Montana. After all, how am I going to decide how to market this new chewing gum into our 44th most populous state?


Media Guy: So before living in Montana, what was it like living in L.A.?

Montana Friend: Living is L.A. is the equivalent of selling your soul for a patch of good weather, movie stars, gridlock traffic and superficial tans. Best of all, it can be taped live before a studio audience.

MG: What about living in Montana?

MF: Living in Montana is a lot like being duct-taped inside a storage container with a bunch of honey badgers. It's dangerous and it’s probably going to be fatal no matter what.

MG: How can you tell the difference between dangerous mountain-people and not-as-dangerous mountain-people?

MF: At first everyone will seem like crazed-looking individuals who reek of meat-sweat and failure. Some of them will be dangerous and some will merely be your fellow Safeway patrons. After a while they will all be your friends.

MG: I hear garage sales are huge there.

MF: Beware of garage sales! They are actually traps.

MG: Traps for what?

MF: You start your morning with visions of finding those used albums in near mint condition or even a funky wooden radio from 1961. You go from telephone pole to telephone pole, guided only by those stenciled GARAGE SALE signs and then you arrive to junk heaven. Once you’re there and search the neatly organized merchandise, a delightful old lady named Gertrude will approach you. She'll say "I have the best stuff inside.” When you bite, she’ll spring the trap. "So...have you enrolled in a fellowship
yet?" Then you’re toast. One hour to wiggle out of the Baptist Fellowship trap. Save your soul, indeed.

MG: It must be easier to drive in Montana than L.A.

MF: Au contraire. If you feel the need to leave the relative safety of your home and get behind the wheel, be prepared. You’ve just entered Grand Theft Auto on chaos mode. What’s worse is how exasperated you become because no one will notice that they nearly killed you. Instead they give you that "what the f**k are you doing on MY side of the road?" look.

MG: What about the bears? Have you honed your bear-fighting skills?

MF: You will be attacked by a bear at some point in your life here. These beasts remind you of Yogi Bear without the hat and tie. Don’t be fooled! They are ferocious killing-machines that are not controlled in any way. Your best bet to live is to find a rock that is blunt on one end for bludgeoning and sharp on the other for stabbing. You should definitely watch The Edge with Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin because if the thought of beating/stabbing a monster that slightly resembles a Hanna-Barbara cartoon made you feel any emotion other than battle-rage, you will not survive. You know what? Nevermind. Bears always win, except if they are in a Hollywood movie.

MG: So why don’t you move back to L.A.?

MF: Because I love it here.


So believe or not, this cynical, but loving view of Montana gave me exactly what I needed: a pure, unadulterated view of a misunderstood state. And the perfect genesis of marketing genius.

Thank you Miss Montana!