by G.D. Maxwell
One thing Ive always prided myself on yeah, I know, another deadly sin is an easy ability to fess up when Im wrong. Admittedly, when youve had as much practice at being wrong as Ive had, well, you know, practice makes perfect. Practicing admitting it; not being wrong which takes no practice at all, just a willingness to let things all hang out... in public.
Ive been hanging things out in public for 400 weeks now. I know that with some certainty because when I started this Pique gig I suffered from a lapse of imagination and began filing columns by number. Ive got to be honest, I never expected to get too far into double digits before the well ran dry but here we are, the 400 th rant.
If I had champagne, Id open it. If I had two good hands, Id use one to push the other far enough around to pat myself on the back. If I had any sense at all, Id retire before I get sued again. If I had a dollar for every column I wrote... well, I guess I do, so just forget I started that sentence.
But its not like I have a lot of dollars for every column Ive written. Like the very kind, generous, understanding publisher she is, Kathy Barnett said it best when she told me from the outset, "You understand there isnt really any money in this?" I assumed she was speaking figuratively.
And its been made abundantly clear to me just how off base Ive been lately with the Annals of Greed series. I may be thick sometimes but I dont need to be called a "... pinko, Commie, chowderhead pathetic loser..." very many times to come to the realization Im way out of step with popular opinion.
So where does that leave me. Greed, it turns out, is good, at least according to the feedback Ive gotten. All Ive really got is this franchise on the back page of the Pique. I dont have the dough to do up this greed thing with enough panache to turn anyones head who doesnt drink Sterno out of a paper bag. Theres obviously only one option open to me.
MAX SELLS OUT!!!
Thats right, Im selling out. Abandoning my scruples which when combined with $2.75 will get me a lattè selling my soul, buying into the North American Dream, grabbing all the gusto I can get.
Its both disheartening and pathetic to realize Ive gotten this old and have so little to show for it. Its way too late to ever expect Ill be able to live the good life as its coming to be defined in our little corner of the world. But thats no reason I shouldnt make at least some concessions to conspicuous consumption.
Given all I have of any real value is the back page of the Pique, thats whats for sale. You may have noticed the total lack of advertising, sponsorship or branding on Maxed Out in the past. Silly, silly scruples. Four hundred opportunities lost; almost eight years wasted.
But no more. Starting next week, Maxed Out is open for business. The product placement business, I guess. Im not really sure how this ought to work. Nothing so vulgar as ads or logos but blatant, if transparent, name dropping.
Not just anything or any name though. That wouldnt do. Lets see, what do I need, er, want. I guess a house is out of the question. Think! Lets be methodical.
Okay, Im accepting sponsorship offers in the following categories:
skis and equipment
electronics plasma TV or better to open
general outdoor gear
Yeah, thats a good start. Of course, it wont do anything for my overall cash flow. Cash flow? Who am I kidding. More like a trickle, like the cruel reality of trickle-down economics.
So having considered all the ramifications carefully, yes, I will do deals for cash. If you dont fall into any of the barter categories but you think some deft plugs for your business or you for that matter would be just the ticket, we can talk straight cash deals.
How would this work, I hear you asking. Well, for starters, and using the only real skills available to me, Id carefully weave repeated references to your business into my usual witty epistle. For example:
Sliding into my favourite seat at (your bar name here) I ordered a tall, cold (your beer/spirit name here) and pondered what had been a perfect day hucking cliffs on Whistler Mountain. "Unbelievable," I thought. I never could stick that landing until I got my new (your skis gloriously plugged here)!
Sauntering out to my (your luxury SUV marquee here) I was shocked and dismayed to see (name of politician or prominent person you want to slander here) boinking his/her personal assistant/gay lover in the back seat of a ratty old Chevy whose owner hadnt had enough sense to lock the doors.
I laughed out loud, said to no one in particular, "Well, at least they had the good sense to use (your brand of condom here)," and suddenly finding myself ravenous, toddled off to (your restaurant name proudly plugged here) for a quick but satisfying nosh before returning home to watch the Big Game on my new plasma TV Id just had delivered from (major electronics chain, no doubt, mentioned here). Aint life grand?
Okay, you get the picture.
Obviously the soft-sell product placement might not cut it for all of you interested in taking advantage of this unique marketing opportunity. I feel your pain. Your concerns are my concerns. Im sure we can work together.
For those of you who just have to be more, how shall I say this, out there, I guess I have to be open to straight up advertising, maybe a tasteful banner ad at the bottom of the page or a display ad instead of the graphic that usually accompanies my column. Of course, thats going to cost you big but just think about what youd be getting. Informal market research has shown that nearly three out of every four Pique readers read Maxed Out first! More astonishingly, a full 95 per cent of them read at least the title and call-out if not the actual column.
With a press run of 15,000 or so and an average readership of 3.4 persons per paper, thats... lets see... carry the five... well, thats a lot of eyes falling on your well-placed ad each and every week.
So lets hear it from you punters out there. This offer isnt going to last long. Once I have a sponsor in each category, thats it, no more deals. Pick up that phone right now and call the Pique; they know where to find me. Zeuskis patio no doubt.
See how easy it is?