International Home Foods Inc. 80 Tiverton Court, Suite 600 Markham, Ontario L3R OG4 Canada
Dear International Home Foods:
My friend David had a cockroach problem. While David still suffers from problems, cockroaches are no longer one of them–and it is all because of Pam cooking spray! I do not know if you have cockroaches in Canada–I have never seen them traveling north in V formation. They are quite common here in the United States. As anyone who has battled cockroaches can testify, the critters are quick! David is pretty quick too, though he was not quick enough to qualify as a contestant on the New Hollywood Squares. Is it a wonder he has problems?
Be it a rolled-up newspaper, brick, or broomstick, cockroaches get out of the way fast. In the film The Karate Kid, martial arts master Mr. Miagi teaches young Daniel to catch a fly with chopsticks as a lesson in speed and agility.
Without any realization of the historical weight of his decision, David sprayed Pam in the cockroaches’ path. With their traction hampered, it was “Wham, bam, thank you, Pam!” David repeated the procedure until it was clear to the cockroach community that its presence in his kitchen would no longer be tolerated.
I understand that “Pam: Cooking and Roach Spray” might be a turnoff to consumers. You might consider marketing the spray separately as the “Pammer-Slammer.” Included with the bottle would be a plastic or wooden “slammer.” Since cockroaches are perceived as an urban problem, the “Pammer-Slammer” could be not just a means to a roach’s end, but a new and essential part of the urban lifestyle. The inner-city father and son may not be able to shoot deer in November, but they can slam cockroaches year round (without a license)! When Betty and Ben aren’t slam dancing, they’re slamming roaches with Pam, etc. . . .
I realize that a discovery of this magnitude does not occur every day. It will certainly take a lot of hard work before the “Slammer” is a reality for consumers. In the meantime, I will be more than happy to answer any of your technical questions regarding the “Slammer” or the marketing ideas I have expressed.
Yours always, Kenneth Cleaver
Dear Mr. Cleaver,
Thank you for your recent letter. We are always delighted when our consumers take the time to let us know how much they enjoy our products.
As interesting as your idea sounds, legal considerations prevent us from accepting any ideas not developed by our test kitchen or advertising agency. We are therefore required to return your letter with our response to you.
Thank you once again for contacting International Home Foods.
International Home Foods (Canada) Inc. S. Henry Consumer Affairs
From the August 30-September 5, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.