An Open Letter to Barry Scott

barry scottDear Mr. Scott,

You don’t know me, so allow me to introduce myself. My name is Simon Griffin, and I am the editor of this site. While that may not be as glamorous as being such a prominent public figure in the field of bleaches & cleaning products, I enjoy it. What I do not enjoy however is how much your success as Cillit Bang’s spokesperson has encroached into my territory. Allow me to elaborate.

As the editor, I can see how many views each of our posts gets. No surprises there. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the internet knows that’s how websites work. However, I doubt there is any other website in the world on which you are consistently the most-popular page. That probably doesn’t even happen on any of the websites run by Cillit Bang. So why must it happen to mine?

I am referring of course to a satirical piece that appeared on the website long before I came on board. The piece in question, Cillit Bang’s Barry Scott Has Been Found Dead, is actually pretty funny, I must admit. I remember reading it in my first week here and thinking it was clever, in particular the part about Cillit Bang impacting on the police investigation. Notice that I said “pretty funny”, and not “the greatest piece of writing penned on Irish soil since Ulysses”.

I can’t explain the source of your apparently incessant stream of success. I can’t explain why, on any given day, there are apparently thousands of people all the world over who are concerned about your well-being and find their way to this site. I certainly can’t explain the feelings of relief & solace that must wash over the droves of people that find their way to this site, becoming panic-stricken & aghast upon seeing the article’s headline, only to slowly realise that you are, in fact, okay.

No, the only feelings I can explain to you are those of frustration, agitation, irritation and, quite frankly, chagrin. Every day, I check the popularity of our new posts, as well as posts that are not necessarily new, but are among the most-read. And every day, there you are. Cillit Bang’s Barry Scott Has Been Found Dead. 27.48% of all pageviews. 24.63% of all pageviews. 36.94% of all pageviews. Cillit Bang’s Barry Scott Has Been Found Dead. All day, every day, I am being told that you have been found dead, when I know for a fact that it isn’t even true.

For months you have dominated this website, relegating a number of hugely popular posts to silver-medal status, all because you apparently touched the hearts of so many during your run from 2004 to 2008 that they still worry about you years later. Perhaps they fear the effects that a long-term career with cleaning products will have on your health. Perhaps they loathe the fact that your signature yell has stuck with them after all these years. Perhaps the offending article itself spawned or fueled urban legends about your passing. Or perhaps you spread the rumour yourself, in a bid to stir up some publicity. If this is the case, well done. You can stop now.

But why people are always so concerned with your welfare isn’t really what matters. At least not to me. What matters to me is the fact that, for the entire time I have been here, you have been constantly and smugly smiling down on me from atop your throne. What matters to me is that a human mascot has found a way to penetrate my daily life, to taunt me as I literally go about my business, and to take up permanent residence in the darkest recesses of my mind, interminably scrubbing away at my sanity to the point where I am writing angry letters to fictional people. What matters to me is seeing all of the wonderful work that people send me being consistently subjugated by a bleach tycoon. What matters to me is that we live in a society that values celebrities to such a ridiculous extent that even those who don’t exist are more successful than honest, hard-working people who actually do exist.

I don’t begrudge you your success. You accomplished exactly what every spokesperson hopes to, and went so much farther. I doubt even you ever dreamt that you would become the cultural icon and advertising champion that you did, so well done on doing your job, and doing it well.

However, as well-deserved as that success may be, I cannot separate you from these feelings of resentment that have been festering inside my soul for the past few months. Now let’s not pretend you’re not reading this, because I know you are. Cillit Bang’s Barry Scott Has Been Found Dead is the very first search result for your name on Google, so I know this letter will find its way to you eventually. I started this letter by stating that you do not know me. Well, now you do. You know who I am, how I feel, and what you have done to me. Remember my name, Mr. Scott. For if ever our paths do cross, I may be forced to rewrite that obituary.

Satirically yours,

Simon Griffin