Bumped. - BN Eds.
[This is a spoof post. All persons and events are fictitious.]
The curious folder had been slid under the student reporter's door late at night, anonymously. The cover bore "Property of Morgan Center" and "Confidential" stamps. The first page said only "Mordida Enterprises." Inside were illustrations, at once vaguely familiar and yet not quite recognizable. Some of the illustrations were littered with what appeared to be doughnut crumbs and sprinkles.
The student, a young woman of about twenty, was shown to a chair in a windowless room, opposite a desk, and told to wait. Presently, a man in a navy blue, polyester warm-up suit, with an Adidas logo prominently displayed under his chin, entered and sat in a high-backed, leather chair behind the desk.
"Is it yours?" the student replied, holding the folder up.
"That's ours, all right. Where did you get it?"
"It was given to me anonymously," she said.
"Uh-huh. Well, you're not supposed to have it. Turn it over, please," he said.
"I will be glad to return it, but I would like you to answer a couple of questions first. OK?"
The man sighed. "I guess there's no harm in that, given you've already seen it. But, all of this is off the record. Capiche?" he said.
"I understand," she said. She took from her messenger bag an old-fashioned stenographer's notepad and a black, retractable Parker Jotter. "First, what is Mordida?"
"Mordida is a joint venture between the UCLA Morgan Center and Adidas. 'Mor' from 'Morgan Center,' 'dida' from 'Adidas.'"
"Are you aware that 'mordida' is a Spanish word?"
"Really? I didn't know that. What does it mean?"
"Well, literally, it means 'bite,' but, in Mexico, it is commonly used to mean something unflattering."
"Unintentional coincidence, I assure you. We just liked the sound of the word."
"What does Mordida do?" the student asked.
"Morgan partnered with Adidas to combine our expertise in marketing with their expertise in apparel design." replied the man. "Mordida intends to change the visual arts landscape."
"That's an ambitious mission. What makes you think you can pull it off?"
The man smiled knowingly. "Let's just say that we've got some secret weapons."
"Oh? Like what?" said the student.
"I can't say too much, but the partnership between Adidas and the Morgan Center is meant to capitalize on Adidas' inspired idea of 'visual allusion.'"
"Visual allusion? What's that?"
"Visual allusion is the replacement of an image or an icon or a symbol with a partial image, icon or symbol. The abbreviated image doesn't present the whole picture; it merely suggests it. It alludes to it."
"What is the point of showing a partial image?" she asked.
"It goes to the old show-biz wisdom of 'Leave 'em wanting more.' You take a widely recognized symbol, and you replace it with a fragment of itself. It's got enough of the original symbol in it to suggest the full picture, but leaves them wanting more. An example is the so-called UCLA stripes. Adidas' genius was to replace these unnecessarily long stripes with shorter, stripe stubs."
The student scribbled some notes. "But, many people liked the UCLA stripes the way they were. Won't people miss them?"
"No; that's the genius of it! It will take them a bit longer when they look at UCLA jerseys to form the complete picture of stripes in their minds, but the stripes are familiar enough to fans that they will see it, eventually. They will fill in the blanks. So, instead of just glancing at the stripes for a half-second, or not even noticing them at all, they stare at the stripe stubs for ten, fifteen, twenty seconds. Some people stare at them for even longer. So, instead of just having stripes on the jersey, 'stripe starters' are on the jersey and full stripes are in all the fans' minds! That's brilliant, no?"
Slack-jawed, the student stammered, "Ummm... Well..., I don't know..."
The man pointed to the folder, still in the student's hands. "The ideas in there are preliminary, mind you. They're still on the drawing board, so to speak, but they show you what a solid concept visual allusions are. Mordida wants to be the standard setter in visual allusions."
"I don't think you have to worry about that. I have seen no other Division I institution do anything similar," said the student. The student paged through the illustrations, which were titled "Samples, Prototypes."
University of Michigan:
St. Louis Rams:
The student handed the folder to the man. "Thank you for your time," she said.
"Remember: You didn't get this from me, right?" said the man.
"Ummm. Yeah, right. I don't even know who you are, actually."
"You can call me 'Mr. Stubs.' You know, for stripe stubs. We're real proud of those."
The student started to leave, but then turned hesitantly. "Pardon, Mr. Stubs. I wasn't sure how this meeting was going to go, but, in preparation, I created an illustration that employs visual allusion, too. Of course, I didn't know the term at the time. But, I think it reflects how many feel about the process you've undertaken." She handed a folded page to the man, turned, and left.
The man opened the page.