The ap­peal of an in­flat­able go­rilla

The Covington News - - Front page -

Dur­ing grad­u­ate school, I had to take a mar­ket­ing course — an in­sipid class that I hated com­pletely and thor­oughly. Yet, de­spite that forced march, I must con­fess my de­mented fond­ness for au­to­mo­tive adve r t i s e - ments. The var­i­ous dealer ads fas­ci­nate me, even if I don’t un­der­stand how they can pos­si­bly lead to in­creased sales. Maybe if I’d paid more at­ten­tion in class, I might un­der­stand some of the in­san­ity that goes on down at the car lot. I un­der­stand the hot­dogs and ham­burg­ers, the flags and ban­ners, and the give­aways: that’s all easy. But I don’t un­der­stand why so many auto dealers feel the need to stick in­flat­able go­ril­las on top of their deal­er­ships. The high­div­ing mule act that was mak­ing its way around North Carolina car dealers in the 1980s made more sense than that. Every­one wants to see a mule dive off a fifty-foot plat­form, but who buys a car just be­cause some­one pumps up a gi­gan­tic ape? Well, I sup­pose lots of peo­ple do, judg­ing by all the big mon­keys I see.

Who was the first per­son to use a gi­ant, in­flat­able mon­key as a sales gim­mick, and where in the world did he find some­one who could sell him one? This ques­tion vexes me, and I don’t even know where to find an an­swer. Maybe there’s some se­cret “How to sell cars” book that has all the facts, in­clud­ing the ad­dresses of all the world’s in­flat­able mon­key providers. That would ex­plain so much. There’s no short­age of se­crets in the au­to­mo­bile sales pro­fes­sion, so adding in a chap­ter on in­flat­able simian sales staff is just a nor­mal course of busi­ness.

Well, I’m a smart boy, and I can learn from sales pros. The next time I want to con­vince my wife to let me do some­thing, I’m go­ing to rent an in­flat­able go­rilla, pump him up, and stick him on our roof. I’ll take my wife out­side, slap a hot­dog in her hand, hand her a bal­loon, and say, “I re­ally do want to re­tire this year, OK?” If I know my wife, she’ll look at me and the go­rilla for a few ner­vous sec­onds. Then, I ex­pect she’ll back up a few feet, and say, “Ugh... sure David... what­ever you want.” She’s smart like that. She knows it’s use­less to ar­gue with a man who has just rented an in­flat­able go­rilla. It’s also likely to be danger­ous — far more danger­ous than any­thing a high­div­ing mule would ever face.

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