ss Tricked & Exposed Ch. 11

ss Tricked & Exposed Ch. 11

Part 11

The next day, Tim walked into the office feeling on top of his game. He had only been running his satellite office for less than half a year, and it had already experienced early success. The first two ads in what he felt sure would be a breakthrough campaign had tested well with the focus group, and he fully expected that today's meeting would end with a green light for the series.

He was already experiencing the best of both worlds, when Danielle and Kurt had asked him and his employees to not just create the ads, but to be in them! It was a compliment to all of them - the campaign called for attractive people, so how could it not be flattering? - and it promised extra pay, with a potentially even larger payoff if the ads took off and went national.

And to top it off, he was especially lucky, because while his good-looking employees got to be in the ads too, they also had to worry about the amount of exposure that that would involve for them. For Tim, it was win-win. He got to experience every man's dream: to be surrounded by half-clothed women who wanted him and were throwing themselves at him!

So as he walked into his office and into the conference room that morning, he was all smiles.

His first surprise was to see that Shawna and the three women from the video team were already there, with a woman he'd never met before. When they saw him, Shawna waved him over to the newcomer. "Hello Tim. I'd like to introduce Sandy Holloman. She's our in-house demographic researcher, and a number crunching wizard."

Sandy was a petite, pretty, green-eyed strawberry blonde in her early 30s, with pale skin and an easy smile. She stuck out her hand and said, "It's so nice to meet you."

Tim took her hand, noticing that she had appeared to quickly look him up and down as he shook her hand. "You too."

Shawna said "Sandy has the buyers' profile info that we'd asked her to assemble, and I've got a report on the focus groups from yesterday. I'd suggest that we close the office for the next hour or more, while we go over everything."

"Sounds great," Tim said. He stepped back out into the main reception area.

"Julie, could you put the phones on voice mail?"

Julie nodded, and Tim walked past her, toward the front door. Before he got there, Danielle arrived, along with Kaitlyn, Mia and Anna. Tim opened the door for them. "Looks like the gang's all here."

"All except for Kurt," Danielle said. "He left this morning for an all-day meeting at corporate. But he'll be back late tonight, and I'll fill him in."

Tim flipped the sign in the door, and pulled it shut. "So it looks like it's ladies day around here."

"Except for our leading man," Mia said, and tilted her head in mock flirtation, batting her eyes.

Tim dropped his voice into a pseudo-pretentious bass register. "It's good to be the king!"

Everyone moved into the conference room. Sandy and Shawna were fiddling with the computer on the podium beside the head of the table, as Tim moved up to the first seat on the right, and the other women all took seats around the table. Tim said hello to Joy, Becky and Pam, and everyone made small talk for a few minutes.

Shawna had lowered the retractable screen at the front of the room, and the projector suspending from the ceiling under the table was switched on. Tim noticed that Shawna and Sandy were talking softly to each other, and that they each had sly smiles on their faces. Sandy looked up and caught him looking at her, and then laughed.

Tim thought that was strange, but before he could think more about it, the projector had warmed up enough that the screen lit up. Shawna had a hand-held clicker, and she got the meeting started.

Shawna walked them through the focus group results. "As expected, the ad did really well." She called up a slide which showed the video of the first ad, along with a line that went horizontally across the screen in time with the video. As she moved a button along the bottom of the screen to advance the video, everyone could see the results of the response meters that the focus group had used.

"Virtually every revealing moment when the women tried to get Tim's attention got high numbers on the response meters," Shawna said.

Tim looked at his employees, smiling. "I knew it! I told you girls that you looked great!"

Shawna next went through a few Powerpoint slides that summarized the response meter numbers, and then through a few screens with a synopsis of the written responses that the focus group had filled out. The most common descriptors were "funny," "sexy," and "clever."

"The only dark lining on the silver cloud," Shawna said "was that the ads both did much better with the male focus group members than with the females. The average of the males' ratings had each ad in the low 90s, while the females had them in the mid 60s."

"That's still pretty good, though," Danielle said.

"Yeah," Tim jumped in. "And even if it's a little off, that's not a big deal, because the ads really crushed it with our targeted male demographic, just as I knew it would." He crossed his arms over his chest, the picture of self-satisfaction.

Shawna and Sandy looked at each other, both with sneaky little smiles. "You're right. These numbers would normally be very strong. But speaking of our target demographic, Sandy has found some results that we hadn't expected. In fact, one key finding is serious enough that I'm afraid that we'll need to re-think the ads, and make one significant change."

Danielle sat up when she heard that, obviously concerned. Tim noticed her posture, and uncrossed his arms. "Our timeline is really tight," Danielle said. "And with those numbers, I can't imagine what would make us even consider re-shooting at this point."

"That was my first thought, too," Shawna said. "But let me have Sandy fill you in on the results of her research."

She handed the clicker off to Sandy, who Tim noticed once again giving him a quick once-over as she stepped behind the podium. She minimized the report that Shawna had been using, and opened her own series of Powerpoint slides.

Sandy's first slide had a colored pie chart in the middle of the screen, with a color bar beneath it. The bar went from black on the far left - identified as "negative" - through yellow and then orange in the middle and then onto red at the far right - identified as "positive."

Sandy explained. "The color line at the bottom shows the range of possible reactions to the ad, from worst at the far left, to best at the far right. The first pie chart represents the proportion of gender representation in our focus group.

Since 6 of our 8 respondents were male, you can see that the male slice of the pie as 75%, and bright red, with the female slice of 25% as a light orange."

"We chose a 75/25 male-over-female focus group, because that is what we anticipated in terms of who would be making the buying decisions. As Shawna tells me that you all discussed when you were creating the ads, we anticipated one primary male and one primary female motivation in our research." She looked at Tim with a crooked grin. "The male motivation is to be found desirable by women, and wanting to see females maneuvered out of their clothes."

Tim smiled back at her. "Makes sense to me."

Sandy continued. "The female fantasy is to be found attractive by a desired male, and to use her sexuality to lure and seduce him."

"That makes even more sense," Tim said, looking at his pretty employees and co-workers arranged around the table.

"You would think so, wouldn't you?" Sandy said, her green eyes sparkling at Tim.

"But our demographic research had a few surprises. It turned out that the generic male/female motivational split didn't completely pan out. The females generally did follow the expected pattern, but there was also a strong plurality who gave another response: they resented some of the powerlessness of the female seductress role, and wanted a feeling of power over the male, especially if he was in a position of nominal power or authority."

"Such as a professor," she said, then looked at Tim, "or a boss, for example."

The mood in the room started to subtly change. Tim's employees looked at each other, then at Shawna and Sandy, confused. Anna said, "That makes sense."

Tim glanced at her, and found a subtle little grin on the pretty brunette's face.

Tim looked for reassurance to Sandy. "But the majority of the female reaction is still toward the 'seduce him' end, right?"

"Actually, we found that these two desires aren't the opposite ends of a single spectrum, but two different motivations that co-exist in most of the women we surveyed." Tim noticed that she was definitely smiling now. "As we can see on this slide." Sandy turned toward the screen and clicked, and two bar graphs appeared.

"The attraction to the seductress mode is represented as getting a positive response from 72 % of the women surveyed."

"Excellent," Tim said.

"But 80% of the same group of women," Sandy said, pointing toward the second, slightly higher bar, " also rated the 'power mode' as very attractive."

Tim shifted a little in his seat. "What does that mean?"

Mia raised her hand, like she was a girl in school, and Sandy smiled at her and nodded. "Does it mean that while many women like to be sexy to seduce a man, even more of them would also like to gain some control over him?"

Shawna answered before Sandy could, and her eyes were on Tim as she spoke. "Exactly. It's not one or the other. It's both, and it even slightly favors the woman getting the upper hand."

Tim looked like he wanted to speak, but couldn't think of anything to say.

Sandy took over again. "We actually found a similar phenomenon on the male side." She brought up a new slide, with another pair of bar graphs. "Here we see that the dominant desire is definitely for the seductively exposed female" - she gestured to the bar on the left, which reached 91% - "but we found a surprisingly healthy second motivation."

She gestured to the bar on the left, which reached 35%.

"Desired/controlled," Kaitlyn read the label at the bottom of that bar. "What does that mean?"

"I don't know," Joy piped in, smiling at Kaitlyn, "but I like the sound of it."

Several of the women chuckled, and Tim felt a growing concern. Sandy said, "It describes a positive male reaction to females finding him attractive, to the point that they might aggressively act on that impulse."

"Aggressively?" Julie said, a small smile starting at the corners of her mouth.

"Yes," Sandy said. "In fact, as part of our surveys, several female respondents had cited an acronym that we were not familiar with." She looked at Shawna, who obviously knew what she was going to say next, and approved of it. "CFNM."

Most of the women in the room broke into bigger smiles, and looked at Tim. Only Julie, Becky and Tim looked confused. Tim looked around him, a sinking feeling in his stomach. He didn't know what that meant, but he somehow also knew that he didn't WANT to know what it meant.

But he had no such luck. Now it was Anna's turn to cross her arms over her chest, and look at him with smug satisfaction. "Could that mean, 'Clothed Female, Naked Male'?" she asked Sandy.

"That's exactly what it means," Sandy said. "I guess you are better informed than we were!" A round of spontaneous female laughter filled the room.

"Okay," Tim said, hating the hint of panic that he heard in his own voice. "That's interesting. But with only 35% of guys expressing that idea, that can't be enough to make us even think about re-shooting the ads! Especially when over 70% of girls like the idea of showing some skin to attract a guy."

"Not by itself, no," Sandy admitted. But her smirk did not waver. "We didn't expect that so many males would enjoy female aggressiveness. And 72% is a big number on the female side."

"But not as high as the 80% who would like to see a guy caught with his pants down," Shawna said. Mia and Pam both snorted at that.

"Still," Danielle said," with approval numbers that high of our existing ads from both genders, and our tight timeline—"

"Yes," Tim jumped in, nervously, "and since males dominate our demographic, it wouldn't make sense to go in a different direction."

"That was our conclusion, too," Sandy said. She waited a long moment, so that she could enjoy the grateful look on Tim's face. "Until we found our biggest surprise of all."

Now all of the women were on the edge of their chairs, and Tim visibly swallowed.

"Our buyer numbers are flipped!" Sandy said triumphantly, as she advanced to the next screen. "We thought that 75% of the buyers would be men, but it turns out that roughly 75% of women make the buying decision on these grooming products for men." A stunned silence came over the room.

Shawna took over. "It mostly comes down to this: single guys buy their own grooming products, while guys in casual and fairly short-term relationships buy around half of grooming stuff, with their temporary partners picking up the rest. But males in semi-serious to serious relationships, including the vast majority of those who live with their woman—"

Sandy jumped in, "And that's a huge slice of our prime, 21-30-year-old demo!"

"...only buy around 20%, while their women buy 80%," Shawna finished.

Tim appeared to be in shock, and he stared straight ahead. But all of the other women in the room, were looking at each other, a palpable, excited energy suddenly obvious in the room.

Mia said, "That means that our focus group was skewed exactly opposite of what it should have been."

Anna actually clapped with glee. "Which means that our primary target audience should be young women, instead of men."

Danielle was already running numbers in her head, but she was smiling too. "So our really strong numbers among males in the focus group are a lot less important than the reactions of the females."

Sandy nodded. "And given the larger-than-expected number of males who are attracted to the idea of horny females becoming more aggressive—"

"We need to re-shoot," concluded Joy, as her eyes danced over to meet Tim's. He felt his face getting warm, as he felt all 10 women's eyes on him.

Julie said, "But instead of us losing our clothes—"

Anne interrupted finishing the thought, "Mr. Johnson is going to lose his!"