CAREERS: The Secret Diary of Brian The Brand Manager

Last week I was sent to Iceland to act in a role I wasn’t qualified for, on a brand I know nothing about, with people I had never met and with the brief to keep my gob shut. Even by GBH standards, this was a little strange.

Last week I was sent to Iceland to act in a role I wasn’t qualified

for, on a brand I know nothing about, with people I had never met and

with the brief to keep my gob shut. Even by GBH standards, this was a

little strange.

But this week I got hold of a top secret document written by Lord Bleak

and the head of corporate planning that explained it all. Well, Donal

got hold of it and showed me. Anyway, it looks like my pointless trip

was just the beginning. It was in fact the harbinger of a state of

affairs so mind-bogglingly ludicrous that you can’t imagine who could

have constructed such a thing unless Franz Kafka has teamed up with Coco

the Clown over at global HQ.

The document starts off on a shocking but sane note. Apparently GBH is

in crisis, severe crisis. As Billy Bolleaux told me last week, trading

conditions in the Far East, which was to have been GBH’s engine of

growth, have deteriorated drastically.

This means that all marketing budgets have been slashed by a minimum of

15%. All new capital investments have been frozen. The crisis is viewed

as all the more severe because we have started the company-wide ’Triumph

Of The Will 2000’ programme (motto; alacrity, elasticity) which is

supposed to see us embarking on a decade of double-digit growth.

Then it starts getting a little strange. ’The entire company must put

itself on a war footing. Scarcity will be endemic. Spies will be


We must root out the twin evils of profligacy and negativity. Remember

careless talk costs brand share.

’From this day forth, there will be no meetings other than those people

can attend by foot or bike. All managers above K grade will be issued

bus passes. They will be expected to come to work in full combat gear to

communicate to all our corporate citizens the gravity of this


’There will be no more training, no seminars, no conferences. All

non-essential work from outside suppliers will cease as of now. There

will be no more free use of ash trays, no free drinking water for staff,

use of company air will be kept to a bare minimum consistent with

corporate objectives and the presumption of the right to free and

unlimited amounts of toilet paper must be seriously reconsidered.’

At the same time, an ’Alexander the Great’ strategy (or multi-tasking

approach) is being introduced to conceal massive staff cuts from the

outside world. (He marched his troops up and down a riverbank to fool

the enemy on the other side into thinking he had a bigger army than he

actually did).

So all managers will be called on to double, treble or quadruple up.

Apart from my European role on Gnats US-style beer, I will from tomorrow

be representing GBH as a junior surveyor (silent) in the property

department during negotiations with Preston town over a new depot. I

have certain ceremonial duties for catering procurement (Scotland) and

have also been seconded as a medical expert to the joint United

Nations/GBH task force to combat alcohol abuse. It’s going to be an

interesting few months.


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