Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chapter 45: In Which Katie's Advertising Campaign is Revealed!

Once Aunt Angela, Jonah, and her mother had been tucked into their cars and sent on their way, Eoin and Katie sat quietly in the front seat of the pick-up. Eoin started the engine, and the truck rumbled loudly to life. "Where to, Kate?" he asked.

Just as Katie was about to suggest they go to Lick's for a burger and some entertainment by sullen, singing teenaged employees, her cell phone rang. "It's Melissa," she said, and Eoin killed the noisy engine.

"Hey Melissa. What's up?"

"Katie!" Melissa's voice was loud. "I'm so glad I found you." Her voice was loud, urgent. "Listen, can you get to the office straight away?"

"What? It's nearly 8 o'clock! What's happened? Is everything okay?" Katie's mind raced.  She had had such an emotional day already; she couldn't take much more. Maybe Melissa was just calling to tell her that Glass Tiger was doing a reunion tour? She held her breath and hoped for good news.

"Yes, everything is fine. Amazing, actually! Your add campaign is all ready to go, and Rebecca wants us to implement the guerrilla marketing tonight!"

"Tonight? Really?"

"Yes! Paul and Mike and Erica and I are all down here, ready to help. Hurry up! Where are you, anyway?"

"I'm ..." Katie glanced toward her sister's temporary home. Where was she? She was in another world, a place where her sister was found and sober, where her family was reuniting, where emotions and expectations ran high and fast. She was somewhere exhausting. She could definitely use a break, and if that break involved running around in the dark, art-bombing the city? It sounded perfect to Katie. "I'm on my way."

Twenty minutes later Eoin pulled his big, rambling truck into the metered parking outside her building, taking up two spots.  "So what's the plan?" he asked, but Katie just took his hand and pulled him inside, eager to wow him with her art.

They met the group in the conference room. Melissa had been right -- everyone was waiting there, including Rebecca, dressed in black pants and a tight black turtleneck sweater. She clapped her hands when she saw Katie. "Excellent!" she said. "They won't show me the work. They said you needed to be here for the unveiling."

On the centre of the table was a lumpy cloth. "It's all under there," Erica whispered to Katie. "We worked so hard this weekend to get it done."

"Why didn't you call me in to help?" Katie asked, but Erica just shrugged.

"Melissa said you were busy with family stuff, and couldn't be disturbed," said Erica, and Katie glanced at her friend, who just smiled at her, her eyes warm with understanding.

"What's under here?" Asked Eoin, his hands reaching to yank the cloth off the table, but Paul gave his arm a smack.

"Not yet!" Paul admonished, and Rebecca whined, "But when?"

"After Katie gives her speech!" Melissa said, and suddenly Katie felt all their eyes on her. "Katie needs to explain her vision."

"Well..." Katie cleared her throat. "The assignment was to promote a new line of hotels in Southern Ontario. Comfortable, boutique hotels for the discerning but perhaps less-than-affluent guest. People who like unique, whimsical places, with comfort and charm. We wanted to promote these with a unique, whimsical ad campaign, so we came up with a few tools to convey this message around the city. Erica?" Katie raised an eyebrow at her colleague, who yanked the cloth off the table. "You'll see here a variety of tools to promote your hotels, Rebecca." Katie held up a couple of posters that said, Where will you sleep tonight? Under the writing was a picture of a cute, comfortable bed with a cocktail on the side table and pair of slippers on the floor beside it. The poster also had a QR code that would lead people to the hotel chain's website. "We'll put these up all over -- bathroom stalls, clubs, lounges, libraries, restaurants, community centres, museums, art galleries...all kinds of places. These," Katie held up a stenciled image of the same bed, "will be spray-painted on the sides of buildings, telephone poles, bridges ... anywhere we can get away with it!" The group laughed, and Katie felt the glow of their adoration. Eoin was smiling at her with pride. She blushed and reached for a set of smaller fliers on stiff cardstock.

"We'll hand these out at concerts and at bars and on the street --" They were handbill versions of the poster, only when they were folded along the dotted lines that were faintly drawn on them, they turned into paper airplanes, the QR code and slippers on the wings -- "And these..." Katie held up the final part of the marketing plan, and her heart swelled with pride. "These will go anywhere and everywhere." She passed them around -- they were miniature versions of the hotel, about three inches by three inches, tiny little buildings made of wood and paper. On their undersides it said, Where will you sleep tonight? with the same QR code. "We'll of course follow this up with a regular campaign in a month's time, with the same poster that gives the hotel's name." She took a deep breath. "So this is what we've come up with."  She looked at Rebecca, whose eyes were sparkling with delight.

"Oh, this is better than anything I had in mind!" She held one of the mini hotels up to the light. "This is genius! I can't wait to get started."

"We haven't told you the best part of all of this, Katie." Melissa smiled at her friend. "Rebecca has some really great news."

"Oh, that's right," Rebecca said, putting the tiny hotel back on the table. "We decided that we're going to add something to our promotion, something on our website, so when people follow the QR code they'll get taken to our site and learn that for every bed that's booked in the next year in our new hotels, we'll donate a portion of our revenue to homeless shelters in the area." She grinned at Katie. "It was Melissa's idea. I hope you like it."

"I do," Katie said, nearly speechless. Where will you sleep tonight? It was perfect. She gave her friend a grateful smile.

"Well, I have to say this is all really impressive," Eoin tossed one of the paper airplanes across the room. "It puts my work to shame, it truly does." Katie rolled her eyes at him, but she didn't correct him. This was her night, after all.

The entire group gathered up their supplies and headed out. Each took a part of the city to blanket with posters, flyers, and tiny hotels. Only Katie and Eoin were going to do the spray-painting, though Melissa had secured them a permit so they didn't have to worry about the police.

"I'm coming with you two!" Rebecca declared, and the three of them crammed into Eoin's truck and they drove around the city, leaving pink-and-green images of the cozy, comfy bed-with-slippers on nearly every bare surface in downtown Toronto.

At 5am Eoin drove the three of them out to the waterfront and they sat on the hood of the truck, sharing a box of Smarties, their hands covered in paint. Rebecca had insisted on climbing under a particularly difficult-to-access bridge, and she was nursing a sprained ankle. "That was so much fun," she said. "Where should we go tonight?"

"Tonight?" Katie could barely keep her eyes open. "Oh, I think we might be done with the spray paint."

"But surely the rest of the team didn't get all the posters or tiny hotels put out," Rebecca tipped a handful of Smarties into her mouth. "We should do those next!"

"I think we'll hire a team of minimum-wage teenagers to do that for us," Katie yawned. "Either that or I need at least a few days to recover. That was one long night."

"So!" Eoin leaned back and lay with his back against the roof, looking up at the sky. "Who's up for breakfast?"

"Me!" Rebecca crunched on the last of the Smarties. "I could really use some pancakes. On our way we could check on the fliers, make sure the posters got up in key spots."

"I don't know," Katie yawned again. It seemed wrong to go against the wishes of her client, but she was so tired her body was shaking. "I wouldn't mind getting to bed. After all, I have to work tomorrow. I mean, today."

You Decide!

The trio goes for breakfast, on the way checking up on the postering teams


Eoin and Katie drop of Rebecca at a pancake place so they get go home and get some rest.


  1. Breakfast. This is to balance out Cyndi's inevitable vote for Eoin and Katie to go to bed for some hanky-panky.

  2. What? Me? Never! I was going to vote for breakfast, as well. Of course, what they do in the privacy of their booth at IHop is their business...

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