University Marketing: A Short Story

The Marketing team are huddled around a box of new prospectuses…

Ben: Is it CMA compliant?

Emma: Fuck off!

Ben: We can’t give that out at UCAS fairs.

Sal: Who signed off the copy?

Blank faces

Camera zooms in on prospectus. The Head of Physics has been captioned as “Prof Massif C. Unt”.

Mark: It was meant to be a joke between me and Emma. I just forgot to remove it before sending the artwork to the printers.

(Editor’s note: You already get a sense of the story’s realism.)

The Director walks into the office. Everyone slowly walks back to their desk. Emma follows the Director into her office.

Director: Right, the VC has said burn the boxes, and we’ll order a fresh lot.

Emma: Bit of a problem, the printers have sent a box to the Bolton UCAS fair for today, and we can’t get hold of Dave.

Director: Shitter. Right, book a fucking Uber.

Cut to UCAS Fair. Dave is showing his Nokia 3310 to the team from Hull.

Cut to the Uber, pulled up on the side of the M62. Emma is being sick. The Director is downing her third Marks and Spencers Mojito.

Director: Fuckinhurryupemmaughh

(Editor’s note: I think I captured the unfolding drama in the Director’s voice. This is my second favourite line of the story.)

Cut to UCAS Fair. Dave forgot the table cloth, so is laying out paper towels on his table.

Two hours later, the Uber pulls up.

Driver: That’ll be £200.

The Director pays on the work credit card, and heads into the Bolton International Conference Centre with Emma.

Salford Recruitment Officer: Can I scan your barco…

Director: Fuck off.

(Editor’s note: I like to include swearing in my stories, especially from senior managers. It gives an uncanny sense of realism.)

Dave is sat down playing Snake.

Director: DAVE!

Dave: Oh shit, what are you doi…

Emma: How many prospectuses have you given out?

Dave: Ummm, dunno, ‘bout 17 or whateva.

Director: We need to get them all back before this shit hits Twitter.

Dave: What hits what now?

Director: Right you two, cover the exits. Give anyone carrying a Bantshire prospectus a £20 Amazon voucher, and get it back. I’m off to find the tannoy system.

Dave: What’s happening?

Emma: Turn to Physics.

Dave: Christ on a bike.

(Editor’s note: I originally had this as ‘Christ on a fucking bike’ but thought it was too strong.)

Director, on the tannoy system: Congratulations, yeah? If you have picked up a Bantshire prospectus you have won an iPad! Come and see us at stand 23.

Twenty minutes later…

Emma: Right, we’ve had 15 returned.

Director: And we’re now £3,000 overspent on our UCAS budget.

Emma: Dave, check Twitter for us mate.

Dave: Have I shown you my Nokia 3310?

Director, looking at her phone: Shit, too late. ‘Physics at Bantshire’ is trending.

Essex Recruitment Team: Sup guys, can I scan your barco…


Director: Find out who sent the original tweet.

Emma: It was a lad called @BuffPecks22.

(Editor’s note: I considered setting up a @BuffPecks22 Twitter account and tweeting a Photoshop of the prospectus mistake, but it seemed like a lot of extra effort. The account is still available if anyone wants it.)

The Director calls the office: Yeah, it’s me, yeah, bollocks, yeah, I know. Look up @BuffPecks22 in the CRM. If you find him, offer free tuition fees if he puts out a new tweet to say that his original picture was photoshopped. Ok, cheers.

Dave: Anyone fancy a Nando’s?

(Editor’s note: Originally had this as ‘a Stuffed Crust’, but Nando’s has more of an exotic vibe to it.)

Director, still on her mobile: Yeah, what? Bollocks. Ok, bye.

Director: They’ve accidentally emailed all 6,392 applicants offering free tuition.

Dave: Is that @BuffPecks22 over there, wearing the Burberry cap?

Emma: That’s him, yeah.

Director: Fucking prat!

The Director charges at @BuffPecks22 and tackles him into the canal.

Emma: Fucking hell!

Dave’s Nokia rings.

(Editor’s note: Dave conveniently now had mobile signal.)

Dave: Yeah, ok, cheers.

Dave: Turns out, they didn’t press send on that email.

Director, climbing out of the canal: He got away, fucking leg it.

(Editor’s note: By this point I have no idea what I was typing, but I’d taken it too far not to finish the story. So I banged back a few cans and carried on.)

Back in the Bolton International Conference Centre, the Director is drying off in the loos. Emma and Dave are watching BBC News 24 in the reception area. The Director’s photo flashes up.

Twenty minutes later, cut to the loos. The Director is on the phone to the University’s Erasmus+ coordinator.

Director: I don’t care where too, I just need plane tickets for today.

Emma and Dave, now back outside, see @BuffPecks22 walking back down the canal, still dripping.


Emma runs towards him, trips over some rope, and accidentally shoulder charges @BuffPecks22 back into the canal.

@BuffPecks22: Blurghhhhh!

(Editor’s note: That’s my favourite line of the story.)

@BuffPecks22, climbing back out: Alright, yeah? I’ll delete me tweet.

Emma: Nice one, yeah? Here’s a £20 voucher for your troubles.

Back in an Uber and heading back to Bantshire, Emma checks Twitter.

Emma: Our Twitter storm has been replaced with Essex having a go at York who are giving applicants unconditional offers via WiFi Kettles.

Cut to the Director, flying to The Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, Russia, for a six month Erasmus+ exchange.

The end.

(Editor’s note: Looking for someone to illustrate this for me, DM me on Twitter, yeah?)