Damage Control

“Folks, we have a problem,” the ever concerned CEO said, leaning over a table and taking the time to carefully catch the eye of every single person around her.

“Oh no! What is it, boss?”

“Tone it down, Jenkins,” the CEO said, pointing a stern finger at the over zealous C-Suite newbie.  “I’ll let Hopkins explain. Take it away, Jim.”

“Thanks, boss,” Hopkins said, rising from his chair and straightening his tie.  “It appears the Perpetually Flaming Hula Hoop of Risky Fun is not as safe as first thought.”

Pictures of house fires and smoldering playground ruins filled the conference room’s television screen.  The assembled problem solvers were shocked.

“But we tested! We tested so much! I let a dog run through an abandoned orphanage still full of asbestos and discarded dolls and there were no incidents.  I know that dog well, too.  If it could have found a way to destroy that building it would have,” Jenkins said.

“Simmer, Jenkins,” the CEO interrupted.  “We need a plan.”

“Take to Twitter and let people know we will replace any damaged Perpetually Flaming Hula Hoop of Risky Fun if they call a certain number, but the number is just a constant loop of ‘press one’, ‘press two’,” advised the CIO.

“Hmm,” the CEO said, “let’s not open ourselves to social media backlash.”

“We could put ‘don’t @ me’ in the tweet.” The CIO countered.

“Keep it in mind.  Other ideas?” The CEO prompted.

“Let’s hold a contest.  A photo contest! The best picture of disaster wrought by the hula hoop wins a year’s supply of flame fuel refills,” Hopkins improvised.

“Ah, there we go.  Turn it into an art project!” The CEO liked the idea.

A slow tapping sound came from the far side of the table.  All heads turned to see what the enigmatic director of marketing was going to say.

The marketing director extinguished her cigarette against the rich mahogany table and let out one last puff of smoke.

“I didn’t think we were allowed to smoke in here,” Jenkins mumbled.

“Shush, Jenkins,” the leader of marketed silenced her colleague.  “We run the picture contest.  We run the twitter campaign.  But above all else, we make other hula hoops seem more dangerous.  Tomorrow, I’ll have the entire Eastern seaboard thinking plastic light hula hoops were made as a big eff you to the Patriots.  The West Coast will think they’re a conspiracy to rid the world of taco trucks.” The marketer paused to light another cigarette.  “I don’t even want to tell you what I’m going to the mid-west.  We’ll control this thing.  Don’t you worry.”

“Good. Go with it,” The CEO said.  Like the rest of the room, she was unwilling to question the marketer’s direction.  “Jenkins, see how you can help.  Dismissed.”



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