You are about to enter another dimension. It is a dimension more vast than the Internet and as timeless as print advertising. It is the middle ground between leads and conversions, between experience and data. It lies between the pit of a marketer’s greatest fears and the summit of the industry’s collective knowledge. Here the dark entities which haunt the edges of the marketplace come to center stage. You are now entering the Scary Space.
An Intern’s Hell: Attack of the Fascist Olives
Elise was a junior at one of the most prestigious universities on the eastern seaboard. She belonged to the school’s top sorority, boasted an impressive 3.75 GPA, and had just been admitted to the business honors program. Her father had also just secured her a promising summer internship at a glamorous Manhattan ad agency, Veritas Marketing.
Veritas looked like a scene straight out of the hit AMC period drama Mad Men. Industry titans and movie stars rubbed shoulders in the firm’s meticulously crafted, golden elevators. Dapper creative directors talked a hundred miles an hour on calls with some of the world’s biggest brands while staring out over Central Park. C-Suite executives sipped Scotch in their top-story offices while toasting the immense success of their latest campaign.
Elise had been made the assistant social media manager for the Cassini Olives account, a not so luxurious Italian produce company. The dusty old brand was an anachronism in the marketing world. They had provided steady business to the firm since it had first opened its doors in 1952 and was therefore considered one of it’s most valued clients.
Old Mr. Cassini had no taste for digital advertising. His disinterest in the Internet has caused him to dismiss it as a passing fad. Constant pleading from Cassini’s tech savvy son, Enrico, had resulted in the introduction of a company website in 2009, a Facebook page in 2015, and finally a Twitter account in 2018.
This is how Elise found herself tweeting about olives. She spent her days in a cramped office, which was little more than a converted broom closet, sharing poorly filmed 1960s olive commercials and cheesy ad slogans on social. Mr. Cassini’s narrow, antiquated vision for his company’s brand identity left little room for innovation.
Several times in the beginning of her internship, Elise had gone to her supervisor to report having finished her work for the Cassini brand early, and asked if there was maybe a secondary assignment she could try her hand at. This almost always resulted in Elise being handed menial secretarial work that she loathed even more olives. Elise soon found herself disillusioned with her work.
One Friday evening, when Elise was in a hurry to leave the office she decided to schedule the remaining content for the week on the bus ride to her uptown loft. While on the bus Elise realized she had forgotten to copy a photo of the company’s founder, Alberto Cassini, to her Google Drive. The picture was needed for a tweet about Cassini Olives’ 80 year anniversary. Elise searched ‘Alberto Cassini’ to see if she could find a usable photo of the long dead olive patriarch. In life, Alberto had been a square headed bald man with a strong jawline. After scrolling through about a dozen images Elise thought she had found a flattering portrait of Alberto looking off to the left in an old timey military uniform. She clicked the link to make sure it was a reputable source, and after skimming through the top part of an article on 1930s Italian agriculture, decided it would make a good fit.
It was a little passed eleven on Saturday morning when Elise woke up hungover. She walked into the kitchen to grab a much needed glass of water. She sat slumped over at the kitchen table sipping her water when she heard an incessant buzzing sound off from across the room. Her phone must have gone off about a dozen times. Elise begrudgingly walked over to her charger. Upon picking up her flashy, overpriced, fruit branded apparatus, Elise saw that her phone had been blown up with a seemingly infinite list of notifications. It included all the greatest hits from ‘A Young Professional’s Personal Hell;’ four missed calls from her supervisor, two missed calls from Veritas’s COO, a text from her COO which read ‘We need to talk NOW!,’ several tweets linking Cassini Olives to facsism, a number of Facebook comments slamming the company for supporting totalitarian regimes, a New York Times headline which read ‘The Greatest Marketing Flop Since Budlight’s “Remove No From Your Vocabulary” campaign.’
Unbeknownst to Elise, the man which she had mistakenly identified as Aberto Cassini, was actually former Italian Dictator, Benito Mussolini. The similarity between the two men was uncanny. The image of an eagle gripping a fasces on Mussolini’s military hat, and the absurd number of decorative medals hanging from his lapel undoubtedly identified the model as Il Duce himself.
If Elise had a single access point to obtain the data associated with the Cassini account, she would have been able to use the correct assets. There would have been no scramble to haphazardly pull substitute assets from Google Images. A cloud based, SaaS platform would have allowed Elise to access access the necessary files from anywhere, on any device.