donrosa at iglou.com
Fri Feb 11 14:43:56 CET 2000
One day in the editorial offices of PINKY PIG COMICS:
"Gentlemen, PINKY PIG used to be the best-selling comic book here in the
Duchy of East Fenwick!"
"It still is, right?"
"Well, yes, but sales are off. Our circulation is down to 100,000 copies
per week. We must be more aggressive and find out why this is! Obviously
there's something wrong!"
"I thought sales of all juvenile literature was dropping due to TV and
videogames and all that crap? Perhaps we should just make sure that the
quality of Pinky Pig is as good as we can do. We should try to insure that
everyone in East Fenwick knows that PINKY PIG is as good for all ages as it
always was and they will continue to read it all their lives, even into
their college years and then be eager to soon pass it on to their children
as a tradition. Just like when we were kids."
"Okay, now let's move on. What did the reader poll say was the most popular
story last week?"
"Well, 80% said their favorite stories were the ones other than that one
that contained all the history references."
"Okay, no more of that stuff."
"Wait... I know I'm fired... but doesn't that mean that 20% thought the
story with all the history was their *favorite*? What about them? They
would seem to be our older, smarter and most loyal readers if they are
still buying PINKY after they outgrew most of it!"
"Are you still here? Somebody call security!"
"Okay, it's settled -- no more stories with historical references. Done.
We'll give the majority of the readers what they want! It's the path to
SIX MONTHS LATER:
"Gentlemen, I don't understand it, but even though we are giving the
readers of PINKY PIG *exactly* what they want, our sales have dropped off
"It doesn't make sense! It baffles science!"
"Obviously we're doing something wrong. We need to make sure we are giving
the majority of our readers what they want! What was the most popular story
"75% of the readers seemed to like the stories with words less than three
syllables long. Only 25% preferred the more sophisticated texts."
"Okay, then -- that's our mistake! Make sure all the stories are written on
a very simple level... no challenge for the readers. It can't miss!"
SIX MONTHS LATER:
"Gentlemen, it's inexplicable, but our sales are now down to 60,000! We
must refine our approach further!"
"You're gonna ask me about the reader poll, aren't you? Okay, last week
most positive comments were on two stories.. the story about the dinosaurs
was popular, and the
story about Pinky playing soccer was popular... the other stories were
favorites with fewer readers."
"Okay, there's your answer! We'll hit it this time for sure!"
ONE YEAR LATER:
"Gentlemen, I have wonderful news!!! Our sales have levelled off! We gave
the majority of the readers what they wanted, and it finally worked! We did
the right thing! The American system of appealing to the 'lowest common
denominator' is a proven marketing tool! Just look at the American comics
"What American comics industry? The last violent, mutated, vigilante,
pantomime, American super-hero comic went out of publication years ago!
Didn't you know?"
"What? Something in America that was unsuccessful? Who knew? Well, then how
are all those other European comics doing?"
"Well, their sales are not what they used to be, but they're holding up.
See, I have the latest copy of DANDY DOG right here."
"What? Don't tell me you read that stuff!"
"Oh, not the whole issue! Some of it is done for younger children. But
there's plenty in each issue for everyone in the family! We pass it all
"Really? My teenagers used to read PINKY PIG, but they stopped. And that
made their younger brothers and sisters eager to stop reading, also... kids
are in such a rush to grow up, y'know. They pay a lot of attention to such
things as what older kids think and do."
"Didn't your brother Tom have a baby recently? Why didn't he buy a
subscription to PINKY PIG right away?"
"Well, I asked him why he didn't, like our parents did for us, and he said
it just never occured to him. He'd stopped reading PINKY PIG years ago when
we stopped using his favorite sorts of stories along with the others."
"Bah -- comic book freaks -- don't listen to them!!! We don't work for
them! We work for the majority of the readers! So... what did the reader
poll tell us was the readers' favorite story last week? As I recall, we had
our usual five stories about Pinky Pig playing soccer in the Lost World
while he turned into a lizard and walked sideways on the walls, and the
stories were all told in pantomime in panels that looked like video-game
"Yes. And 100% of the readers responded to the poll! But only one of them
said that his favorite story was the one that was two pages long."
"That means that our other two readers preferred the stories that were only
one page long. No more two page stories! There you have it! Stick to this
system and PINKY PIG will start catching on again *any day*!"
(This apparently was the final editorial conference for PINKY PIG COMICS.)
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