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Gentlemen, everyone knows the importance of your welcoming committee in Munchkinland. You’ve become nothing less than the Great OZ’s emissaries to the world, and your current advertising scheme reflects that. Maybe too well, in fact. DDB’s campaign has rehashed the Lollipop Guild welcoming routine time and time again. Always the little uniforms, the leg kicks, the state-sanctioned whimsy that put you on the map. Yet your sales have taken a turn and are now¬†consistently beaten by Oh Henry and Clark Bar. Your friends at DDB have taken a household name and made it a punchline in the candy industry.

Clearly what works in welcoming little girls who’ve just dropped out of the sky doesn’t work in magazine copy. At some point you’ve got to ask yourself what the people of OZ are asking themselves every time they see those old fashioned ads. Is there really any shortage of whimsy in OZ? Are these little men really saying anything we don’t all hear ten times before breakfast?

Now it doesn’t make a bit of difference to me if you want to rest on your laurels and let the traditional image of the singing, dancing Lollipop Guild continue. It’s your legacy, and they’re your stockholders. If you want to just get by in your little world, then by all means keep doing that. But if you’re ready to stop singing and dancing and start beating Oh Henry, then you need a modern campaign for the modern Ozlandian, a message of comfort and nostalgia. This is an opportunity to show your customers a simpler OZ, a relaxed OZ, an OZ that doesn’t scurry around the ankles of the big people but brings them down to your level.

In the artwork here, you see a man, an Emerald City doorkeeper. He’s sitting in the grass, enjoying his Lollipop Guild novelty-size lollipop, staring at the sky. Why is the man so at ease? Not because anyone ordered him to, not because anyone sang a song. No, he’s sitting, enjoying his lollipop because he needs a break from all that. He wants to get away from the hustle and bustle, the Witches, the Flying Monkeys. He wants to feel like time is standing still. Lollipop Guild Lollipops can give him that. The copy reads, “When was the last time you stopped to smell the poppies?”

Let’s face it. People don’t enjoy lollipops because they taste good. People don’t deal with this unwieldy slab of candy because they want to have fun. You want taste, you’re gonna buy a Clark Bar. You want fun, you’re gonna buy Pop Rocks. No, the draw of the lollipop is that it gives you an excuse to slow down… Lollipops are sticky. You have to be careful with them. They’re food as a TASK in a world where adventure itself has become commonplace. People take their time finishing a lollipop, and when they do finish, they’ve regained something. They’ve regained themselves. People sit, they eat their lollipops, and they remember a time when they weren’t plodding down the yellow brick road at the beck and call of some old man behind a curtain.

You can keep running the same splashy, fun-oriented ads you’ve always run and keep getting beaten by Oh Henry and Clark Bar like you have for the past three quarters. Or you could remind your customers and your stockholders about a time when lollipops mattered in the Land of OZ. It’s up to you.

Anyway, I have another engagement. Pete can fill you in on the details. Good afternoon, Gentlemen.

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NATHAN PENSKY is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing M.F.A. program at Mills College and has been published in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, MONKEYBICYCLE, and many others. He is an Associate Flash Fiction/Fiction Editor for the online literary journal JMWW, and a frequent contributor for the pop culture website PopMatters.

8 responses to “Don Draper Pitches to the Lollipop Guild”

  1. Nathan Pensky says:

    By the way, that would be Season 1 Draper…

  2. Becky Palapala says:

    I am so, so, so risking my literary life by not watching this show. I’m increasingly convinced.

    Like, I’m making myself irrelevant. I can’t even comment on this piece because I have no idea about Don Draper.

    I have seen Wizard of Oz though. One of my cousins is STILL terrified of flying monkeys. She has nightmares about them. She’s 34.

  3. Nathan Pensky says:

    Probably not risking literary-ness, but still you should get to getting. It’s amazing. And flying monkeys are forever terrifying.

  4. Simon Smithson says:

    “Is there really any shortage of whimsy in OZ?”

    This is when Draper would do the 25% furrowed brow thing he does.

  5. Nathan Pensky says:

    All are powerless against the Draper brow-furrow.

  6. Summer Block says:

    This happens to be great.

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