Laster Chocolate Inc. headquarters was at the end of Chocolate Road, a long stretch of a pristine pavement lined with twisted cedar trees in the backcountry of Pennsylvania.
At the edge of the drive stood a place that felt like it had traveled from the past. A massive parking lot and small campus sat right next to each other. The small campus was dotted with buildings that looked like they had all been dragged from somewhere else. The main building was a huge red brick structure, with a glass door entrance that had the words Laster Chocolate Inc. printed on it.
The building itself was empty except for a small group sitting together in a conference room at the back.
Everyone had severe looks and were gathered around a sturdy silver conference table. Chilled air flowed down from the vents above.
â€œThere is no way that is happening.â€ The CEO in a black suit, sitting at the end of the table, stood up and pounded his foot onto the silver surface. â€œdo you think I got these $1,000 Gucci Ornament Standard High-Def Shoes by contributing to charitable causes?â€
The Board of Directors looked around at each other, everyone thinking the same thing. Then they lied.
â€œThatâ€™s a good point, sir.â€ The man in a faded black suit spoke at the CEOâ€™s side. On a tightrope, the man descended into his own fantasy. â€œI believe those shoes look great, and charitable contributions could be a bad idea.â€
â€œGood, can we agree to stop having meetings where you all ambush me.â€
The opposition around the table crumbled, and they slumped into their seats as a thunderous bang, carried from outside somewhere, shook the room. The group of suits gathered around to see out the window. In that next instant, all their phones went off.
â€œWhat do you mean the Chocolate Lab Exploded?â€
â€œChocolate Lava is spilling out into the streets?â€
â€œAll the visitors are taking free samples? Stop them!â€
The CEO spoke over everybody, â€œEveryone, get off your phone. Youâ€™re at work!â€
They put their phones back into their pockets.
â€œOkay, so who can help us manage when we appear in newspapers and create content for our website around all the positive media coverage we receive. Is there a group of people who publish media and press we can reach out to? Maybe a person with a Rolodex of contacts and outreach opportunities.â€
The man in the faded black suit suggested, â€œwhy donâ€™t we hire a PR agency?â€
â€œHm..” The boss thought for a second then replied, “that is a stupid idea.â€
The man in the faded black suit agreed, â€œperhaps we can Google It.â€
â€œHold on, let me tell Pam to do that.â€ The CEO took out his phone, â€œGoogleâ€¦.â€
â€œWhat should she Google?â€ he asked out loud.
â€œSir, perhaps I can show you my phone.â€
â€œStop it, just let me finish typing.â€ The CEO finished his message, â€œHow to get press coverage.â€
The room stood in silence until he barked one last command before exiting the room. â€œDonâ€™t do anything. I will handle all of this.â€
What followed from that meeting happened to be some of the best press coverage that Laster Chocolatetm had ever received. The CEO decided to handle the press coverage himself, and that was a great decision. Because the press shined a positive light on the company because of their lack of action.
While the media ate up the free chocolate and decided in their hysterical sugar high to crown the Laster Chocolate the best chocolate that ever existed, they also dropped the breaking news that Chocolate from the factory was now Free to all visitors.
All the articles across the entire world read glamorous statements like, â€œFree Chocolate Explosion Event at Laster Chocolate Company.â€
â€œAfter a No Comment, Laster Chocolate Declares Chocolate Mountain Free for All Visitors.â€
The CEO mistook the sudden burst of attention as a positive reflection of his acumen.
He spent the next month off and decided that his subordinates would handle the entire mess. Of course, their daily routines provided plenty of distraction and provided a solid excuse for why they ignored the gently dwindling pile of chocolate.
As each day passed, more and more chocolate was stolen freely and out in the open. And the press shouted the fact far and wide.
Until finally, when the CEO returned from his long extravagant vacation, the accountant had some rather unfortunate news for him.
The CEO slunk back in his chair. â€œWhat do you mean?â€
â€œWell, since the chocolate pouring out of our factory became free, we havenâ€™t made a sale in over a month.â€
â€œBut we had thousands of visitors.â€ The CEO grabbed at his hair.
â€œYeah, none of those were paying visitors.â€
â€œOh god,â€ the CEO looked here and there but found very little help after that. He was stripped; stripped of his cars, houses, expensive clothes, glowing skin, impressive presence, bravado, blood, lust, and his future, until nothing was left, but a man shoved between a crack in the sidewalk, breathing into the earth.