The Concept Catalog

Back when I was working at an invention marketing company, one of the ways we promoted the inventions was the annual publication of a Concept Catalog that was handed out at trade shows and mailed to manufacturers and so on.  Each invention got a quarter-page ad, written in a certain format: eye-catching headline, product name, 5 to 7 bullet points listing its advantages, and the reference number.  We writers churned out these ads (3 to 5 per hour) and sent them upstairs to the artists, who used clip-art and fonts and flourishes to try to make each ad look special.

This was rather draining.  Particularly when it was almost time to publish the catalog and we had to proofread all the ads, they began to swirl together and induce cackling insanity.  Working late one night, I swept my eyes too quickly across two adjacent ads for completely unrelated ideas and found myself reading a very funny sentence!  Then I went through the whole catalog making similar unholy creations, and the next morning everyone found this in their mailboxes:

Come on everybody
I say now let’s play a game
Let’s match up all those C.C. headlines
With the wrong invention names!

Looking for a better way to dry hair?  Try Pumpkin Lighter!

Customers cherish chicken salads with Bathtub Timer

A-1 Drywall Lifter:  A mystical journey in the Garden of Life

Token Toilet Tissue Dispenser:  A sexy new option for nighttime comfort

New Hospital Gown–because screaming isn’t always an option

JC Umbrella Screw:  Finally, a more comfortable way to wear glasses!

Too busy to feed the baby?  Try Mobile Urinal!

Easy Oil Draining System:  A dramatically different form of self-expression!

When jumping rope seems jaded, try Hand Held Food Slicer

Sanchez Hot Spicy Tortilla alleviates autumnal anxiety

Algebra Facilitator:  A new way to fight flames

Blood-Borne Defense Pack:  A terrific truck topper

Cellular Phone Accessories:  The non-threatening threat

Tired of being hampered by a cellular phone?  Try The Ultimate Wine Opener!

Mini Lint Vacuum lessens mealtime messes

Foam Breast Pad:  A heavenly way to be welcomed home!

All-Season Backpack:  Finally, an alternative to gauze and tape!

The Big Mouth:  Bedding for baby’s first year

Cupidtron gobbles up lawn garbage!

Butch’s Locking T-Nut:  The party game that could blossom into romance

Enjoy the breeze, not debris with Toilet Trainer 2000

Tired of ugly exercise machines?  Try Group Rotisserie!

Get lots of meat “done to a turn” with Maternity Bra

Lots o’Luck:  A great way for joggers to protect themselves

Nipple Protector keeps motorists within the law

Mormino’s Disposable Paper Bath Towel is the fire-fighting method of the future!

Furniture Appliance Extender:  A new way to honor the dead

Automatic Toilet Seat chases away bad dreams

Third Arm:  A satisfying, nutritious treat

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About 'Becca
author of The Earthling's Handbook, about the environment, parenting, cooking, and more!

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