* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

I, the Enlargened, Crunchy Product

11 April 2002
George is rippled, with a flat underside.

To start by, let me illustrate my case with a letter that I received some weeks ago:


I am desperately in love with one of my co-workers, and am trying to make her notice me "in that way" too. We have worked in the same office for some years now, and have become extremely close in that time. I have always held a torch for her - she is very lovely - but as I was married, never acted on it. Now I am separated, and would dearly love to make a move on her. The problem is that, having known me for so long, I don't think she could think of me as more than a friend. XXXX, how do I make myself appear new and special to her? Would pheromone sprays help?

Jeremy C

Obviously, pheromone sprays would never help in this situation - who wants to pull a man who has the scent of randy donkey bollocks hanging about him? But this is a serious problem. How does one repackage the old parcel into a new, enticing vision?

Let us look to the major chocolate manufacturers in the UK, who faced a similar problem at the start of the 1990s. Chocolate consumption had reached saturation point in the UK, due in part to the invasion of American fast-food restaurants which had turned the nation into lard-gobbling massive-arsed cretins who would eat anything. Good for the consumer, who had the choice of hundreds of different chocolate at their disposal; bad for the manufacturers who had to find ever-new ways of grabbing the attention of the lardy bastard customer.

Relaunching entirely new products was risky, as people favour what they know and trust (see Ch.9 "Branding and You"). The manufacturers realised that consumers were more likely to buy a product which they were familiar with, but which had been slyly altered in some way to provide both security and novelty, rather than an unknown and potentially dangerous product.

This is the lesson for Jeremy C, and for any of you who hoping to grab the attention of those who already know you - that cute boy in accounts, your boss, your maiden aunt. You are the product - by simply altering your lifestyle choices subtly, you will find yourself desired by people who previously thought that you were dull as mud.

Which alterations to make though? Well, which did the chocolate makers use? There are 6 fail-safe ways of making old chocs seem new, and they'll work for mankind too:

1. Make it orange/mint/honeycomb

These are the safest flavour changes to make, and are employed on a regular basis. Some deviants have messed about with coffee and coconut, but the ensuing sales resulted in them being taken out the back and shot later. How about you then? If mint's yer thing, a quick body rinse in mouthwash should give a minty aroma all day long which can be supplemented by breath-mints. Orange: eat satsumas and rub yourself with the peel. Honeycomb is more difficult, but if you buy some from the local beekeeper you can dip your fingers in it and spread the sticky sweetness about all day (also see No.2). The aim is not all-pervading mint/orange/honeycomb, but a mere waft of it which will result in your desired one/consumer to say - "There's Johnny - but...minty!"

2. Make it crunchy

Achieved by air-bubbles and puffed rice in the confectionary business; achieved by bubble-wrap and cornflakes for you. The novelty here is noise, a new and exciting crunchy sound which lies in your wake as you march to the photocopier. A healthy mix of cornflakes and bubble-wrap in your shoes should give you all you desire, although the crunch mix may have to be replaced on a regular basis. Not good for attracting the attention of the hard of hearing, although placing sheets of bubble wrap under your regular clothing will provide textural satisfaction.

3. Make it dark/light

Generally a safe bet in chocolate (see Kit-Kat White, Dream etc) but not so much for you. Admittedly this approach has been tried for some decades with the use of tanning products and other cosmetics, but confectioners rely on more severe changes in hue than a fortnight in Tenerife will provide. If it is unlikely that your workmates will find the sight of you blacked/whited-up novel yet comforting, try another approach.

4. Make it big

Excellent results can be achieved here if your consumer only sees you on CCTV (ie. you are a prisoner/receptionist/mugger). By standing extremely close to the camera you will give the impression of added size and value. When the consumer is able to see you more clearly in this way they will appreciate previously-unseen facets of you, ie. your pores. In an office environment, alternative methods of "making it big" include platform shoes, oversized clothes, padded underwear, the "foam hands" found at football games and, for ladies, the final stages of pregnancy.

5. Make it small

Far more difficult than No.4, this may require ingenuity. For CCTV, simply standing very far away from the camera is all that is needed. For direct encounters, the following may be considered: extreme weight loss, removal of some interior organs, (ladies) strapping breasts down, shortening tibias through medical operations. Wearing black to appear slimmer is a pansy's trick and fools no-one.

6. Make it seasonal

Better to choose one season and stick to it than change with every minor occasion and look like a fucking schizoid. Everyone does Xmas - how novel is running around waving mistletoe like a demented harpy? Easter is more unusual but prone to difficulties - dressing in pastels may be attractive, but dressing up as a giant papier-mache egg is not.

These are the confectioner's tricks of the trade - use them wisely. With a new, relauched you, donkey pheromones will be a thing of the past as you are gloriously consumed by your market audience.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
10 November 2003. George writes: Dead beat
20 October 2003. George writes: Shortening
29 September 2003. George writes: Manhattanites are Cleavage-Starved
11 September 2003. George writes: How to Bring Us in Line With the Future
18 August 2003. George writes: Slashtastic
28 July 2003. George writes: Underground Independent Small Press Comic Fight Club
7 July 2003. George writes: Careering
16 June 2003. George writes: Choose your own adventure
26 May 2003. George writes: Revelations
8 May 2003. George writes: Picture Perfect
14 April 2003. George writes: MetaPirate
24 March 2003. George writes: Preparation X
3 March 2003. George writes: F of x
13 February 2003. George writes: Three is the magic number
23 January 2003. George writes: Recorded Delivery
30 December 2002. George writes: Meat Bingo or Death
12 December 2002. George writes: Royal Inquisitor
21 November 2002. George writes: This Clown is Cancelled
28 October 2002. George writes: Shopping with God
3 October 2002. George writes: SaferSpoony
16 September 2002. George writes: Supercalanthropomorphicexpealidocious
26 August 2002. George writes: The deformed animal menagerie
5 August 2002. George writes: Plaice that Funky Music, Whitebait
15 July 2002. George writes: Safe as Houses
24 June 2002. George writes: Two Lions (DB/DS)
30 May 2002. George writes: Series 8
9 May 2002. George writes: Market Stall
11 April 2002. George writes: I, the Enlargened, Crunchy Product
18 March 2002. George writes: Cakexterminator
21 February 2002. George writes: Fiction Suit
28 January 2002. George writes: Spunk Gunk
31 December 2001. George writes: Fairytale of New Pork
10 December 2001. George writes: Circular
15 November 2001. George writes: A Man With No Ass Is No Man At All
22 October 2001. George writes: One Night in Heaven
27 September 2001. George writes: Uncut
3 September 2001. George writes: Porn Pants
9 August 2001. George writes: Names of the Roses
19 July 2001. George writes: No Fun Here
21 June 2001. George writes: All Your Elections are Belong to Us
28 May 2001. George writes: Pierced as Fuck
3 May 2001. George writes: My Lovely Horse
9 April 2001. George writes: Eight Hundred and Forty-Three
12 March 2001. George writes: Kill 'Em All
19 February 2001. George writes: Formal
25 January 2001. George writes: Sticks and stones
11 January 2001. George writes: A Thought on Morality
11 December 2000. George writes: You can't put that into a soufflé
13 November 2000. George writes: Lyrical Genius
19 October 2000. George writes: Wet wet wet wet wet
25 September 2000. George writes: Built on an Indian burial ground
31 August 2000. George writes: This Way
31 July 2000. George writes: Runt of the Litter

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