RetroAnalysis: The Honeycomb Hideout


Disclaimer: The following post is a work of speculative fiction. Any similarities between the characters and events presented and real life are purely coincidental.

The scene: A psychiatrist’s office during some point in the 1970s. (You don’t need to imagine a room that resembles the office set from the old Bob Newhart Show, but that’s totally what the author had in mind.) A patient, who is the creative director at the advertising agency that has the Honeycomb cereal account, enters and begins his session with the psychiatrist, who bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Bob Hartley…but is just different enough for the author to avoid any kind of intellectual property law complications.

Psychiatrist: Welcome back. How have you been since our last session?

Creative Director: I’ve been busy, Doc. I’m working on a new cereal campaign.

Psychiatrist: Interesting. Today I thought it might be good if we talked a little more about that monomania issue we touched on last time.

Creative Director: Monomania, shmonomania! I don’t even know what that word means. All I know is I’ve got a big account and I have to give them a big idea.

Psychiatrist: Okay, since that seems to be on your mind, let’s talk about that. Tell me about this cereal.

Creative Director: It’s big. Yeah…big.

Psychiatrist: I see. What else can you tell me about it?

Creative Director: It’s not small. No, no, no. Not small.

Psychiatrist: Got it. What does it taste like?

Creative Director: It’s got a big, big taste.

Psychiatrist: Alright, but I mean the flavor. What does it…

Creative Director: I told you — it’s got a big taste. A big, big taste and a big, big bite. What else could you possibly want to know?

Psychiatrist: See, this is why I wanted to talk about your mono…

Creative Director: You listen here, Doc! You might have a wall filled with fancy degrees, but I refuse to sit here and have you suggest that Honeycomb cereal is not big! I will hold a ****ing tape measure up to that cereal and prove to you how big it is if I have to!

Psychiatrist: There’s no need for that. I believe that the cereal is big. Let’s just move on. Settle down and tell me about the commercial you’re making for this Honeycomb cereal.

Creative Director: (still hyperventilating) Okay, well it centers on these kids. They have a clubhouse. Except it’s really more of a hideout. We call it the Honeycomb Hideout.

Psychiatrist: A hideout? What are the children hiding from?

Creative Director: From big things. What else?

Psychiatrist: Big things?

Creative Director: Yeah, you know like big football players, big gangsters, big motorcycle thugs, big drill sergeants…

Psychiatrist: Oh, I see. Personifications of power and menace that are frequently encountered in our society.

Creative Director: …big circus strongmen…

Psychiatrist: I dunno about that one. Do kids nowadays even go to circuses?

Creative Director: …a big roller derby girl…

Psychiatrist: Seriously? That one really feels like a reach.

Creative Director: I was even thinking about doing some where the kids go back in time and get threatened by a caveman or a Roman charioteer.

Psychiatrist: Yeesh. You’re really testing the limits of my “unconditional positive regard” here. But anyway, I hope you can look at all these ideas and see that they are clearly manifestations of your deeply-held fears.

Creative Director: Fears. Ha! You wanna know what I’m afraid of? That ten years from now, some copywriter who inherits the account from me is going to get the bright idea to stick a stupid, superfluous robot in the Honeycomb Hideout for no good reason.

Psychiatrist: Yes, that would be unbelievably lame. Let’s hope it never happens. (Looks at watch) Well, it appears we’re out of time for today. I trust you’ll be back next week?

Creative Director: Yeah, when I come back I want to tell you about this crazy idea for a car design that my son is obsessed with and keeps talking about building some day. He calls it the Hummer…

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