I’m a big fan of the old comedy duo Bob and Ray, and sometimes attempt to copy their style for one reason or another. The bit that follows is actually an homage to some dear friends of mine (one a fellow Red Roomer) who operate a couple of online businesses. One is a wholesale t-shirt operation and the other is a retail online site featuring spa products, including sparkle tees.
At any rate, and with deepest apologies to Bob and Ray . . .
Wally: Good evening, friends, this is your ace reporter, Wally Ballou, welcoming you once again to New Product Showcase, the show where new products are shown in cases. Joining us tonight is Clarence Marcoo, sales representative for Sparkle-Plenty, a t-shirt company. Tell us, Mr. Marcoo, how many different t-shirts do you sell?
Clarence: Actually, Wally, we don’t sell ANY tea shirts.
Wally: No t-shirts? But they’re sitting right there in our New Product Showcase, and I must say they’re really sparkly.
Clarence: Those? They’re not tea shirts, they’re coffee shirts.
Wally: Coffee shirts?
Clarence: That’s right, Wally. We did our homework when this company was started, and what we found was startling.
Wally: And that was?
Clarence: That all the competition was focused on tea shirts, so obviously that would have been a self-defeating way to go.
Wally: But the thing is—
Clarence: Yes, exactly, the thing is, Americans drink more coffee than tea, so here you have all these competitors focusing on tea shirts, a miniscule market, and here we are, sitting pretty as the one and only coffee shirt manufacturer in the good old US of A, and maybe the world. We’re checking on that.
Wally: But “t-shirt” doesn’t refer to tea, the beverage; it refers to the shape of the shirt when it’s spread out flat on a board.
Clarence: Why in god’s name would anyone do that?
Wally: They wouldn’t, but it’s about a shape, not a beverage.
Clarence: Are you sure about that?
Wally: Yeah, pretty sure.
Clarence: Damn! Well, that just blows my whole marketing plan to high heaven.
Wally: I’m sorry, but—
Clarence: Sorry doesn’t quite do it for me, thank you very much. We’re ruined!
Wally: Not necessarily.
Clarence: Oh, and why’s that?
Wally: You could still call them t-shirts.
Clarence: And face all that competition? I don’t know. Say, do those other guys know it’s not about a beverage?
Wally: I believe they do, yes.
Clarence: So I guess that let’s out taking them by surprise with that “shape” business you were talking about.
Clarence: We could have said something like, “Buy Sparkle-Plenty, the shirts that are shaped like the letter T when you spread them flat on a board.”
Wally: That IS a catchy phrase, but—
Clarence: Yeah, but too late.
Clarence: Then we’re screwed.
Wally: Well, why don’t you try—and this is just a suggestion, mind—why don’t you emphasize the sparkle. All those shirts in the case near blind me they have so much sparkle.
Clarence: That’s a thought. Might work. I’ll take it back to the owners. Let’s see, how about, “Sparkle-Plenty, the shirts shaped like you know what but all sparkly and stuff.”
Wally: I think you’re on to something there. And thanks for joining us on New Product Showcase, the show where new products are shown in cases. Tune in next week, folks, when we’ll interview Carlton P. Loogie, the Nose Whisperer. I know you won’t want to miss this one, ladies. Carlton has invented a device that, when inserted into your husband’s nose, turns those rasping snores into any one of ten popular melodies, including one of my personal favorites, “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window.” Goodnight, folks!