In a bold new campaign the lighting product giant Lumivance has tapped into popular discontent using advertising techniques that their marketing department has come to describe as “literally viral.”
Vice President of Sales and Marketing Kenneth Forman explained the humble origins of the campaign: “We had this intern—he had a nose ring and some designery name I can’t remember—who was going on in the break room about police ‘pretext stops’ for things like broken tail lights. And so finally someone said, ‘Then why don’t you buy a bunch of lights and go replace them for people on the side of the road?’”
“For some reason, the intern thought it was a great idea.”
Former Lumivance intern Joran Thompson recounts his excitement: “I immediately identified this to be just the kind of stunt activism that we need in our community. I’m a member of a local anarchist organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and I know first hand how difficult it is to break into electoral politics. Even politics is too much for us right now.”
“A mutual aid program that allows us to repeatedly use the phrase ‘disproportionately affects people of color’ is the secret sauce we need to cook up some sweet, sweet praxis,” Thompson added.
Thompson went on to propose that his DSA local run a “Brake Light Repair Clinic” to prevent pretext stops and was floored by the enthusiastic reception. “Everyone started calling me a genius. It was great. There was someone who asked how precisely the clinic was a form of ‘mutual aid,’ and I replied by telling her to check her racism at the door at the next meeting. That was all she said thankfully.”
According to the event’s organizers, the repair clinic was a huge success. Chapter Vice Chair Donna Smith proudly reported, “We didn’t really talk to anyone, people just sort of came, got their tail light fixed, and then took off. But we did manage to use about 10% of the lights we bought, which was cool. And all of us feel much closer to the working class having done some manual labor.”
Lumivance salesperson Tina Greer spoke with Thompson after the event and was impressed by how excited his DSA chapter was to put on another repair clinic. “I asked him, ‘So there are these chapters all over the country?’ And he said, ‘yeah, like 200 or something.’ That was all I needed to know.”
Greer then approached Forman with a bold idea: encourage Thompson to spread the word about these “Brake Light Clinics” on social media, and send their other interns to DSA chapters around the country to propose similar clinics.
At first, Forman was skeptical that the idea would catch on. “I mean, it’s ridiculous, right? Cops pull over people cause of quotas and cause they’re racist, not cause of broken tail lights.” He eventually green-lighted the project after overhearing Thompson raving to his fellow interns about something called “dank praxis.”
“I don’t know, it was some phrase I had never heard before, and which I’m pretty sure doesn’t mean anything. But he was pretty excited. It almost seemed like he was insane.”
Soon “Brake Light Repair Clinics” were being run by DSA locals around the country, and Lumivance’s typically steady brake light sales saw a dramatic increase. “Usually only real auto stores carry any large supply of brake lights. Now we’ve got caches of unused bulbs sitting around in some DSA member’s apartment all over the country.”
Still, the campaign has not been without its downsides. “I mean, I’m happy we’re selling a bunch of lights, but it also feels pretty dirty. It really seems like the brake lights kids have gone a little nuts. That’s why we started calling it the ‘literally viral’ campaign. These people are sick or something.”
Greer expressed similar reservations. “Surely it can’t be a good thing that the next generation of leftists is bilking the working class with these YouCaring fundraisers so that they can play mechanic in the parking lot?”
Lumivance CEO Milton Alexander was unaware of the campaign but expressed little surprise at its success. “We capitalists have grown tired of being without a worthy opponent. Sure, I have a few houses because of unhampered exploitation, but I would give them up in a heartbeat for a half-decent contract negotiation.”
“I mean, why is it so easy to bait the left into symbolic acts demonstrating nothing but political impotence?” Alexander pondered a few possible historical explanations before concluding: “No, they’re just stupid.”