C/O Richard Soper, Managing Director:
I was going through customs at Aeroporto Porto a couple of days ago and in the line, (or ‘queue’, if you will), ahead of Me was what I took to be a typical, loudmouthed American tourist. She was blabbering away to her friend and slowing the whole operation down. I was just about to tell her to shut up and get on with lying to the customs agent because some of us had limousines waiting, when, first, I realized that she was British and b) I heard what she was whingeing about.
This is where your company comes in. She was complaining that Ron Heather wasn’t knighted for being a good brand-loyalist. I’m sure you’re familiar with the episode. One of your bus drivers refused to get behind the wheel of a vehicle with adverts against his particular brand; ie, Me. So this woman holding up about 80,000 people was upset that all you had done was to ensure that he wouldn’t have to drive buses with words that offend him on them.
But I’m writing to tell you not to listen to her. You did exactly the right thing. First of all, I don’t see that Ron did anything to be knighted for. He only did what I expect of all My brand-loyalists. He was loyal to My brand. (And anyway, “Sir Ron”? Sounds a bit too much like “Sirhan Sirhan” to Me.)
And you didn’t go all Australian and take the adverts off, either. Excellent. This way, both the “Me” brand and the “aMe” brand get a lot of publicity, and, as I’m sure you know, there is no such thing as bad publicity. To tell you the truth, I win either way. I’m the majority stockholder in Gawd, Inc. and I’ve got shares, in the form of My new Chosen People, the atheists, in the other brand. Win/win.
However, this is not to say that I won’t write a stern letter for publication in The Telegraphif I hear that Coca Cola-drinking employees refuse to drive buses with Pepsi adverts or that the bartender at My hotel is late for work because his bus driver prefers Kalmak to Boots.
I’m sure you’re on the same page with Me, here, but it must be said. Brands that I have an interest in not only can, but musthave preferential treatment. Other brands that I didn’t think to invest in when they were small, like Apple or Tampax or ITV, can go whistle.
Wish You Were Here,