Pitch Meeting

Genesis of Genius — Belts With Holes are Dead: The True Story of the Greatest Ad Campaign Ever Conceived By Man

In one possible dystopian future the fall of man was brought about not by a nuclear holocaust or alien invasion, nor by a biological agent unleashing a zombie plague or a global economic collapse, but rather by an event so mundane, so random, so seemingly inconsequential that not even the wisest of men could have predicted it. This is the world of belts with holes are dead. A world ended when the last belt with holes suddenly disappeared from our planet earth. A hellish nightmarescape where the ability to keep one’s pants up even if they are too large is no longer an option for most. The rich seclude themselves in future belt enclaves where they live in relative luxury and wear whatever size pants within +/- two sizes they desire while the poor live in squalor, suffering from constant pants droppage or doing anything they can to just get by. The lowest of these, the so called “below the knee cutters” are the worst off by far. Their misery was so great that they actually took scissors to every pair of pants they owned and cut them off below the knees. Sick I know, do not read on if you are faint of heart. The only hope left are the so called Pioneers of Future Belts. Will they arrive in time to save our once beautiful planet and usher in a utopian paradise where everyone, regardless of means, can choose to wear whatever pants they want, no matter the waist size or inseam length? These stories represent the collected works of just some of the people who lived through those dark times. Pray their future does not become our own.

The Chubb Group, LLC

Chubb Group headquarters, Peoria, IL, Sungazer conference room, 2nd floor, rm. 3221

Brainstorming session for next entry in the fashion focused “…….are dead” ad campaign series.

Managing director, fashion ads- Debbie Smitz, Creative director: Tod Smeels, Vice President of new campaigns: Tommy Thornton, Executive Vice president of marketing: Katy Messrs, and 22 additional full time mid and senior level employees — fashion ad division, The Chubb Group

“Listen up people. You all know how much this ad campaign means to the Chubb Group. It has been our number one source of revenue for the past six months and to be quite honest the only reason we are all still employed right now.” Debbie paused, glanced around and saw the looks of concern that were apparent on the faces of nearly everyone present. Whoa, slow down Debster, there is honest and then there is too honest, she thought to herself. Shaking her head briefly as if to clear the cobwebs from her mind she continued, “It is no secret how important the ……are dead campaign is to our very survival as an advertising business.” She paused again and took a deep breath, the room was quiet, politely listening to her words yet she could tell they were not yet fully engaged but she had done her part and would have to be satisfied with that. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Tod stand and begin to make his way to the front. “Tod is going to say a few brief words next. I advise that you listen to him closely. His guidance will be key when we break up into teams and start the formal brainstorming process.”

Debbie stepped down from the stage and handed the mic off to Todd Smeels as he bounded up the stage. Even though he had just turned 30 he still had the energy of a 19 year old. He said it was just in his nature to act young and be energetic, the constant runny nose and white flaky substance often visible around it argued for a different reason. In reality in was a combination of things, mostly it was the huge amount of cocaine he did on a daily basis at his desk and in the 3rd floor mens bathroom, furthest stall from the door, but partly because it was just in his nature to act young.

“Listen up fellow Chub Clubbers.” He paused as usually that line got at least a giggle. “Nothing. Come on people lighten up. Get loose. This is your time. The big time. It is now or never. If we don’t get this done we are done. Do you understand that?” His grip tightened on the podium and beads of sweat had begun to appear on his forehead. “You will be broken up in to teams of four. You will be given exactly four pens, unlimited access to paper, and no bathroom breaks.” Again he paused expecting laughs, again he got nothing. “Geez, tough crowd.” A few awkward seconds later he continued, “alright take this stuff to your respective team rooms, you have one hour starting”, he paused for effect, “now.”

The teams slowly coalesced into groups, grabbed their designated materials and got to work. Soon the room was nearly empty as each scheduled team made their way to their assigned room. There was however one straggler who remained, he sat in the back in a chair pulled off to the side, alone. Tod looked at him, stared directly at him. At least he would later swear that he did stare at him to anyone who would listen. By then the lonely stranger in the back had become a legend but for now he was simply a man apart.

Soon the hour ended and the room was filled with anticipation as the big reveal was about to begin. What would be the winning idea? It didn’t take long for things to go bad. It genuinely seemed as if their would be no winners that day. The pitches were awful, really terrible and everybody knew it. “Sweaters are dead”, yelled out team tiger, are you fucking kidding me thought everyone else, “tube socks are dead” was spoken without much enthusiasm by team what’s up, and the reaction of the crowd was even less enthusiastic than the pitch itself. On and on it went, each pitch getting worse than the last until the final team stood and barely whispered their pitch “light jackets are dead?” in a questioning tone. That’s when everyone knew they were done, for a pitch asked is a pitch something or other.

Suddenly the lonely man in the back rose. The entire room turned to look as if drawn by some force they could not explain. Later each person in attendance was asked to describe the man. All said something different. To some he looked like their granddad, to others their best friend from college, one person said he thought the man was a spitting image of a young Wilfred Brimley (the oatmeal guy and you’ve got diabetes pitchman), a few could give no description at all. No matter how much they disagreed on the the physical details of the man himself they all agreed what happened next. He opened his mouth and spoke. What he said was simple, yet it was profound. He did not speak the words with voice raised, or in a whisper. He did not emphasize any particular part nor did he deemphasize anything either. He simply spoke the words as if he said them everyday, as if he were having a normal everyday conversation like you or I might have a hundred times a day. This is what he said….Belts with holes are dead.

For a few heartbeats at least you could hear a pindrop as everyone tried to process what they had just heard. A light bloomed in each of their minds, their pulses quickened, they began to murmur, and then to yell, and then to scream. Yes, yes, yes they chanted over and over and over. The genius of it, the brilliance. Why had they not thought of it sooner? No person in that room would ever hear a greater pitch for the remainder of their careers and as the cheering reached its crescendo the man nodded ever so slightly once than walked slowly to the front of the room and out the doors to the right of the stage. Just like that he was gone, and he would never be seen at Chubb group headquarters again. Legend has it he was never seen by any living human again. The tale says as soon as he walked through those doors he ascended in to heaven where God greeted him personally with a great handshake and a smile and a question, “you got any ideas for a book? this whole Bible thing is totally played out”

Written by

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store