too cool for school

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.


Mon 15

Who do I sue?

Jennifer Government Invitation to launch of Nike Mercurys... uh, I mean ZvezdochkasAs previously mentioned, occasionally some wacky marketing stunt I dreamed up for one of my novels comes true. Films as advertisements, logo tattoos, naming people after corporations; no matter how outrageous I try to be, real-world marketers are scampering along right behind.

But this is something else. First, a few lines from Chapter 1 of Jennifer Government:

The Johns smiled. “We started selling [Nike] Mercurys six months ago. You know how many pairs we’ve shifted since then?”

Hack shook his head. They cost thousands of dollars a pair, but that wouldn’t stop people from buying them. They were the hottest sneakers in the world. “A million?”

“Two hundred.”

“Two hundred million?”

“No. Two hundred pairs.”

“John here,” the other John said, “pioneered the concept of marketing by refusing to sell any products. It drives the market insane.”

This green thing is an invitation to the launch of a new range of Nike shoes that has gotten coolhunters drooling down their buttoned silk shirts. And what’s that down the bottom?

700 pairs worldwide, 140 in the US only

The next step, in Jennifer Government, is to throw open the warehouse doors and try to shift as many pairs as possible before the aura of exclusivity wears off. Also to shoot a few customers to make it look as if demand for the shoes is so hot that people are killing each other for them. If that turns out to be Nike’s plan in real life, too, I’m putting in a call for commission.


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Cogitation (#836)

Location: New York City
Quote: "Think about it for a moment."
Posted: 4791 days ago

A call for commission? Max, planning a murder for someone else to committ is called "being an accomplice". :p

Scott (#354)

Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Quote: "Max Barry tastes like awesome"
Posted: 4790 days ago

Sexy name though. Zhvezdochka. Rolls right off the tongue.

Jesus (#857)

Location: Spain
Quote: "Ask not what Max can do for you; ask what you can do for Max"
Posted: 4786 days ago

Sorry, Max. There is prior art. Just see 'The Innocence of Father Brown', by G. K. Chesterton.

'The Vernon Hotel at which The Twelve True Fishermen held their annual dinners was an institution such as can only exist in an oligarchical society which has almost gone mad on good manners. It was that topsy-turvy product--an "exclusive" commercial enterprise. That is, it was a thing which paid not by attracting people, but actually by turning people away. In the heart of a plutocracy tradesmen become cunning enough to be more fastidious than their customers. They positively create difficulties so that their wealthy and weary clients may spend money and diplomacy in overcoming them.'

Robin Lane (#940)

Location: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Posted: 4759 days ago

Sorry both Max and Jesus

The limiting of the supply of a good to drive up its desirability as both a marketing and market control strategy is a lot older than either Jennifer Government or G.K. Chesterton. It was certainly traditional by the 15th Century when it was used to both generate demand for and to increase the price of Papal indulgencies in the Roman Catholic church. (Jesus, given his nick, should have known this.)

Ainsley (#1052)

Location: Princeton, U.S.
Posted: 4725 days ago

its kind of ironic that in the book you make Nike out to seem so awful because one of my best friends met the owner of Nike at a wedding and said he was an alcoholic gambler just like the characters that work for Nike in your book

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