CONFIDENTIAL & PROPRIETARY
From: Theodore Entwhistle, VP Research and Development
To: Gus Millmore, VP Marketing
Peter Holt, EVP Image
Sandra Cornella, Director, News Service
Re: Opalot and Robert 1
I'm writing to draw your attention to what I believe is the sign of an important new market, and to ask for your help in making an early-stage research program a success.
There is a patient, identified as per our protocols as Robert 1, now able to repeat only trade names and a limited number of commerical messages. This disorder is believed to be a sort of language aphasia. As yet it has no name. It is rather odd for us to fund research into a unique phenomenon like this one, but there are strong opinions from medical doctors in different specialties, linguists, psychologists, and even media critics that this type of disorder could become widespread soon, if it isn't already.
Researchers under the direction of Dr. Simon Fleed at the University of California San Francisco have determined that a product from our Awaiting Appropriate Disorder pool - for which advance marketing has tentatively provided the trade name Opalot - may control the progression of the disorder and reverse its effects. Locating a use for this product would allow us to patent it, of course. It will also be a great boon to the victim, and future victims, of this terrible malady. Additionally, it will render them into our exclusive market.
Two important risks present themselves in the Robert 1 matter. I'm sharing them with you because you can be of help in mitigating them.
First, Opalot, administered over the course of a few weeks, is likely to eliminate the disorder entirely. No further dosages will be required after that time. Of course this is wonderful news for patients, if economic circumstances allow the product to be perfected and manufactured. Unfortunately in its current form Opalot does not have the side effect of giving rise to any long-term conditions that are treated by our other products. It does not produce hyperactivity, inflamed allergies, or depression, for instance. I think we all know by now that this spells simple economic doom for the product, a bad outcome for all parties concerned. We are at work on reformulations that will be more viable, but it is possible that there may be no profitable formulations of Opalot.
Second, efforts to procure additional patients with a disorder similar to that of Robert 1 have to be stepped up. Certain theorists have suggested that the disorder may already by widespread, but is simply eluding recognition by parents because they do not recognize it as a disorder when their children speak exclusively by parroting messages from television. It is possible that other sorts of media-induced utterances, interspersed with more normal speech and not linked to a language aphasia, might be treatable by Opalot. We have already made plans to investigate this. However, there remains the risk that Robert 1 is the only one, or one of a handful, who are afflicted in a way that is treatable by Opalot.
Despite these risks, I remain firmly committed to our investment in the Opalot program. I am asking you to assist in a way that will allow us to improve our chances on both of the above counts. Please publicize the condition of Robert 1 as extensively as possible, of course keeping confidential the matters internal to our company that are mentioned in this memo. The way in which this disorder reflects negatively on the media may make it difficult to gain public exposure, but I know that if it can be done, you three are the ones who can manage it.
The goal is to focus press attention strongly on Robert 1's case, if possible, in a way that will not interfere with his treatment, although the long-term benefits of the publicity must be considered in a case like this. Additional patients suffering from his disorder are much more likely to come to light if his condition is publicized. This will help us to evaluate the second risk and will provide additional research subjects to mitigate the first risk.
I appreciate you making this a priority.