Nationwide’s director of marketing, Steve, confidently strolls toward the conference room at 7:45 on Monday morning. After being on vacation for three weeks, Steve is refreshed and excited to get back to work. As he opens the door, he is met by the sight of one of his managers, Jeff. Jeff is passed out on top of his computer and he’s surrounded by coffee cups, a spilled bottle of Advil, and an empty bottle of Baileys.
Steve: (panicked) Jeff, Jeff! Oh shit, are you alright? What the hell, man?
Jeff: (even more panicked) I’M FINE. I’M ALIVE. NO ONE ELSE DIED. IT’S OKAY. NO ONE WILL EVER DIE AGAIN.
Steve: What are you talking about? Why are you here?
Jeff: (looking around) Are you here alone? Oh fuck, it’s bad. It’s really bad, Steve.
Steve: Jesus, man. Tell me what’s wrong.
Jeff: Well, you know how we were tossing around the idea of running that ad where the kid dies during the Super Bowl?
Steve: Oh, fuck. Jeff, no we didn’t…
Jeff: It happened so fast. We heard about Esurance’s awesome rollout with Lohan and Cranston and knew we had to make a splash, so we just decided to scare the shit out of everyone instead of going with our original plan of a straightforward “America is awesome because we care about stuff” ad.
Steve: That was my idea. That’s all you need in a Super Bowl ad — America, puppies, tits, trucks, horses, or an obscure celebrity. I trust everyone’s judgement, but was the ad really that bad? We spent $12 million on it, $7 million on Toby Keith alone! Oh, God. I’m getting fucking fired. I’m gonna have to go work for fucking GEICO.
Jeff: Look man, I’ll just let you watch it yourself. It’s not my fault you decided to take a three week vacation to the Maldives at the worst time possible.
Steve: IT WAS PRICELINE’S DEAL OF THE WEEK LAST AUGUST. Show me the damn thing.
The color drains from Steve’s face and he begins to violently vomit into a waste bin. He finally composes himself as Jeff worriedly looks on.
Steve: WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? How are we going to fix this? Fuck. I just got this promotion.
Jeff: Check your email. It’s gonna be a long day.
Steve checks his phone and finds an email from his boss, Marcus.
Subject: ALL HANDS MEETING 8:15 a.m. MONDAY, MANDATORY
You better have your asses in the conference room NO LATER THAN 8:15 a.m. TOMORROW. Our #makesafehappen campaign has completely backfired and we need to do damage control.
VP of Marketing and Advertising
Employees begin filtering in as Steve and Jeff anxiously await their fate. Steve waves at Tim, the Mid-Atlantic regional sales director, who gives him a throat slash gesture. Jeff sees the vice president of inside sales and gives him a “What are ya gonna do?” shoulder shrug, which is met by an enthusiastic middle finger. Steve hurriedly pulls down the shades and begins pacing. Other employees begin filtering into the room.
Sean, Digital Media Manager: What’s this all about? Anyone know what’s up?
Jeff: You fuckwad. Do you know what your dumb little hashtag has done? The entire country fucking hates us.
Sean: We just wanted to get the discussion started! Do you know how many kids die from negligence every year?
Steve: Sean, if you don’t shut the fuck up in the next two seconds, I’m going to get negligent on your ass.
The door to the conference room bursts open and Marcus comes in, followed by a team of lawyers and a couple other vice presidents.
Marcus: Who is…(reads piece of paper) Sean?
Sean timidly raises his hand.
Marcus: This is 100 percent your fault. Why we even have a person in your position who makes the salary you do blows my fucking mind. Why in God’s name did you think that this was a good fucking idea? A hashtag? $12 mil down the drain for a Goddamn hashtag?
Sean: Well, sir, the initial return on investment from this campaign is great. It was trending on Twitter all last night.
Marcus: Yes. Yes, it was trending on Twitter. Here are some examples: “Hey, I would have run it with Lynch, but I died #makesafehappen.” Then there was “Pretty sure #makesafehappen is just an elaborate long con by M. Night Shyamalan to reboot the The Sixth Sense.” This is by far my favorite, though: “The Nationwide dead kid was supposed to play that shark that was acting like it was having a stroke during the halftime show, but he died #makesafehappen.”
Sean: Sir, those tweets represent the success of this campaign! THOUSANDS of people visited MakeSafeHappen.com during and after the Super Bowl last night. We started a dialogue and I think it was a smashing success.
Marcus: Sean, come here.
Sean walks toward him. Marcus picks up Sean by the neck, choke-slams him through the conference room table, and begins choking him out with his own tie. Sean is visibly concussed and Marcus is holding him up by the cuff of his shirt.
Marcus: DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS, SEAN? DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TRY TO BRING YOUR SOCIAL-BASED ECONOMY BULLSHIT INTO A COMPANY THAT DOESN’T NEED IT?
Marcus knees Sean in the face four times and throws him through the plate glass window into the hallway.
Marcus: Now…where were we? Oh, yes. You’re all fired. No severance. Don’t even think about asking me for a fucking reference letter. You have fifteen minutes to pack your shit and then LeRoy from security will be up here with a paintball gun. Fifteen minutes..