The Head of Ripoff Maximisation in British Gas called a meeting. The news that gas prices were going up 9.2% hadn’t been well received. Something had to be done. But what – that was the question.
Naturally, he did what any business executive worth their salt does in such circumstances. He called a meeting. Those invited assembled anxiously. It was clear this was a very serious situation as evidenced by the provision of chocolate biscuits. The Ripoff Maximisation Department was known as the most powerful section in the entire company with the potential to make or break careers, and no-one wanted to find themselves back at their desk on a Monday morning under a compulsory workfare scheme rather than getting their wages.
The Head of the department welcomed everyone to the meeting, and offered round the chocolate biscuits. This was very serious indeed.
“Now then. No point beating about the bush, taking the long way round rather than cutting straight to the chase as the crow flies. We’re getting rather a lot of bad publicity over the latest enhanced warmth insurance premium. How can we make sure that people see us as friendly group of people whose only concern is for people’s wellbeing rather than one who is only in it for the massive profits that we can squeeze out of poor people”
“…enhanced warmth insurance premium?”, Joe whispered to Bill
“Shhh….he means the price rises, didn’t you get the bloody memo?” Bill hissed
“Yeah, but that said that we were trying to squeeze as much profit as possible out of poor people”, replied Joe
“Exactly what I mean” boomed the Head of Ripoff Maximisation ” That is exactly our failure. People think that we are trying to get profit rather than provide them with a vital service. We simply cannot have that information leaking out. Remember what happened last year when we only raised our profits 9%? People thought that was our aim, rather than merely a happy coincidence of keeping them warm and cosy. Stuff and nonsense. This year, more warmth, more cosiness and at least a double digit profit rise is the order of the day. Win, win for all!”
Everyone stared around the room, shuffled and nibbled nervously on their chocolate biscuit.
Then a young vibrant upstarter pipped up with
“I know! Lets have one of those viral meme things that are all the rage. People love them, and if we do one of those they will love us. All we need to go is get a cute cat. Cats are cosy, cats are warm, cats are loved. We will be loved. All we need is a cat and get it up on facebook”
The Head of Ripoff Maximisation was blown away with this idea. This new intern of his was a fantastic addition to the team. “Brilliant idea!!! Phone Bob in marketing and get onto it straight away, our troubles are over”
“No. Cats.“, interjected the Shareholder Interest Liason Manager. “Definately no cats. Not even kittens. Our shareholders have a terrible allergy to cats”
“But we need cats, …cats are the internet, …it won’t work without cats”, pleaded the intern.
The Diversification and Equality Acceptance Team Manager echoed the Shareholder Interest Liason Manager’s words.
“No, I’m afraid that cats are entirely out of the question under our disability rights policy. We have a legal duty under the Equality Act to be inclusive and representative in all of our marketing. Allergies are a serious and frequently underacknowledged disability which can cripple health and wellbeing, not to mention causing great psychological distress. Many of our shareholders are elderly and the shock of seeing a cat, especially a more rotund version, in our marketing could cause severe shock and perhaps even death. We cannot possibly contemplate the prospect of a death on our hands and the consequent legal action that would bring”
Everyone nodded sagely then took another nibble of their chocolate biscuit.
“OK, look, we can still do this without cats. Cats are the most popular, but you do still get viral stuff with not a cat in sight. Its just not as good. But maybe a fluffy bunny? …or a funny parrot?”, said the intern, desperately trying to salvage his chances of one day getting paid.
“Workers” boomed the Head of Ripoff Maximisation. “I keep hearing all about the workers and people seem to want to support them all the time. Hmm, perhaps only one tho, lots of them together is never a good thing. A viral facebook campaign with a worker…and Britain, because everyone loves Great Britain- the Olympics, the Jubilee, the Wedding, the Baby. Britain and a worker, what more is there to love. That will do the trick. Get on to Bob in Marketing immediately and lets get this show on the road. I want it out there and on people’s pages by 9pm tonight”
The young vibrant upstarter phoned Bob.
“Please drop everything you are doing and immediately design a viral facebook campaign to get people to love us and not think about the speed that their power cards run out with. It needs to include Britain and a worker”
“Are you sure this is a good idea?“, Bob said. “I really don’t thi…”
“Definitely” was the reply. “Orders straight from the top.” and the phone went dead.
Bob sighed. Another late night at the office, but at least he had an office to go to, rather than shivering in the dole queue. He phoned his wife.
“Dear, I’m afraid I’ll be late again, something has come up”
A muffled sigh came from the other end. “I need you home already, you promised you would top up the powercard today and I’m eating cold beans by candlelight. Its freezing in here as well.”
“Erm, I wont be tooooo long. Maybe you could put on a jumper for now, dear?”
The phone slammed down.
With grave misgivings, Bob put together the highly viral image and emailed it off to the intern for distribution, before heading off to top up the powercard from the last tenner of the month and stock up on beans until payday.
And lo, a viral facebook post was born
Moral of the Story
On teh internetz, images of fat cats often go viral; no felines required.