MEMORANDUM From: Assistant Vice President, Nike Thailand Division To: Administrative Director, New Product Development Re: New Product Idea Simple concept: Nike Mail-Order Brides. Sit and think about that one while I elaborate. As the AVP for operations here in Thailand for the past year and a half, it's occurred to me that we're seriously underutilizing the resources available here. Our factories are generating large margins, thanks mostly to a workforce composed of prepubescent children whom we pay in grapes. But we've only tapped into a small part of the revenue potential of this country. Out here, there are thousands, millions even, of young, nubile, desperate women, many of whom sell their bodies for money, most of whom are willing to trade it all in for a chance to start over in a better place. That's one of the benefits of establishing an oligopoly in these impoverished, Third World nations-women like this are nearly limitless in supply. [Note: We could talk to the United Nations about possibly outsourcing to China or India to diversify our product line] This would be a golden opportunity for us to increase our market share among the 12-18 years old demographic. As they mature, they will move into our target market, the 18-42 years old zone, and it makes sense for us to invest the time and energy into the product to get them hooked early. Youngsters at that age have typically begun exploring the mysteries of sex, by either reading the Kinsey study, spending long, lonely hours herding sheep, or oil wrestling in the nude with their sisters. By acknowledging that, and pandering to it, we can develop brand loyalty. After all, who wants to date these days? It's expensive, it's time-consuming, it's distracting, and it's pretty damn hard, given the active lifestyles of youngsters these days. So we provide them with an irresistible alternative: the Nike mail-order bride. A body that meets World Health Council standards with a name they can trust. Probably tattoo a trademark swoosh on the wrists or ankles for visibility. Physical defects or late-manifesting diseases that were not incurred after purchase would be covered under a one-year, limited warranty. A selling point would the values of the more traditional women of the region. Good homemakers and cooks, respectful, and deferential to men. And the commitment to family values-"Why take your chances on women you've only known for a couple of years in a country with a divorce rate greater than 50 percent when you can buy a satisfaction-guaranteed Nike mail-order bride raised in a country where only 1 out of every 25 marriages ends in divorce?" We can work on the wording. We can also toss in a lot of mutually beneficial perks. The Nike mail-order bride would essentially be a Priority Gold credit card that satisfies the customer's every need. After having a little Asian for dessert, the customer can lie in bed while the Nike bride whispers advance word about special seasonal and clearance sales in his ears. Discount Valentine's weekend getaways to Niketown, U.S.A. It would be direct salesmanship at unheard-of levels, customer satisfaction to an unbeatable extreme. For decades, it has been an industry axiom that sex sells sports. Why shouldn't sports sell sex?
From: Administrative Director, New Product Development To: Assistant Vice President, Nike Thailand Division Re: New Product Idea Thank you very much for taking the time to share your ideas with our office. It is our belief that without crystalline channels of communication between all levels of our company, imagination can never be fostered, ingenuity can never be rewarded, and profits can never be realized. Past ventures have proven that retail sex is an especially tricky market to enter. Our office has shied away from carnal ventures for three main reasons: -Unavoidable dealings with disreputable characters -Anticipated damage to our cross-selling efforts -Guaranteed witless puns based upon our company motto The second possibility most seriously jeopardizes our long-term growth potential. As a company, we have made a concerted effort to appear "woman-friendly," marketing an entire line of merchandise exclusively for women, sponsoring female sports and sports stars, and advertising directly to the female market. Regrettably, many of these consumers would not perceive your idea for what it is, namely, a marketing joint venture; instead, they would perceive it as corporate complicity in the continued objectification and oppression of women in lesser-developed nations. Our office must thus decline to pursue your proposal. Your memorandum did catalyze another logic train for our analysts, as follows: Nike surrogate mothers. "Perfect for the active Nike woman who can't afford to let a baby ruin her career." Please investigate the feasibility of large scale surrogate embryo transfer to Thai women. Check whether more cost-beneficial for Nike to pursue hostile takeover of Thailand's health industry. We look forward to hearing from you soon.