Thursday, January 15, 2015

Death of a Salesman

We’ve noted the beginning of a PR campaign by the Navy in support of the barely changed LCS.  Well, it turns out that the Navy attempted to hire a New York marketing company to help them come up with a campaign to sell the “new and improved” LCS.  ComNavOps has obtained a recording of the initial meeting between the Navy and the marketing company.  Here’s the transcript.

Ad Executive:  Gentlemen, it’s an honor to assist the Navy.  Let me tell you just a bit about our company.  We can market anything and I do mean anything.  You may not know it but we were the ones who convinced people to pay several dollars for a bottle of water.  Yeah, that’s right!  The same stuff you can get for free from any tap in America and we sold people on paying through the nose for it.  So, what does the Navy want to sell? 

Admiral:  Well, we’ve got a ship that has an image problem and we’re afraid that it’s only going to get worse after we promised that we’d come up with a new frigate and, instead, just made a few minor tweaks and kept the same old ship.  We need to make everyone believe that it’s a brand new, amazing ship.

Exec:  No problem.  That’s what we do.  So, what’s notable about this ship that we can build hype around?

Adm:  Well, it’s fast.

Exec:  Fast!  That’s great.  People love speed.  What does the ship do with its speed?

Adm:  Nothing.  We haven’t found a use for it, yet.

Exec:  Ummm …  OK, not a problem.  Let’s take a different approach.  Everyone loves a giant steel battle machine.  We can …

Adm:  Sorry to interrupt but the ships are mostly aluminum.

Exec:  Aluminum.  ALUMINUM?!  My rowboat is made out of aluminum and it dents every time I hit a lilypad.  Plus, one time I put my camp stove in the boat before the stove had completely cooled and it nearly melted a hole in the boat.  You people build ships out of aluminum?  You’re kidding me!  Well, that won’t work.  What about guns?  America loves guns!  We can sell that.  I assume the ship has a great big gun?

Adm:  Ah, the gun doesn’t work.  When the ship goes too fast, the gun vibrates and we can’t hit anything.

Exec (jaw hanging open):  You’re killing me, here.  You gotta give me something to work with. 

All right, what if we make this a documentary marketing campaign?  You know – focus on actual patrols and the adventures of the ship and crew.  According to the notes you provided, you’ve got 4 ships in commission with around 16 commission years among them.  You’ve got to have some great war stories we can sell, right?

Adm:  Ah, we haven’t actually deployed any of them, yet.  Well, we did send one to Singapore for a PR tour but it wound up spending most of its time in port, being repaired.

Exec:  You’re yanking my chain, now, aren’t you?  Seriously, nobody would build a ship this pathetic.  There’s no way to sell this and believe me, we can sell anything to anyone.  Heck, we’re the guys that Lockheed Martin hired to sell the F-35 to the Marines.  I thought that was a tough one but this is ridiculous.  I’m sorry Admiral, come back when you have something we can work with.


  1. I think the Ad Exec works for Lockheed Martin!

  2. Well, it did help look for a missing plane!

    You mean a low, slow, flyer? Or one that was lost comm?

    AH...No..this one crashed and was sitting at the bottom of the sea.

    So, it wasn't moving, its location was known and it wasn't a threat?

    Yes, but doesn't that show it works?

    To a two year old in a bath tub it does...but, not for anyone else, friend or foe!


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