“It’s like this,” said the Director of Penguin Books. “We’re sat on all this old Ladybird artwork, there must be some way we can monetise* it?” “Well, some people are doing spoofs of the covers on the world wide web Sir, perhaps that’s an area we could look at?” ventured John the designer. He showed the director some examples.
“Good grief, we can’t use that!” the Director replied, looking at a photo of Ron Mael with a Hitler moustache on a very obviously mocked up Ladybird cover. “But perhaps you fellows could tone it down a bit, and it might have legs,” he replied.
“Yes, but are we not going to completely ruin people’s memories of the books?” said Paul. “After all, many older people grew up and learned to read with Ladybird Books. And how does it sit with the old illustrators, us poking fun at all their hard work?”
Jeff chipped in; “It’s not as if we’ve ever really honoured the Ladybird tradition, all we’ve done with the archives is market some rubbishy mugs and Chinese made tat with poor copies of the pictures on. Just think, we could have continued the range properly, commissioned new illustrations, experimented, done titles which are relevant to today’s kids. These nursery school fairy tales and ruddy sticker books are not going to be remembered. Wouldn’t these pi…” He managed to stop himself saying ‘piss-take’* just in time. “Er, spoofs, be best left on the web?”
He regretted his outburst almost at once, it didn’t do to try and experiment he knew.
The director glowered at him. Young upstart, he thought. Those days of keeping a business going for the benefit of workers and staff, and turning out a product they could be proud of, one people would remember all their lives were long over. It was the bottom line* which counted now. “No my mind’s made up, dig out a batch of the old pictures and think up some funny themes, and let’s launch them before Christmas and we’ll make a small fortune. The media will lap it up, trust me.”
With that he picked up his bottle of indigestion tablets and stalked out of the meeting.
And sadly, as Jeff reflected to himself, the Director was probably right.
monetise = convert assets into currency. bottom-line = see monetise. piss-take = destroying your heritage
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