Editor's column:Salvation Army changes its image

Image consultant: Welcome to Modern Images, Inc., General Dooalot. How may we be of service?

Gen. Dooalot: Sir, I represent the Salvation Army, whose board of directors decided we may need a makeover.

Image consultant: I agree. You’re a fine organization, known for raising buckets of money for charity every Christmas with your jolly bell ringers, but you’re hopelessly behind the times.

Gen. Dooalot: Certainly, we must be doing something wrong. We’re being run out of some of the best places to raise money, like Target and the post office, and many other places don’t appreciate our noise.

Image consultant: First, your name contains two major problems. What’s with “Salvation?” You seem to be suggesting that people need to be saved? What an old fashioned religious concept. Nobody needs to be saved, they just need the right medication. “Salvation” is entirely too negative. And of course, “Army” is militaristic to the extreme. Many businesses don’t want to be associated with religion or the military. Bad for the bottom line. Millions of shoppers in our diverse society don’t believe in salvation or the army.

Gen. Dooalot: Well, I suppose the board might consider a name change. Any suggestions?

Image consultant: Start with yourself, “general.” Who wants to donate money to an organization headed by a general?

A more fitting title would be Dr., followed by your first name. Hopefully, it’s Phil, or something that sounds just as friendly.

Gen. Dooalot: Actually, it’s Daniel.

Image consultant: Dr. Dan! That’s great! Now, about the organizational name. Salvation has to go. Something more positive, more encompassing, more diverse...

I’ve got it: Celebration!

Dr. Dan: You mean the Celebration Army?

Image consultant: You’ve got it half right. People love to celebrate, especially themselves. They’ll donate money just to make themselves look good.

The name reminds them of the holidays when their desires are aimed directly at numero uno. But they’re still not going to like Army -- too many images of Iraq. Instead, make it team.

The Celebration Team! There you have it, everyone wants to belong to a team, particularly one with a winning record. They’d be thrilled to donate to make the team better.

Dr. Dan: Bell ringers for the Celebration Team! Not bad . . .

Image consultant: One last thing, no more bells. You’re already getting complaints about the noise, which affects people’s right to silence and distracts them from thinking about what they’re going to buy, which is the true meaning of Christmas. And it’s only a matter of time before you’re hit by a bushel of carpal tunnel lawsuits from disgruntled bell ringers. Dump the bells, and instead play canned holiday music.

Dr. Dan: Canned music, isn’t there already enough of that?

Image consultant: Certainly not. Those endless holiday melodies keep shoppers mindlessly on track, in the mood to spend, like robots programmed for a single task. Surround the Celebration Team’s buckets with strains of “Rudolph” and “Jingle Bells,” and watch the money flood in.

Dr. Dan: The Celebration Team, under the direction of Dr. Dan, is on its way!

Thanks for the great ideas, and may Target bless us one and all.

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