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The following is an example of this kind of self-reflexive humor that abounds in advertising
from a site no longer available http://www.tikifish.com/adjokes.html:
A guy from KFC arranges to visit the Pope. After receiving the papal blessing he
whispers, "Your Eminence, do we have a deal for you. If you change The Lord's
Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread...' to 'give us this day our daily
chicken...' we will donate $500 million dollars to the Church." The Pope responds
saying, "That is impossible. The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be
changed." "Well," says the KFC man, "we are prepared to donate $1 billion to the
Church if you change the Lord's Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread...' to
'give us this day our daily chicken..." Again the Pope replies, "That is impossible.
The Prayer is the Word of the Lord and it must not be changed." Finally, the KFC
guy says, "This is our last offer. We will donate $5 billion to the church if you change
the Lord's Prayer from 'give us this day our daily bread...' to 'give us this day our
daily chicken...'" and he leaves. Next day the Pope meets with the College of
Cardinals to say that he has good news and bad news. "The good news is that the
Church has come into $5 billion." "The bad news is that we are losing The
Wonderbread Account.
An ad team is working very late at night on a project due the next morning.
Suddenly, a Genie appears before them and offers to grant them all one wish. The
Copywriter says: "I've always dreamed of writing the great American novel and
having my work studied in schools across the land. I'd like to go to a tropical island
where I can concentrate and write my masterpiece." The Genie says "No problem!"
and poof! The Copywriter is gone. The Art Director says: "I want to create a painting
so beautiful that it would hang in the Louvre Museum in Paris for all the world to
admire. I want to go to the French countryside to work on my painting." The Genie
says "Your wish is granted! and poof! The Art Director is gone. The Genie then
turns to the Account Executive and says "And what is your wish?" The AE says, "I
want those two assholes back here right now.
The above narratives are funny because they speak to the perceived ruthlessness that is
infamously portrayed in the advertising industry. One way to start changing a culture is to
extend the “relational responsibility” (McNamee and Gergen, 1999) and generosity to
employees as well as clients.
The Takeaway: Play Nice
Sheryl’s freelance advice is to play nice and notes, “You can’t rest on your laurels. You
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