NARRATIVE |classroom-ready

Let me share with you a story – a heart-warming one.

Switch off your devices, sit back and close your eyes to get in the right mood – the story mood.

You are in the basement – quite a spacious room, neat and clean, and well-lit. But there are no windows so it feels a bit claustrophobic. You can hear jazz music playing softly in the background.

The main protagonist is in the room, having a lie-in, chilling out, snuggling up, wrapped up in green and beige satin sheets. It is a dreamy and cozy time for him. And it is one of those days – it feels lonely and he is thinking about the meaning of life, his life – he is contemplating the purpose of his own existence:

How can I be what I am meant to be?

How can I become my dream?

How can I follow my destiny?

What is his life like?

What are his dreams?

Do you believe in destiny?

The curtain drops. The curtain goes up again. (We are in for a twist!)

After that fleeting moment of painful self-doubt, our hero experiences an unexpected burst of uncontrolled optimism:

I believe in myself

I’m not afraid

I’m not a wimp

And one day I know I’ll become …

How do you think the last line ends?

You can tell that our protagonist is ambitious and focused on his goals.

But is he likely to succeed? Why (not)?

Do you think you may be judging by appearances?

There is one more thing you need to know about our hero: Our protagonist claims that he has found love: his soul mate, his dream come true – cute, attractive and irresistible. He is getting quite obsessive about the person.

But his friends react with silence or disapproval. They don’t seem to share his enthusiasm. Everybody says it is infatuation – just a phase. They say he is blind. Some say he seems intoxicated. Others warn him that the object of his desire is an ambush predator in disguise – with a voracious appetite. They say it is just a matter of time before our hero gets gobbled up alive.

But does he really care what his peers think? Our hero won’t listen. He knows better. His love is a promise of a different lifestyle, a different reality. His love is his escape into a better world. So much better than his own. So much better than what his friends want for him. With dauntless optimism, he looks at the beautiful rosy-cheeked face of his love, begging:

I want to be like you

Show me that you love me

Who is right – the hero or his friends?

As I mentioned earlier, this is a heart-warming story.

But I didn’t reveal everything – the story has an unhappy ending.

Can you guess how the story ends?

And why do things go wrong?

Try and fill in all the gaps yourself:

What’s the profile of the protagonist?

Who’s the object of his desire?

What events lead to the unhappy ending?

Why would anyone call this story “heartwarming”?


Here is the actual heartwarming story: a tale of a young mail boy and an ambitious shrimp sandwich:


How can I be

What I am meant to be

Become my dream

Follow my destiny

I’m more than …. (a sandwich made of shrimp)

I believe in myself

I’m not afraid

I’m not a wimp

To be like you (mail boy)

To dress like you (mail boy)

And one day I know I’ll become … (mail shrimp, mail shrimp)

Show me that you love me


A young rosy-cheeked boy who works in the mail room (US) [post room (UK)] is sitting in the aisle, enjoying his lunch break while other employees are busy sorting the mail. He is about to eat his shrimp sandwich when he notices that one of the shrimps is apparently crooning a love song to him. As soon as the shrimp crooner starts begging for love (Show me that you love me), you can hear the ominous crunchy sound – the young boy has ruthlessly bitten into the loving shrimp to devour it alive. Obviously, he needs nutrients to get on with his job.


Email marketing platform MailChimp makes a pun of its odd brand name in a surreally hilarious promo campaign “Did You Mean?” that centers on the fact that people (apparently) regularly get the MailChimp name completely wrong or mispronounce it. The video campaign consists of three short films. Each clip takes 1 minute and dreams up a surreal scenario, playing on a mistaken version of the brand name (Mail Shrimp, Jail Blimp and Kale Limp, respectively).

  • “Mail Shrimp”: a shrimp sandwich croons to a mail boy about his hopes and dreams.
  • “Jail Blimp”: a little girl frees tiny prisoners from a blimp pinata at a birthday party.
  • “Kale Limp”: a dog made of kale sheds a leaf to provide the ingredient for a romantic dinner.

Yes, we are talking that surreal! If you are into movies, you’ll notice that the best leaves have been taken out of Wes Anderson’s distinct visual style book: a wee bit surreal, a wee bit off-kilter “with a baroque pop bent” (as Michael Chabon put it).

Why would Mail Chimp do that? Their campaign site message (ace marketing!) explains the rationale:

Officially, of course, we’re MailChimp. But if you couldn’t tell by now, we’re not so concerned with what people call us. We’d much rather show you who we are. Because we believe the best way to build relationships with customers, fans, or anyone else is to be yourself. For us, that means having some fun with our name.

We believe that doing things your way isn’t just easier—it’s also better for business. In fact, that’s why we’re here. Whether you’re looking to up your email game, sell your stuff, or find your people, we’ve got tools that give you the confidence to grow your company in a way that feels right for you.

Video creators: The Sacred Egg (Ed Kaye and Alex Mavor) & Riff Raff Films.

Campaign site:


DISCLAIMER: Only for those with a sense of humor 😉
If you are a wannabe beauty guru, Mail Chimp has special treats for you – as part of the same promo campaign “Did You Mean?”:

For ladies

For gents

Enjoy getting (more) beautiful 😉


B2, C1, C2

Juicy bits of language

  • be obsessive about …
  • have a voracious appetite
  • be intoxicated
  • infatuation
  • just a phase
  • in disguise
  • the object of sbd’s desire
  • dauntless/uncontrolled optimism
  • an (unexpected) outburst of …
  • fleeting moments
  • have a lie-in
  • meant to be
  • follow your destiny
  • a heartwarming story
  • well-lit/spacious room
  • an ambush predator
  • it’s just a matter of time before (something happens)


All photos courtesy of Mailchimp’s Did You Mean? campaign.

One thought on “STORY: DID YOU MEAN?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.