MARKETING SECRETS REVEALED
Article by Sid Suckup - freelance journalist
The latest buzz in the marketing world is the success of what is known in the trade as "product alchemy".
Most people would consider it an impossible task to sell products on the back of what is close to slave labor in a manufacturing environment that has a King Kong sized carbon footprint, however it is these kind of challenges that are meat and drink to the marketing gurus of our time.
In a rare and exclusive interview with Graham Greenspin, I can now share with you some of the insider secrets of Mao's Exporting Co-operative CEO.
Suckup: First, let me say what an honor and a privilege it is to be given the opportunity to interview you Mr Greenspin.
Greenspin: You can cut out the brown-nosing - just get on with it.
Suckup: Of course. Can you tell me... what was the primary goal for setting up Mao's Exporting Co-op?
Greenspin: To make money you dipstick, why else? We can turn crap into solid gold. Next!
Suckup: Erh... Quite. Let's cut to the chase then. How exactly do you convince people to buy products that have so much blood, sweat and soot associated with them?
Greenspin: It's quite simple. First, we set up a co-operative. This tactic is fundamental, since the term 'co-op' has connotations of participation and joint ownership - a sense of belonging to a club or large family if you will. You win their implicit approval by giving them a little red membership card to get their buy-in, and then the stupid bastards will defend you to the death irrespective of whatever unethical stunts you might pull. Also we are designated as a 'not for profit' organization which people often interpret as us being some kind of charity, whereas all it means is that I can pay myself a huge salary with perks such as first class travel and a nice fat expense account.
Suckup: I see. So how do you hide the fact from your members that you source things from sweatshops in Asia?
Greenspin: It's simple. If you give them a glossy brochure with lots of environmental bullcrap and lecture them on how to be 'environmentally friendly', then they quickly overlook the fact that most of the products that they're buying have a Made in China label hidden away somewhere. People see what they want to see and what it suits them to see - 'End of'.
Suckup: Exactly how much of your product range is imported from third-world countries?
Greenspin: We're off-shoring about 99.9% of the manufacturing so all we need here are shiney eco-friendly stores - and we also produce catalogues that are made out of recycled paper. In fact the catalogues are about the only thing that we don't actually import - obviously there's been an oversight that I need to look in to.
Suckup: So, basically your marketing tactic is to avoid anything to do with poverty, sweat-shop labor and the like?
Greenspin: Just the opposite. We regularly run scholarships and other schemes that show us helping the impoverished in the third world, particularly Africa. All this is done with great fanfare of course and it distracts the customer from the poverty of the people who are actually making our products. It's a simple 'smoke and mirrors' trick - of course if we highlighted poverty in China then even our dumb-as-shit customers might spot the irony - as if it wasn't already ironic enough that sweat-shops in China are indirectly sponsoring the poor in Africa.
Suckup: About the quest... (sound of cellphone ringtone) Excuse me, I forgot to turn my Iphone off.
Greenspin: Oh, and by the way, when you were high-fiving the staff at your local cell phone retail store, there were workers in China that make those things at the Foxconn factory commiting suicide by throwing themsleves off the top of the building.
Suckup: Yes I heard about that, but I was told that it was because they felt so ashamed that they couldn't complete enough orders to meet demand - they take failure very personally apparently.
Greenspin: What the f... I'm starting to believe that I've been giving people way too much credit...
Suckup: Eh? Anyway, changing the subject - how do you decide where to place all your nice new eco-friendly stores?
Greenspin: Up to now that's been pretty simple. We just locate the most popular Stellarbucks Coffee bars and stick up a new store nearby. You need to remember that most of our customers can be compared to holograms that simply reflect the latest fashionable life-style statement - and we target this group in particular as there's very little chance of them actually doing any thinking for themselves. It could be that we even expand our stores to include a Stellarbucks or possibly produce our own brand of organically sourced latte - if it's still in fashion that is.
Suckup: Most excellent. I realize that we've run over the time allocation. Thank-you so much for giving up some of your valuable time to this humble journalist Mr Greenspin.
Greenspin: Whatever. You can piss off now as I've got a call-girl waiting on $200 an hour that requires my urgent attention.
## END OF INTERVIEW ##
WORKING CONDITIONS IN CHINESE FACTORIES
Article by our correspondent - Gavin Gullible
I was privileged to be allowed an interview with some workers in the Mordor factory that lies on the outskirts of Beijing where I met Noh Phun and her sister Wan, and was heartened to discover that the stories about sweat-shop labor seem to be greatly exaggerated.
As I don't speak any Cantonese (the best I can manage is ordering a #38 and #62 at my local restaurant - the Chinese/Australian "Chow Chunder Down Under") I was kindly provided with an interpreter from the local communist party office that volunteered to help.
Translating very slowly, he explained that Noh worked an 8 hour shift five days a week, and did volunteer work on her days off at the local soup kitchen and was a member of the local Christian choir. He explained that Noh's hobbies were Bikram yoga, aerobics and watching westerners eating at her favorite restaurants - apparently she felt sorry for them having to eat so much in order to stop their oversized clothes from falling off.
Asking about her age, I was astounded to find that Noh was 23 years old, when, in fact, she had the complexion of a fourteen year-old. The official informed me that it was due to the immense care that they take over the diet and exercise regimen of the workers.
I left the factory in high spirits to report back to my sponsors, MECCA High-5 Deals, that the high standards they set for the treatment of overseas workers is being more than met.
Upon arriving home I discovered that one of the workers at the factory had secreted away a present for me in my bag. What a kind thought! It was a sweatshirt with the slogan "Phuk Yoo" emblazoned on the front. I'm not sure of the actual translation but it's probably the name of the company song that they proudly sing at 4.00am every day before they start work.
## END OF REPORT ##