Metal Gear Board Meeting

February 11, 2010

Metal Gear was launched in 1987, and helped introduce the stealth game genre, which it would repeatedly perfect over the next 20 years. Its hero was Solid Snake, a seasoned soldier dispatched to foil enemy schemes by way of stealth. Snake was at his best when he was sneaky; hiding from enemies in boxes, donning disguises and generally  remaining unseen were the calling cards of a successful Metal Gear player. Brashness and bravado attracted the attention of enemy soldiers, and attention attracted enemy gunfire.

In this story, however, we learn that there are worse ways for Snake to die to than a bullet to the head.

There are committees.   

Hello, everyone. Thanks again for coming. I know you’re all busy in the wake of the merger. Help yourself to a muffin. They’re organic and gluten-free. Looks like we need a couple more chairs in here. Trev, can you scoot across the hall and grab a couple more chairs for us? Thanks, pal. Is that sun in your eyes, general? Let me draw the blinds. There we go.

Shall we get started?

You’re probably wondering who the heck I am and why I’m here. My name, gentlemen, is Brad Parnel and I’m a FamilyCorpTM Imagination Engineer. My job description says I ‘utilize creative thinking in the pursuit of paradigm shifts and the realignment of business platforms’, but that won’t fit on my card. In fact, I’m not even sure what that means, ha ha. Really, I’m just a problem solver hired by FamilyCorpTMto make things better.

As you know, FOXHOUND was purchased outright by FamilyCorpTM last month. Strange bedfellows, I know – a super secret paramilitary organization and a trusted manufacturer of household cleaners and family-friendly sundries since 1923 – but that’s the way it is. I can assure everyone in this room that FamilyCorpTM has no intention of changing the way FOXHOUND conducts business. War is your specialty, gentlemen, and Familycorp knows and respects that. But FamilyCorpTM thinks there’s room for improvement. There always is. And that’s what we’re here to talk about. This isn’t a lecture, and no one’s getting fired. We’re going to have an open and honest dialogue about the direction FOXHOUND is headed in now that it’s part of the FamilyCorpTM family.

But first, let me introduce the rest of my team.

This little lady is Julie Hannigan, strategic planner. What you gentlemen do in war, she does in business; she assesses the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses and forms a plan of attack. Judy helped tieclasps.com drive tieclasps.edu out of business. Don’t let her sweet smile fool you – she’s a terror. Just be glad she’s on our side.

And this lanky lad is Trevor Shelswell. We excuse his long hair and perpetual razor misplacement because he’s a creative type.  Trev’s a very talented young man with some very good ideas. Are you all familiar with Hugsy, the FamilyCorpTM bear? Trev came up with Hugsy. Wrote the FamilyCorpTM jingle, too. You’ll be seeing a lot of Trev in the next little while.

Now that we’re all friends, let’s get started, shall we?

Solid Snake, gentlemen. Solid Snake.

Gentlemen, you have done an exceptional job training and managing the man known as Solid Snake. Really, you have. He is FOXHOUND’s best known, most important asset. In fact, he’s outgrown his status as a simple soldier and become something much bigger. He’s become a brand, hasn’t he? Just like Coca-Cola has outgrown its status as a fizzy brown soft drink. FamilyCorpTM wants to maximize the Solid Snake brand, gentlemen, in order to take Snake and FOXHOUND to the next level. But to do this, we’re going to make a few changes to how Snake looks and the way he operates. Small changes. Tweaks, we’ll call them. In the end, this is going to make Snake that much better.

Let’s start with the way he looks. Trev, bring up that slide, will you?

These, gentlemen are Snake’s current uniforms. Grey. Green. Dark grey. Khaki. Black. And some light grey. Great camoflague, but boring. I’d like to show you what Snake could look like. Trev, do you have those illustrations? Thanks, bud.

Keep in mind, gentlemen, these are just initial concepts.

I see plum. I see crimson. I see canary. I see aqua blue. I see pink. Yes, pink, gentlemen. It can be very masculine. I see marigold. I see violet. I see magenta. Eye-catching, isn’t it? Look how these uniforms ‘pop’ compared to those drab ones. And they make the viewer feel better, too. Bright colours make people happy. And I’m sure Snake wouldn’t mind wearing something with a little more pizzazz.

What’s that, Corporal? Why, yes, you can see these from a hundred feet away. And that’s exactly what we want. The first step in getting people to love your brand is getting their attention. Good point, Corporal. You recognize a good idea when you see it, and I like that.

Speaking of being recognized, let’s talk logos.

I’d be the first to agree that Snake’s a pretty cool guy. He’s in the jungle, he’s sneakin’ around, he’s blowing things up. Awesome. But lemmie ask you something: how do we know Snake works for FOXHOUND? I mean, the colourful uniform will get people’s attention, but once we have it, how do we maximize FOXHOUND’s association with him? Let people know he works exclusively for us and not, say, the army? Or the marines? The answer is our logo. Trev, do you have those sketches? Thanks, pal.

Bear in mind these are just rough.

Boom! Big FOXHOUND logo on the back of the uniform. Boom! Big FOXHOUND logo in the front. Boom! Boom! Big FOXHOUND logo on either shoulder.

Every time Snake slits a throat or plants some C4, he’s essentially saying ‘This throat slitting brought to you by FOXHOUND, makers and trainers of elite super soldiers.’

That’s branding, gentlemen, plain and simple. We’ve even included FOXHOUND’s website and phone number in case people want to learn more. Notice, too, there’s lots of room left for corporate partnership logos. I’ve talked to Ron Temple over at C Plus – you know Ron –  and they’re very interested in doing business with us. They’d pay plenty for a C Plus logo on Snake’s headband. Maybe have him carry a 2 litre bottle of C Plus around. Then, when someone spots him on a surveillance camera, they say ‘Hey, there’s a highly-trained killing machine trying to infiltrate our base. And he’s drinking a C Plus. I think I’ll have a C Plus.’

I beg your pardon, Sergeant? Why, yes, he would look like a NASCAR driver. You’re right. Judy, do you know offhand how much NASCAR made last year? Two hundred million? Wow. Looks like NASCAR is the game to beat, eh? Good point, Sergeant. Your comments have been heard.

Speaking of hearing, let’s talk about this ‘Codec’ thing.

Codec is a beautiful piece of proprietary technology. Lets Snake talk to home base. Nice. But could it be nicer? We think so. What if – and this is just a thought – what if it wasn’t just Snake who could hear the Codec? What if we made those frequencies available to anyone who wanted to hear them? Let people listen to Snake anytime they like? Sort of like Big Brother on the radio. Show everyone that Snake’s a regular guy with problems like everyone else. He doesn’t always get along with his coworkers, he hates his job, that sort of thing. Maybe he starts a little Codec romance Meredith. If we make all Codec communications available on iTunes at ninety-nine cents a pop, we’ll be rich. We can do real-time broadcasts, too: ‘Live from under a seemingly empty cardboard box, Snake arguing with Otacon!’ And say we broadcast some music on there. Frequency 141.5: Easy listening. 143.2: Classic rock. 148.93: Country. And with Twitter, the enemy can literally follow Snake’s every move.

What’s that, Lieutenant? Yes, we would be allowing the enemy to listen in on every conversation we had with Snake. And once they do that, they’ll start talking about him. And then we’ve literally got people talking about our brand. Word of mouth is very important. Good point. You’re a man with a strong opinion, and I salute you for it.

Speaking of strong opinions, let’s talk research.

Our research indicates that Snake’s weakest demographic is Enemy Soldiers, ages 18 -59. Look at these numbers. Of Enemy Soldiers polled, 23.15% found Snake ‘very unlikable’, 21.76% said they ‘hated’ him, and a whopping 55.09% had no idea who he was at all! Those are Carrot Top numbers, gentlemen, and they have to change.

To achieve that, Snake needs to stop hiding all the time. From now on, he doesn’t hide, and he doesn’t carry weapons. Instead, he marches – no, walks –  right up to the enemy and introduces himself. Nothing fancy, just ‘Hi, I’m Snake. Nice to meet you. I’m on a top secret mission, mind if I look around?’ Then he gives them a FamilyCorpTM coupon book worth over $30, drinks a C Plus and goes about his business. A brief but friendly interaction that introduces Snake as the ambassador of the FamilyCorpTM/FOXHOUND brand with a value-added consumer purchase incentive. Simple as that.

What’s that, Captain? Why, yes, Snake does visit some of the most war torn places in the world. And diplomacy and coupons will win our enemies over much quicker than bombs and bullets. Great thought, captain. You clearly have the sort of wisdom that can only come with age.

Speaking of not having much time left, let me get quickly to my final point. Merchandising.

Destroying the walking nuclear arsenal known as ‘Metal Gear’ has been Snake’s raison de etre for some time now. And God bless him. Those Metal Gears are terrible machines. Wait, did I say ‘terrible’? Because I meant ‘Awesome’.  I meant ‘Cool’ I meant ‘Something every kid ages 5 – 11 with guardians earning between 30K and 79K will want for Christmas’.

Trev, do you have those prototypes? Thanks.

Gentlemen, behold, the FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset. Complete with Metal Gear Attack Pod, Revolver Ocelot Handgun, kids-sized FOXHOUND MREs and, of course, Solid Snake Action Figure with Deathgrip death grip. Retails for $159.99.

Listen: It goes hoola-hoop, Tickle Me Elmo, FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset. Every kid who doesn’t get this toy is going to cry and every parent who doesn’t buy one is going to feel guilty.

Pardon, Major? Yes, it is somewhat hard to imagine this kind of thing happening. That’s why we made this commercial.

Judy, get the lights. Trev, roll it.

FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset Commercial – :30 seconds

EXTERIOR – SUBURBAN HOME

We see a young BOY playing with a toy car. He looks very bored.

Suddenly, SNAKE drops from a tree.

BOY

Wow! Solid Snake!

SNAKE

It’s time to get serious about playtime!

We see a CU of the BOY’s toy car as SNAKE crushes it under his boot.

He gives the BOY the FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset.

BOY

Wow! The FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset!

We see the BOY playing with the FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset.

MUSIC: HEAVY METAL, UP AND UNDER

SINGERS

 FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset!

FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset!

FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset!

FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset!

The music stops abruptly as DAD comes out of the house.

DAD

Stop playing with your FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset and clean your room!

SNAKE creeps up behind DAD and snaps his neck.

DAD crumples to the ground. The BOY kicks the corpse.

BOY

Fuck you, old man!

We cut to a product shot of the FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset.

ANNCR

FamilyCorpTM Metal Gear Action Playset comes with everything you see here. You put it together. From FamilyCorpTM, a Family Corporation.

 

We’re still playing with the levels, but when this thing hits the air we are going to own the toy aisle, gentlemen. We –

Beg your pardon, General? Why, yes, you should be outraged. Outraged it’s taken this long to realize Snake’s potential as a revenue-generating category leader. Fantastic point. But I see a lot of skeptical faces in the room, so before you draw our side arms, let’s look at one final slide.

Judy, do you – please, gentlemen, remain seated – do you have that slide? Thanks.

This, gentlemen, is the revenue we expect Snake to generate in the twelve months following the changes we’ve talked about.

Wow! That quieted the room down, didn’t it? Ha ha. That’s a lot of zeros, gentlemen, just for making a few small changes in the way we operate. And that’s all they are, gentlemen, is small changes. Call me an incurable optimist, but I think Snake will actually embrace this new way of thinking. After all, it’s going to make him a household name.

Speaking of names, we should change his code name to ‘Solid Koala’, or something cute. People hate snakes.

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