Flaming Beauty by Matt Potter

No one around the long table wore a grin or a smile or even a slight smirk.
“How did it escape our quality control?” said Vivian, bristling beneath her Chanel suit and perfect make-up. “And who ordered an entire lake of the stuff?”
“You did, Vivian,” I said.
“The question was rhetorical, Robert.” Vivian sat down. “How was I to know it bursts into flame when you rub it into your hair?!”
An enormous dam of expensive shampoo – our newest product – foamed in the backblocks of the company’s manufacturing plant. It was too costly to dump. And would prove even costlier if we put it on the shelves of every supermarket in Australia.
“We’re always talking about niche marketing,” I said.
Twenty honcho heads swivelled in my direction.
“So market it to pyro-maniacal beauty contestants.”
Twenty honcho mouths gaped.
Okay, it was a long shot but who in that room wasn’t desperate to shift that shit? All our jobs depended on it. And maybe we could create retail history at the same time.
Jumping up, I grabbed a whiteboard marker. “What are some of the words and images we could use?”
Raven-haired, I wrote on the whiteboard.
Flowing, someone called out.
Volcano, said someone else. Lava. Changeling.
“I’m thinking meteors, I’m thinking lightning,” I said. “I’m thinking women with their hair on fire being extinguished by hunky firemen.”
Vivian raised an eyebrow. “What’s the slogan?”
I looked at all the faces around the table.
“Now you’re cooking.”


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Filed under Matt Potter

17 responses to “Flaming Beauty by Matt Potter

  1. (snort)

    And YOU are cooking. Hilarious story. Peace…

  2. Len

    great ending. well done.

  3. Randal Houle

    This was a fun read. Thanks.

  4. John Riley

    Hilarious. Turn your head into a star?

  5. This made me literally LOL.

  6. Oh Matt! Absolutely delightful!

  7. Thank you all – I have worked in social marketing (health campaigns and messages, etc) but never for-profit marketing … but the ideas are akin, and it can be very creative … and very silly. Am glad you have all enjoyed it.

  8. this is hilariously evil, matt potter! i thought for sure they would ship it out to a third world country, but you nailed the whole dynamic of corporate sales really well and made it fun!

    • Oh, I never even thought of the Third World as a dumping ground! So who is more evil then?! Ha ha – well, it was fun to write, and I must admit I did crack up mightily when I thought of the slogan.

  9. OK, so the best way to flog that shit to the Third World would be to bring Michael Jackson back from the dead to be the spokesperson. So maybe I am the ‘evillest’ after all!

  10. Kim Hutchinson

    Love this! I think I’ve attended that meeting….

  11. Nicely done critique! A s(ad) and atthe same time funny story. Thanks

  12. grey johnson

    Terrific tale, and a good send-up of both “beauty” and marketing.

  13. Al McDermid

    “Now you’re cooking.” That is so funny. Really great to smile all the way through a piece that ends with a laugh.

  14. Catherine Davis

    Wonderful. The acceleration at the end is perfect, as is the ultimate slogan. A very satisfying amusement which also speaks so smartly to the ravenous appetite of the commercial world.

  15. Pingback: Week #33 – Spontaneous combustion | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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