Rejected By The New Yorker

I recently submitted the following short humor piece, “Someone Working On It,” to The New Yorker for its Shouts and Murmurs section. It was rejected, but thanks to the miracle of blogification, you can read it anyway. Hope you enjoy…

“Someone Working On It”



Subject: Spill containment method branding 3.0

Hey Tony,

Really sorry JUNK SHOT and TOP KILL failed to move the needle, results-wise. Those were killer brands that could have put us both on the map, but hey, what are you gonna do? At least you didn’t get stuck with Containment Dome, which, I don’t need to remind you, was developed prior to your bringing Brandtacular on board.

Whatever. I’ve asked the guys in creative to take another shot at branding the next containment method. Yeah, I know, you haven’t figured out what the hell the next containment method is even going to be yet, but we like to be proactive. (I assume you’ve got someone working on that, right?) What can I tell you, we’re American, it’s in our DNA. (It’s also within our current scope of work—ha!)

So without further ado, here’s Leak Plug Branding Round 3 (Round 4 if you count that lame-ass Containment Dome—KIDDING!). Lots of good stuff here. Let me know what works for you:

BITCH SLAP. Sure, it’s a little aggressive, but it got your attention, didn’t it? Imagine your press conference after this solves the problem (you are working on that, right?), “We went down to the bottom of the gulf, and put a BITCH SLAP on that leak. Now everything aight.” Not only is it a nice follow-up to JS and TK, it takes a bit of the zeitgeist bubbling up around the BP brand right now, and turns it around.

BIG MUDDY SMACKDOWN. Obviously, this has great leverage if you go with another one of those mud methods. Also has nice regional appeal, and awesome licensing opportunities. Imagine the T-shirts! “BIG MUDDY SMACKDOWN—WORKS EVERY TIME!” (Alternate: BIG EASY MUDBUG MOJO.)

CHENEY SHOT. Retro throwback to Old Crankypants himself. “We’re gonna take that oil leak, and shoot that sucker in the face!” Halliburton connection makes it even sweeter.

MONEY SHOT. Will play big with 18-25 year old males. And imagine the possibilities if this one actually works (you do have someone working on that, right?)!

CLEANING UP TRANSOCEAN’S MESS SHOT. Okay, it doesn’t exactly sing, but litigation is coming, and it’s never too soon to start planting the blame seed in the old public consciousness garden.

OBAMA BUMMER. Stops the leak, and thus derails the Marxist agenda of permanently ending offshore drilling. Will play big with the birthers and the Tea Party crowd— hey, conspiracy theorists have to fill their Hummers somewhere!

JIMMY JAMJAM. Not exactly sure what this means, but got a great ring to it. Try it in a sentence. “We gave it the JIMMY JAMJAM.” See? Can always retrofit a definition later.

HIGH PRESSURE ULTRA-DEEP SUBSURFACE DIVERSION VALVE. Gotta be honest with you, not one of my favorites, but want to make sure we cover the spectrum for you. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and will be too dweeby/nerdy/geeky for the average Joe. Could appeal to the flux capacitor niche, but that seems too narrow for the occasion.

THE “XYZ CORPORATION” SOLUTION. Yep, I’m talking about selling naming rights to the operation. Think about the pitch—the once-in-a-lifetime (we hope—ha ha) chance to have your brand name associated with the winning solution to the greatest environmental crisis the Earth has ever seen (you are working on that aspect, right?)…talk about brand value! It would be like having your brand on Superman’s cape. Would have to be a single brand, and it would have to pony up big (Superman ain’t cheap). Also a nice way for you and the shareholders to offset the cost of this catastrophe (oops, poor choice of words—my bad).

There you have it, Tony. I think there are some real winners in there. Just depends on which direction you want to take it.

As I mentioned earlier, all of the above is within our current scope of work, but it also represents the successful completion of this phase of our agreement. I’ve gone ahead and attached an invoice for the remainder of what we’re owed. If you don’t mind, could you go ahead and walk this down to accounting and have them cut us a check toot sweet? Not that we don’t trust you, it’s just that…well…our comptroller is a real nudge for this kind of thing. You understand, right? Great!

Good luck with the leak (you do have someone working on that, right? Sure hope so. We’re good, but we’re not THAT good.).



PS—Tony, as a friend…get some sleep, you look like hell.


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3 Responses to “Rejected By The New Yorker”

  1. Hollywood Dick Says:

    Kill Spill?



  2. claudia deutsch Says:

    Talk about burying the lead! Forget the branding and the funny names. The best idea in this: how about a memo to Tony that says, hey, we know you’re under a lot of pressure from the Obama folks to withhold the dividend from your shareholders, something you clearly don’t want to do. Next thing, they’ll ask you to cut executive bonuses.
    But you can nip this thing in the bud. Since everyone’s concern is that you won’t have enough money to fix the leak and the lives it destroyed, why don’t you sell naming rights to the solution? How about the Goldman Sachs Leak Repairer? Those guys are in as much public doodoo as you are, and they’ll spend oodles to finally get their name associated with something tangible, that might actually do some good.
    I’ve cc’d Lloyd Blankfein on this. I’ll bet you hear from him shortly

    • crankster Says:

      I like your suggestion. Could be an entirely new piece. Not only that, but the finder’s fee on the naming rights should cover my bourbon costs for life (naturally, I’ll cut you in). HS

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