Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 65byrpsuch©
"Jeff's coming with me."
"Are you sure that's a good idea? This is supposed to be between you and your mother. In addition to working out the wedding it's supposed to bring you closer to her."
"Jeff's coming with me." My tone was different from the first time I said it. She understood.
"Jeff has a plan?" she said.
Sunny hesitated briefly and then broke into almost uncontrolled laughter.
"This should be fun," she said.
"I don't know why I had to be here for this discussion. Joanne is in charge of all the arrangements for the wedding."
"Don't be so modest, Mr. Fine," said Jeff. "I'm staggered by the brilliance of your concept."
You wouldn't think someone could look nauseous from being flattered so completely, but my father was starting to look sick.
"All Ashley and I did was finish fleshing out your concept to generate the maximum impact."
Dad looked like he was having a flashback to the first time Jeff took him apart. He simultaneously had to fake enthusiasm in front of this crowd or he would be revealed as our evil nemesis.
"I have copies of the press release for everybody to look at in case Ashley and I missed something."
Fine Bank has implemented the initial test of its new strategy to promote awareness of its services and benefits by sponsoring weddings for (fill in the type of wedding you plan to target).
The rollout of the strategy will be at the wedding of the daughter of CEO Ebenezer J. Fine this June. While this may not turn out to be the optimal size and style of wedding chosen for the strategy, it is expected to provide meaningful metrics on the efficacy of the strategy due to the extensive guest list with over fifteen hundred invitees.
Marketing analysts for the Bank anticipate that almost any potential problems which could arise during the life of the program will be revealed by a wedding of this magnitude as even fairly large weddings are rarely more than a fifth this size.
The strategy marries to the marketing effort the opportunity to bring brides the wedding of their dreams at a greatly reduced cost to their families.
Under the program, each guest receives free checking for any account opened with $250. They also receive a free session of investment consulting and three free trades if they subsequently open an investment account. These offers are expected to allow most guests to more than recoup the cost of their wedding gifts to the couple.
More than 2.25 million weddings take place each year in the United States alone, with an average of 180 guests. Fine Bank expects to reach over 80% of the adult population with the program. If the program proves to be as successful as anticipated it could be replicated worldwide through Fine Bank International.
In addition to the financial gifts each guest will receive a portfolio with the Fine Bank logo in which to keep their important papers. The logo will also appear on the centerpieces.
While other banks and business are expected to jump on the gravy train when the program proves to be successful, the Bank expects those efforts to inure to its benefit as well since the only requirement of participating in the program is that invitations and signage conclude with the words: A Fine Bank Wedding®.
Mr. Fine declined to put a figure on the value of the program, although he expects to completely recover the costs of his daughter's test wedding.
Upon reading our "press release" my mother looked aghast and her mouth hung open. My father's sickly color did not improve.
"Uh, could I have some time to discuss this with Joanne?" he asked.
Jeff looked to me as if for consent and then said, "Of course, sir. We introduced a few additional ideas and I know this is probably not exactly the way it would be done by a public relations professional, so why don't we leave you to review it? We'll go out for lunch and return in around two hours."
Dad muttered his assent and Jeff, Sunny and I went out to the car and drove off.
Sunny was the first to speak.
"That bordered on torture. It was cruel and entirely appropriate, sorry Ashley."
"No need to be sorry. I helped Jeff put it together."
I was almost giddy. Jeff drove with a determined look on his face.
"The thing that blows me away is that I think it's actually a brilliant marketing strategy. But directing it at his daughter's wedding is crass and uncaring. It makes him look creepy enough that people might avoid him even though they stand to benefit from the program."
"There is no program, Mom. We made it up so he would look creepy and be forced to abandon the charade of doing this to Ashley's wedding."
"That's our wedding, Sweetie."
"That's not how I recall it being referenced," said Jeff.
"It was implied."
"It was vaguely referred to as an occasionally useful fiction."
His understanding was not flawed.
The lunch conversation turned considerably lighter.
I had a high level of confidence that my father would scrap his plans. The failure to use my name in the fake press release conveyed the impression that he valued me only as a tool of business.
We had carefully positioned the word "wedding" with gifts rather than with "couple" to make it more impersonal. We characterized the event as a "test wedding" making it sound almost as if we were not really getting married.
Suggesting that the wedding would wind up costing my father nothing reinforced the impression my life was of no interest to him except as a vehicle to build his business.
The bit about the bank logos we made up. It seemed like something that ought to be included in a strictly business setting but was ghastly for a wedding.
The coup de grace was "A Fine Bank Wedding®." In other circumstances it would have made an effective trademark. In conjunction with the test wedding of his anonymous daughter to an unreferenced groom it was just crass and tasteless.
We had discussed the possibility he would simply eschew everything but the certificates. But Jeff and I had feigned enthusiasm for helping Dad carry out his plans by adding all those nice touches and we didn't believe he could manage to position it as anything other than a repudiation of our efforts on his behalf.
I felt just barely guilty. It would be wildly inaccurate to say I almost felt guilty. Even though what we had done was pretty rotten, Dad deserved it.