The Vanussions are Coming (cont.) by Gordon Adams

He pointed towards the two young people.

“That is why I have invited along to our meeting today the peerless Mr Slinki and Ms Dinki from the world’s leading advertising agency, Slinki and Dinki Inc. They have been working on an advertising campaign that will unite the entire world’s population as never before against the Vanussians! An easy brief, compared to your usual, eh, Mr Slinki?”

The young man winced.

“OK, let’s hear your ideas now. I’m turning this meeting over to Mr Slinki and Ms Dinki.”

The World Controller sat down and the young man hesitantly stood up.

“Well, after much deliberation we came up with a number of different ideas, that is to say, different creative treatments,” said Mr Slinki.

“Cut to the chase!” shouted the World Controller. “Let’s hear the best one!”

“Ah yes, well. It may seem a little left field, if you know what I mean. Everyone here knows the Vanussians’ eating habits are not, shall we say, the most decorous. The Vanussian habit of eating from the floor, crouched on all fours like animals, has been the subject of much mirth here on Earth.”

“We know, we know – get on with it!”

“So we distilled the creative idea of depicting Vanussians as dogs, as in this advertising treatment.”

All eyes were drawn to the e-wall which now featured a Vanussian crouched on all fours, with a dog’s head, feasting on a bowlful of human beings. The voiceover said: “Don’t let your family become his next dinner!

“Rubbish! Next idea!” said the WC.

“If we could just persist with this one,” said Ms Dinki, leaping to her feet. “This was, I have to say, by far the preferred approach. It was rigorously tested in our focus groups! And it lends itself to a number of creative treatments, such as this one.”

The e-wall now displayed a picture of a team of Huskies dragging a sledge across the Arctic snow; a Vanussian with a manic look on his face replaced a human handler on the sledge. The heads of the each of the Husky dogs had been replaced with human heads. The voiceover said: “Your new working daythe Vanussian way.

“This is hopeless!” yelled the WC, standing up. It seemed Mr Slinki and Ms Dinki’s time in charge of the meeting was about to end.

“We’ll never beat the Vanussians with this. Crude depictions of our enemies as animals. So simplistic! As if that kind of crude propaganda would ever work in wartime. Yet it researched well, you say?”

“Yes, everywhere – everywhere in the world. Except in Britain,” said Mr Slinki. “It appears they rather like dogs there.”

“Please don’t rush to dismiss this approach,” Mr Slinki implored. “Consider this. We have an over-arching creative thrust here for our entire advertising campaign. It really is this simple: Two legs good, four legs bad!

The WC stood up, hands on his hips.

“Do you really not have anything better than this?” he demanded. “Maybe something more original?”

“Erm, well – we do have one more idea,” said Ms Dinki. “This!”

The e-wall now showed a giant torso of the World Controller himself wearing a stern expression, pointing directly towards the viewer. The voiceover boomed out: “Citizens of Earth: Your World Needs YOU!

“As if THAT would work!” sneered the WC. “Still I do look rather good there, don’t I? I see you’ve used that lovely photo of me from the Geneva Congress. I did rather like that one.”

“OK, let’s brainstorm,” said Mr Slinki, seizing control of the meeting again. He grabbed the light baton and wiped the e-wall clean. “Think hard everyone: what is it that unites the people of this world? What do all human beings like?”

“Chocolate?” ventured one voice.

“Motherhood and apple pie.”

“Coca Cola,” said another.

“Their own children – though they don’t really like everyone else’s, do they?” said another.

“Beer!

“A nice glass of wine.”

“A lie-in on a Saturday morning.”

“Football. Cricket.”

“Baseball. Basketball…..well – sport, in general.”

Soon the e-wall was covered with writing.

“Great! Wonderful!” said Mr Slinki, “I think we’re really getting somewhere now. Now, what is it that the Vanussians have in common, what is it that they all don’t like?”

“Mirrors that show them how ugly they are!” shouted one voice.

“Earth food,” said another.

“Being made fun of.”

“Yes, social embarrassment. They hate being shown up.”

“Losing 6-1 in the Inter-World Series.”

“WHY, YES, THEN I’VE GOT IT!” shouted Mr Slinki, exultantly. “I do believe we can actually do this! I know now how to unite the people of Earth. If we’re lucky this might just stop those evil Vanussians in their tracks!”

* * * * *

Two days later, the viral advertising campaign had been released and everyone on Earth had viewed it through their Ethernet connections. The scenes of unity which followed on Earth were unprecedented. The Governments of the three global superpowers – Eurasia, the North American Alliance and the Isle of Wight – issued a unity statement, pledging to do everything in their power to co-operate and prevent the Vanussians taking control of Earth.

The viral campaign suggested that Vanussians hated sport. It depicted them as hell-bent on stopping anyone on Earth playing or watching sport. The videos displayed Vanussians cutting down rugby goals, bursting footballs, burning baseball bats and smashing Ethernet screens broadcasting the Inter-World Series. The campaign strapline was: Sore Losers?

Most importantly of all, it depicted Vanussians’ sporting ineptitude. The campaign showed genuine clips of the Vanussians playing baseball and missing the ball or playing football and slipping when they tried to take a penalty. The Vanussians were mercilessly lampooned as the galaxy’s most hapless sportsmen.

* * * * *

Three days later, the World Government received an urgent message.

“It’s a message from the Vanussians, sir,” said the WC’s top aide. “It is marked Strictly Confidential – for your eyes only.”

“Send it here,” commanded the WC. A few seconds later, he opened up the link on his viewer. He read the message with great interest.

“Well, well, well!” he exclaimed. “It seems the Vanussians have stopped their invasion of Earth in its tracks. Instead, they’ve challenged us to a game of football next Saturday!”