Adventures in Marketing


| November 13, 2002

Adventures in Marketing, Jim O'Laughlin, La Petite Zine
'I was a graduate student taking out loans to cover tuition,' explains Jeffrey Smyth/Chris O'Malley/Frank Griffith in the literary journal La Petite Zine, 'so who was I to turn down 30 bucks and a sandwich?' Who can't relate? We've all sold CDs, clothes, and bodily fluid in a desperate attempt to stay financially afloat -- but Jeffrey/Chris/Frank has fun in the process. His friend Karen, a marketing focus group organizer, calls him up when she's having a hard time filling her quota, and Jeffrey/Chris/Frank gladly dons whatever persona is necessary to pocket the cash: a Gillette razor user, a watcher of a Boston newsmagazine, an avid listener of HIT98. . . 'Sure, Karen,' he says, 'Put me down as a senior math major. Call me... Brian Taylor, would that work?' Then, he goes to the focus group, and gets paid to distort their data. 'So, you can thank me, Jeffrey Smyth, drinker of between six and twelve Coors Lights a week, for the fact that we now have 'Miller Genuine Draft Light' instead of 'Miller Lite, Genuine Draft.' Despite my vow to keep quiet I had said, 'You can lighten something strong, but if you start with something light, how much better can it ever become?' About a year later, I saw the beer on the shelves.'
--Abbie Jarman
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