Mild-mannered by day, our newest Pivoteers share a not-so-secret love of superhero stories. Account manager Jordan collects comic books, and in high school, he shot a seven-part superhero saga with friends. Writer Jane is partial to X-Men movies, and she once made a Wonder Woman costume out of duct tape for a school project.
When the dynamic duo joined our league of marketing heroes this week, we asked them about their superhero alter egos. Jordan, who used to run cross country, says he’d pick super speed and call himself “The Spark.” Jane says she’d go by “Little Firecracker” and would choose flight as her superpower.
“Telepathy would be a close second,” she adds. “But knowing everyone’s thoughts all the time might not be a good thing.”
Jordan says he sees a parallel between marketing and comic books. Just as an illustrator chronicles a superhero’s adventures, Pivot gets to tell consumers about its clients. “Brands have compelling stories. They can solve problems and do powerful things,” he explains.
Jane agrees. “As a writer, I get to help the good guys win,” she says. “Somebody’s got to tell their stories. Think about it: Spider-Man and Superman both work for newspapers.”
To celebrate our newest team members, we present the first installment of “The Pivoteers” in all its campy glory:
It’s another beautiful day in Circle City. The bustling metropolis thrums with the sounds of commerce and social initiative. Aboveground, citizens pass to and fro, stopping occasionally to patronize food trucks or take pictures with the I Am Indy statues.
In Fountain Square we find our heroes. The Pivoteers are enjoying another wonder-filled day on Virginia Avenue. Joshua snacks on a cookie from Calvin Fletcher’s, and Ryan is photoshopping Derek’s headshot onto a unicorn.
Little do our heroes know what lurks beneath them. From his underground lair in the heart of Circle City, ne’er-do-well Dr. Wheelie is plotting an evil attack. He cackles with glee as his paw hovers over an ominous red button.
“It’s brilliant! Brilliant, I tell you!” He thrusts his paw down, pressing the button and setting in motion a chain of events that threatens the very existence of The Pivoteers.
Meanwhile back in the office, the account managers are preparing to call clients when the cell network suddenly cuts out.
“Hey, what gives?” Union looks up from his phone.
“Yeah,” Katie chimes in as Kelly nods nervously. “I have zero bars.”
“And the internet’s out!” Jordan says, panic creeping into his voice. “How are we supposed to communicate with anyone?”
At that very moment, two gigantic cubes burst through Pivot’s windows. They tumble through the office and collide with writers Dawn and Jane.
“Help! Help! It’s Writer’s Blocks!” Dawn shouts.
“Can’t. Find. Words,” Jane whimpers.
“Designers, assemble!” Creative director Ryan barks, “Help your fellow creatives!”
Melissa, Josh, and Derek rush to help the writers, but before they can reach Dawn and Jane, an army of letters floods through the broken windows and halts their progress.
“I can’t bear to look,” Melissa hides her face in her hands.
“For the love of Stefan Sagmeister,” Derek cries.
“It’s … it’s …” Josh almost can’t bring himself to speak the words. He swallows hard. “It’s Comic Sans.”
True to their nature, the strategists cluster together to formulate a plan, but before they can gather a focus group, a mass of gray blobs descends upon them.
“What are those?” Erin squints at the shapes around her.
“Their faces … they’re so, so indistinct.” Jonathan’s voice quavers.
“We’re in serious trouble, you guys,” Joshua says gravely. “I’ve dealt with these before. They’re Undefined Audience Members.”
The Undefined Audience Members close in on the cowering strategists as the Writer’s Blocks pummel Jane and Dawn into a corner. The army of Comic Sans starts arranging itself in a rainbow gradient.
Melissa screams in pain. “My eyes are burning!”
All seems lost, but Pivot’s fearless leaders look to each other.
“We’ve got to do something,” says Jenn.
Keri nods. “It’s time to pull out the big guns.”
Together, they race to the back of the office. Just beyond the conference room, a massive machine rests against the wall. Its silver panels gleam, covered in buttons and levers of all colors.
“There it is.” Jenn takes a deep breath.
“The BrainStorm 3000.” Keri’s voice is low and reverent.
“Think we’re ready for this?”
“It’s our only choice.”
As Jenn engages the imagination lever, Keri turns a large dial labelled “Collaboration.” The panel’s lights turn on. Meters on the side bob up and down, and a large interior fan begins to whir as the machine heats up.
“It’s working! It’s working!” But no sooner has Jenn said this than the machine begins to falter. Its meters drop, and its lights flicker.
“What’s wrong?” Keri’s voice rises an octave with fear. “Why isn’t it working?”
“It needs more firepower!” Jenn shouts. She turns to The Pivoteers, “Guys, come on! Think harder!”
“Research! We need research!” Joshua cries, “Somebody send out a survey!”
“And we’re gonna need a content calendar!” Dawn screams as a Writer’s Block pins her to the ground.
“Guys, I’ve got it!” Kelly calls out, “We’ll use carrier pigeons!” The account managers cheer.
“Hey, Comic Sans,” Melissa taunts. “Meet my friend, Helvetica!”
As The Pivoteers keep spouting ideas, their collective imagination forms a cloud of psychic energy. The BrainStorm 3000 sputters back to life. As it does, a gray tornado emerges from the top of the machine.
“I’ve never seen a BrainStorm that big!” Jenn’s eyes are wide as she watches the tornado spin away from the machine.
It swirls through the office, restoring cell and internet service. Then it heads toward Wheelie’s minions, knocking the Writer’s Blocks, the Comic Sans army, and the Undefined Audience Members out of the way.
A cheer rises from The Pivoteers. “We’re saved!” Kelly shouts.
All is well again on Virginia Avenue as The Pivoteers return to work. Joshua pulls out cookies to share with the rest of the office, and Ryan decides to morph Derek’s face together with a three-legged sloth.
Underground, Wheelie hisses with rage. “Blast you, Pivoteers!” He raises a fisted paw to the air, then punches a cat toy off his desk. “Thwarted again.”
He seethes, pacing around the lair. But his moment of desperation is over as soon as it begins.
“I’ll just have to be smarter next time,” he vows. “Back to the drawing board.”
On the next installment of The Pivoteers: Wheelie hatches a plan to steal the I Am Indy statues. Can the strategists track down the stolen goods, or will Wheelie finally triumph over The Pivoteers?
Tune in next time to see. Same blog time, same blog channel.