Monday, August 08, 2005

Outside the Box

I went over to Katie's office to show her some copy I'd just written. While I was there she asked for my comments on a postcard she's designing. It's a tough one.

The card is supposed to serve as an all-purpose event invitation shell. It is to be used by more than 40 alumni clubs for everything from lectures to theater evenings to dinners. It has to look inviting, and it can't bland, but neither it can it be too specific.

Katie has come up with the clever tagline, "We're saving a seat...for you." This should cover just about any event, except those at which everybody would be required to stand all night, but when your age demo skews heavily to 60+ this happens rarely.

She wants to surround it with images of empty seats in theaters, banquet rooms, lecture halls, and so forth.

This sounds easy, but it's not. Finding the right seats in the right settings, photographed and styled properly takes some doing.

I tried to be helpful, but as we talked it over and looked through online libraries of stock photography I couldn't resist pondering how the tenor of copy might change if we used pictures of:
  • The Last Supper
  • the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey
  • Lincoln's box at Ford's Theater
  • the electric chair at Sing Sing
  • a deck chair from the Titanic
  • a set of gynecologist's stirrups
Why not offend as many people as possible with a single print piece? It would be far more efficient than my usual practice of pissing off trustees, major donors, and high-strung volunteers one by one.


goblinbox said...


The gyno stirrups would certainly make me sit up and notice, if I received such a postcard in the snailmail! I believe I would probably mutter, "What the hell?" out loud, even.

Jen said...


A dentist's chair
A seat in a paddy wagon
A dominatrix's bondage chair

Boy, the possibilities are endless, aren't they? Thanks for providing me something amusing that I'll probably think about for days!

Stacy said...

A Toilet?....Nah!

Rabbitch said...

Oh. My. Dog. I would buy a box of those party invitations. You know, the wacked ones, not the boring ones that will be like all tasteful and such.

Ever think of a marketing sideline?

birdfarm said...

I think you should use the coronation chair idea. Seriously. It's more interesting (less generic) than what you described, and implies that the invitee is an honored guest. (I mean, jeezuz, who finds an empty seat in a banquet room appealing? has anyone ever been to a banquet that wasn't just incredibly dull and uncomfortable?)

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I, too, vote for offending the masses. ;-)

I'd buy those party invites too, if they were available. Not that I have many parties (A) or (B) any that require more seat than what is already in your pants, but, hey, someone else may entertain more than I.

Anonymous said...

I used to work fundraising from I think the electric chair is a fabulous idea! Very fitting for their view of invitations from us development folks.

Anonmous said...

I cast my twisted vote for the Electric Chair @ Sing Sing, complete with the little metal beanie and the sponges...

Rabbitch said...

Dude, you been tagged. Check my blog.

Sorry if you hate it, you can choose to not answer, but I find you very interesting and so chose to tag you.

Anonymous said...

Franklin, darling! I am utterly devastated that we were unable to meet in class. You must have had the Friday class - I was in the 6 hour Estonian Lace class on Saturday. I can now Nupp with the best of them.

Were you in attendance at the fashion show - if you could call it that - on Friday night? It seemed to me to be a large collection of "What Not to Wear", especially for the... ahem... oh, hell, the fat women - of which I am one. And what the hell were those little gonad looking things adorning that one shawl - how long do you think it would take one of my cats to eat one of those... and then later be barfing it up on my couch?

Oh well, at least I didn't do any major damage in the market. I did score some Suri Alpaca and some silk/camel - both laceweight and sone wonderful DK alpaca for a Highland Triangle.

Hope you are having a blast - I know I did!!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for your full report on Stitches.
-- Carol S.

Anonymous said...

Carrying the toilet idea one step further....a potty chair? Most university poobahs seem to have less wit than the average two-year-old?
Franklin, you mean you won't be attending the Illinois State Fair? Looking at the butter cow and chomping down on cozy dogs? Heckling the Redumblicans on their special day? Wallowing in nostalgia when your favorite monster rock band from the 80's plays the Grandstand (yeah, I have Cheap Trick tickets)?

Unknown said...

You said:
The Last Supper
the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey
Lincoln's box at Ford's Theater
the electric chair at Sing Sing
a deck chair from the Titanic
a set of gynecologist's stirrups
Why not offend as many people as possible with a single print piece

OMG! I think I am going to wet myself laughing! SO FUNNY!

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