The earthen floors of traditional huts throughout southern Africa have a cement-like texture and a luster that endures for centuries. What’s the answer? From Zambia to Mozambique, from Botswana to Zimbabwe, villagers apply heated cow dung mixed with ground-up termite mound once a week to their floors.
It conjures up a phone dialogue, a la Bob Newhart: "Uh, hello there. Is this an ad Agency?"
"Yeah. We can sell anything."
"Well, I've just gotten back from southern Africa where I discovered a marvelous new product for American homes."
"Lay it on me!"
"This floor wax is so super that its shine lasts for centuries. It's called 'ndove' in the Shone language. Not only that, it’s biodegradable."
"No impact reports. No picketing. Wow! Let's work out a kickoff."
"There's more!!! There are production facilities already in the United States. People want to give it away."
"Buddy, you have handed me the adman's dream. Talk big, Baby. New. Improved. Outshines. What goes into this wonder wax anyway? We may want to work out a name that combines all its exotic ingredients. We could really pile it on."
"Well, that's pretty apt. It has just two ingredients: cow dung and termite mound."
(Long, long pause.) "… I mean really. What's in it?"
"I mean really. It's in use all over southern Africa. I've seen the results."
"Why me? Of the ad agencies on Google, why me?"
"But, but … Aren't you the ad agency that can sell anything?"
"Uh, sure … er … ah … But you only have one color. How could I market this? American homes have floors in all shades. Besides, how could a new mom-in-law give advice to the bride – with a straight face – that cow dung and termite mound will make her the envy of the neighborhood? We’re awfully busy right now, writing unrehearsed comments for television commercials about laundry detergent."
"So, I guess I'm out of luck."
"No! No! Hang with me. I'm still on your side. Have you tried our competitors down the street? Bait, Switch & Flee. They're always nosing around for clients."