SCENE: Meeting room of a garden accessories wholesaler. There is a smartboard taking up most of a wall, flanked by generic stock photos with motivational quotes. One is of a silhouetted figure on a mountain top, with the word ‘Perseverance’ below it in bold capitals.
A boring oak laminate desk runs down the middle of the room, and three boring-looking men sit around it. They are PAUL (the company CMO, a rollerblading enthusiast in his late 40s but looks older); TIM (his 2IC; in his 30s, sloppily dressed in a baggy tan suit); and CHAD (marketing coordinator, late 20s, wears a shark-tooth necklace and assorted bangles from a trip to Thailand pre-COVID). They are brainstorming ideas for Plantfest ’23, a major industry convention.
PAUL: [urgently] Come on boys, no idea’s a bad idea. What do we got? We gotta make a splash or we’re going to be screwed.
[A tense silence descends]
TIM: I still think we need to go with what we know. We’ve got some killer product and we just need to get it in front of the Mitre 10 and Bunnings reps.
PAUL: Yeah, but how do we do that? Everyone’s got a bloody rake to sell and we’re just going to be white noise to them unless we go big.
TIM: [timidly] What if we get Vistaprint to do a big run of mousemats?
PAUL: [frostily] Mousemats, Tim?
TIM: You know, you put your mouse on them, they ease friction or noise or whatever they do. [with growing conviction] Chuck a picture of a WeedWhacker on there, phone numbers for our regional sales guys, hand them out to the punters … hit ‘em at the point of decision, clicking around on their computers and they look down and bloody hello, ‘I should give Neville a call about some trowels’ …
PAUL: I don’t think that’ll cut it.
TIM: Nah but they’re nice mousemats, Paul. Thick neoprene, sublimated print – real luxury boys … $4, $4.50 a unit.
PAUL: [flicks his hand dismissively] What else do we got?
TIM: Stress balls?
PAUL: [exasperated] Tim, come on mate. It’s not bloody 2006.
[Gloomy silence. A chastened TIM doodles on his corporate-branded notepad. PAUL draws a three-stage diagram on the smartboard – boxes with arrows pointing to the next box. The leftmost box says ‘GARDEN GOODS’, the centre box says ‘MAJOR RETAIL PARTNERS’, the rightmost box says, simply, ‘$$$’]
CHAD: What if we buy a beer bike?
CHAD: When I was in Bali in 2018 I saw these sick bikes that they ride down the main street, you sort of sit around them and pedal while you drink …
PAUL: Chad …
CHAD: Nah mate, hear me out. So the misso and I were riding along and we got chatting to these German chicks and we were all pretty twisted ya know? Like 10 Bintangs deep haha. And we just got real friendly and they came to our wedding and that …
TIM: [massaging his temples] Chad …
CHAD: … and I don’t really remember what happened at the end of the night but I remember the beer bike and the friends we made along the way, bro. Sabine and whatever her mate’s name was. Just some real loose units, haha.
TIM: Mate, what does this have to do with Plantfest?
PAUL: Just walk us through it Chad. [ticking questions off on fingers] What’s the vision? Where do we get one? How much? What’s the ROI?
CHAD: Right, so I did some Googling and tell ya what, they’re not too exxy. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is going to be handing out mousemats or some cheap shit but not Apex Garden Supplies. You know how Ryobi rents out that nightclub? Same kinda deal. We’re gonna give ‘em an experience.
PAUL: Go on …
CHAD: So we schedule out the beer bike for meetings with sales reps. Get ‘em out of the Sofitel, load on a bunch of blokes, ride down the waterfront in Cairns, sink some Great Northerns. Everyone gets a bit loose, signs some POs and we’re bloody laughing.
TIM: Righto genius, where do we even get one?
PAUL: Timbo, let him have his say. This, yeah? [He points at a framed stock photo of ethnically-diverse hands layered in a circle, the word ‘teamwork’ beneath it.]
CHAD: Cheers Paul. So I’ve been on this AliExpress website and there’s this mob in China called Knownbees that does them. Look, I’ll show you.
[He laboriously connects to the Apex office WiFi (password: Guest) and pulls up an AliExpress page]
CHAD: [moving his cursor around] Right so this big fella, the one with the barrel down the front, that’ll take up to 15 people. Seats down the sides, driver in the middle …
PAUL: Dibs not, haha.
CHAD: Haha bloody too right mate. [He throws a shaka] So those guys are 12 and a half grand. Then there’s these little guys, eight seaters, they come in blue which is bloody spot-on for our Pantone. There’s all these technical specs down the bottom which I’m not totally across, but it’s got 30 cm pedals or some shit, optional umbrella, comes with a slicing disc. Corflute branding on the side, storage box at the back for the tinnies and the catalogues and that. MP3 player built in, get some Imagine Dragons cranking. She’s about $8k.
TIM: That’s a lot of bloody mousemats mate.
PAUL: [Tersely raises a hand to silence TIM] Let’s hear the young fella out. So it’s all about creating a memorable moment for the inside sales reps, have I got that right? Get Wesfarmers by the short ‘n curlies?
CHAD: [Rises from his boring desk chair and walks wordlessly over to PAUL’s diagram on the smartboard, tapping on the last square marked ‘$$$’] They think of Plantfest, they think of the beer bike. What they can remember from it anyway haha. And when they think of the beer bike, they think of Apex. Synergies, bruh.
PAUL: Fucken’ ka-ching.
What did you think of this story?