Starting Monday, all major retailers will rotate the stock on their shelves so that each product is only displayed for three hours. Items are then removed with no notice of when they might reappear. Manufacturers and retailer Web sites will also comply and remove products after 180 minutes. Items not for sale at the current moment will not be searchable or subject to a wrenching plea to the stock boy to get some from the storeroom since "we only have three diapers left."
"This will greatly simplify the advertising business," says Chief Eco/Bio/Psycho Officer of PHD Matt Seiler. "Rather than have to figure a clever way to worm our way into the emotional betawave or whatever that part of the brain triggers, 'I can't live without one of those...' now all we have to do is say 'If you want this beer you better get your ass down to the Stop and Shop between 11 and 1 on Saturday.'"
Retailers, at first reluctant to incur the substantial manpower cost of constantly restocking shelves, were convinced by master black belt arm twister Michael Kassan that the creation of artificial shortages could increase their profits. "Look at what happened when gas prices went up. It is the same model," Kassan might have told Over the Line but didn't. "If I have five kids and need milk, I don't care what the grocery charges, I'm going to get that milk since I can't be sure when it will come back on sale again."
"This finally solves the worry about how to measure the effectiveness of an ad if the viewer/user/listener/reader doesn't take action immediately," says Dave Morgan, who also says his Next Big Thing will be So-Big-That-You-Won't-Believe-It. "Now, if you don't take an action, you are kinda SOL."
"These ads will write themselves so it is a matter of time before all the copywriters are eliminated in favor of software that will generate the 'On Sale ONLY from x to x' ads and machines will insert them in the media optimized to the hour designed to most frighten the consumer into going and standing in line for six hours before the store opens," laments author and humanities proponent Jeff Einstein. "Not to mention that trying to calculate when the ads will run will become an addiction unto itself."
"This DOES NOT mean the end of branding," says Wenda Millard, a chef on one of the Martha Stewart TV cooking shows. "Big brands still need to deliver a brand message in branded media environments so that brand-conscious consumers can have brand recall and brand affinity. I know I'd said it is all about the food, but it's really all about the brand. Besides, who has time to run down to the store six or eight times a day?"
The speculation of the three-hour on-sale strategy has lifted nearly all parts of the economy. Consumers are rushing out to buy second and third refrigerator-freezers and are adding additions on to their houses so they'll have some place to put all the stuff they'll horde between sales. This has resulted in increased home equity borrowing and the sale of larger cars to hold a larger volume of shopping bags.
The ANA, initially reluctant to back a plan that will most certainly result in smaller agencies, has reversed itself and now takes credit for jumpstarting the entire economy. A blog post by Bob Liodice supporting the three-hour plan was backdated to October 2008.
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