[The following is a transcript of a meeting of the marketing and creative directors of RAPS Inc., secretly taped. It may give you an insight into the evil forces of capitalism, all at work to get their hands at the disposable income of creepy, older women…]
Marketing Director: Right. I have called this meeting to discuss our further strategy regarding our products.
Creative Director: Um. Yeah?
MD: You know, your man, whatsisname, the fella who plays all these guys that you are basing the shrines on…
CD [interjects]: Armitage?
MD: Yeah, right, that bloke. Now, he’s apparently considered a bit of eye candy. [snorts] I had some spies at WonderCon last weekend, sussing out the scene, and apparently the man is loved by cr… [sounds of bottle opening] ol… [splashing noises] …er women. I’ve been thinking we need to tap into the market. According to some marketing big wigs, mature women are luxury consumers who place the highest priority in making memories and experiences. They don’t buy things to have more things; they want the experience to go along with it. And they are willing to pay for it.
CD: Hmph. [humming distractedly under breath; faint resemblance of tune to Misty Mountains]
MD: [sharp voice] Could you please listen!? So they want memories and experiences. The pocket shrines are the exact embodiment of that. Memories of a hot character, the experience is elicited by the shrine. But I think we need to up our game. You know… sex sells.
CD: [interested] You want to get into porn shrines?
MD: Don’t be ridiculous! This is a family friendly enterprise. But yeah, a bit more sizzle might be needed. I mean, just look at the success of the Power Porter. The feedback was great. Couple of pants in the post. Never mind the two damage suits from duped husbands, poor sods. But that’s where the cookie crumbles. Some of the ladies have significant others. We have to subtly up our game. I want the sex in the box but not the jealousy that goes with it. I need you to think of something.
CD: [sound of scratching] Mh. A husband-compatible shrine experience?
MD: Exactly! What have you got for me?
CD: Well, it just so happens I was working on a prototype the other day, I could show you some pictures?
MD: That’s why you are here. Shut up and show me.
[rustling, sound of cardboard put on table]
MD: What the…???? Are you kitting… eh kidding me???
CD: Ooops, sorry, that’s the young buyers’ version. [paper rustling]. Here.
MD: Corrrrr. [whistles] Talk me through it.
CD: Right. Ok what we have here is a digital drawing. Artist is called Yanagoya. By using evocative, realistic but clearly non-photographic imagery we can a) appeal to the ovarian sensibilities of our target group while b) avoiding anger from the target group’s significant others. This is a fantasy character, not a real man. He doesn’t exist, so *bang* – wifey’s imagination goes overdrive but SO does not have to feel threatened. Cash in the register for us *kerchink*.
MD: I like your way of thinking, Creative. Go on.
CD: We can pepper the imagery with shiny jewels, just like the ladies like, you know, heart in hand and all that. [paper rustling]
MD: That’s a bit tame, now. And whatever happened to your poor woman’s face?
CD: Well, the thinking is that she is “everywoman” – so rather than see her face, the shrine owner can imagine herself under the pink heart. You know, create that experience you were talking of? We just need to focus on the essentials. Abs, and biceps, trail of hair down into… [paper rustling]
MD: Aha. Ya.
CD: And we are appealing to a woman’s natural wish for warmth and protection by having Thorin say he’s keeping her warm.
MD: Women. [huffs] So predictable! Simple creatures, really.
CD: Here’s the shrine in full drool mode. [rustling with paper]
MD: Ah, ok. Good. Yeah. I think that’s workable. We’ll put it out there.
CD: It’s already been sent to a volunteer test audience – woman with SO. First feedback was favourable, so I think this could be a runner. Especially as it looks pretty harmless on the outside. [plonking sound of paper on table]
MD: Great. Edition of 2000 for the start?
CD: Ambitious. But yeah. It’ll be a great companion piece to Thorin #1. And Thorin #3 will be the travel companion. Here’s the three of them.
MD: Right, Creative, looking good. Let’s hope, that Armitage fella keeps workin’. Otherwise this gold mine will run dry… I think we can close this meeting. [end of tape]