• Published 10th Jun 2013
  • 1,380 Views, 29 Comments

Friendship is mADgic - Dafaddah

What would happen if Twilight Sparkle discovered the science of advertising?

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Chapter 1: Pitcher, pitcher on the wall...

Friendship is Madgic
Chapter 1: Pitcher, pitcher on the wall...

Princess Celestia wasn't too sure what she thought of the improvised dais supporting the 'thrones' on which she and her sister sat. It was a box spring re-purposed from the hotel room's bed, and it creaked ominously whenever one of the diarchs moved. The thrones were faux-Louis XIV chairs with faux-gold paint and rather gaudy faux-rococo upholstery that she suspected would have been excessive even hanging as drapes. A glance at the nearby window allowed her to visually confirm her suspicion.

Looking around, she had to admit the chairs and drapes were certainly consistent with the rest of the decor of the Washington Excelsior Hotel's 'Royal Suite'. Despite the pleasant expression on her face she was somewhat nervous. The room's theme bore an uncomfortable number of resemblances to that of Canterlot Castle, and she dreaded the moment when a certain purple pony would make a few mental connections and start asking her teacher embarrassing questions about Equestrian history. The purple pony in question stood before the Royal Dais with her friends from Ponyville.

Celestia adjusted her posterior minutely, trying for the umpteenth time to discover a less discomfiting posture on the human furnishing. The unavoidable creak prompted Princess Luna to glance her way. Her smaller stature granted her an easier time sitting in human chairs. She sat ramrod straight, a slightly goofy grin on her muzzle. This was her first trip to the Earth and she seemed thrilled to no end with all the new sights and human technologies.

"This is all so exceedingly novel, sister!" said Luna. "Thinkest thou that thy student's and her comrades' mummery shall enamor the teaming masses of this world to Equestria, and our equine estate?"

"That is indeed what Twilight believes we can achieve with this media campaign," replied Celestia. "Of course, this is the first time Equestrians have employed these means, so let us keep an open mind." She smiled sweetly, despite having major reservations about the whole project. In an attempt to hide her qualms, she poured herself a cup of tea from a silver tea service on a wheeled cart near the faux-rococo drapes. Taking a sip she turned her attention back to her student and her friends.

"Your majesties, when I first discovered the truly impressive advances the humans have made in the field of mass media communication via advertising, I was thrilled not only to expand the horizons of Equestrian knowledge, but also of finding a new tool to help communicate our message of friendship to all the citizens of the Earth.

“Since humans spend a significant portion of their lives watching such advertising, it has become a familiar and comforting experience and the ideal way to get the Conversion Bureau message out to them. However, as there exists quite a wide variety of media and philosophies regarding the creation of effective adverts, the other bearers of the Elements of Harmony have volunteered..." Standing next to her, Applejack jabbed Twilight in the ribs. The purple mare sighed. "uh... they have accepted after multiple requests..." Applejack smiled and nodded, “... to each create one advert for consideration as part of our very own ‘Convert before it’s too late!’ campaign!”

Twilight clopped her forehooves together enthusiastically, and the other Element Bearers followed suit. With a distinct sinking feeling, Celestia added her own polite applause while Luna joined in with gusto. The Ponyville six beamed at their sovereigns as they applauded. Where’s Spike? thought Celestia. He usually can’t resist attending these chariot-crashes-in-the-making.

The clatter stopped when the princess raised a handsome white hoof. “This is a most excellent initiative, ladies,” beatified Celestia. And the sooner it starts, the sooner it will be over, she thought with an inner sigh. “Please proceed with the first advert.”

“Great! Dash, hit the lights. If Your Majesties would kindly turn your attentions to the large screen on the wall.”

“Meaneth-she the portrait of flowers in a vase on yonder wall?” Luna pointed with a hoof. “Why should we, e’en it doth bear a more than passing resemblance to ‘Sunflowers’ by Vincent Van Woah...” Her eyes grew big as the picture faded and was replaced by a representation of the Equestrian Coat of Arms. “Sister, didst thou see that! They have enchanted paintings on this world!”

It was Celestia’s turn to smile sheepishly. “Er, indeed, sister. Except that here it’s called television, and the pictures can also move.”

“Ooo!” Luna clopped again. “How ingenious!”

“Yes, but hush now, sister, lest we interrupt the program.” Luna nodded and settled down in her ‘throne’.

The screen cleared to reveal an image of the Wonderbolts in a flyby. A thudding musical bass line resounded in the hotel room. Celestia recognized one of Vinyl Scratch’s more recent compositions. Rainbow Dash’s voice reverberated from the screen.

‘There’s a place that’s cool.” The music thudded on, beating in time with the stunning acrobatics of the pegasi flyers.

‘A place where if you’re lucky you can get to know what it really means to fly.’

Shots of near-miss fly-bys. The beat accelerated.

‘A place that’s twenty percent cooler than anyplace you’ve ever been.’

A cyan pony joined the Wonderbolts, leaving a rainbow trail in the sky behind her.

‘A place where I hang out, and if you’re REALLLY lucky, you’ll get to see me do this.’

There was a close-up shot of Rainbow Dash, heading straight upwards at an incredible speed into the sky. After a moment she passed her apogee and began an even more ludicrously speedy descent. Her mane, tail and even lips vibrating in the near supersonic wind as she reached critical speed. The music crescendo-ed, and on screen a circular multicolored shock wave expanded from the site of a patented Rainbow Dash sonic rainboom. The picture faded to black and then the image of the cyan pegasus faded-in. Her forelegs were crossed in front of her barrel, an expression of haughty confidence on her young face.

‘If you want a piece of this, and I know you do, get you flank down to the nearest Conversion Bureau and get ponified.” The Dash on screen leaned forward, placing a foreleg on each side of her body, elbows out, wrists in. “C’mon already! What are you waiting for? A golden Ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala? Lemme tell ya from experience, this is way more than 20% better! So get moving!’

Her image on screen was replaced by slogan, ‘Go Pony’ in big white letters. As the music came to a stop, the word “NOW!” appeared just before the screen faded to black. The lights in the room came back up.

As the other ponies applauded, Rainbow Dash stood on her hind legs next to the screen, in the same elbows-out pose as in the video, a smug expression on her muzzle. “So! Isn’t that the coolest ad you’ve ever seen?”

Luna was the first to respond. “S’truth! It very much is!” She raised an eyebrow. “And it is also the first. Perhaps t’were better we view another, to inform our opinion before we render judgement.”

“That was most interesting, Rainbow Dash” added Celestia, also raising an eyebrow. “But I do hope we can have the reference to the Grand Galloping Gala stricken from the script. We should be promoting Equestria’s cultural events in these adverts, not disparaging them.”

Celestia noticed that some of the wind had left the sails of the little blue pegasus.

“Nevertheless, a very good first effort" said Celestia. "Please let us view the next one.” From the corner of her eye she noticed her most faithful student with that funny look she had whenever anypony mentioned a test.

The room darkened again as the screen lit up revealing... scrolling text:

‘A Twilight Sparkle production’

‘Directed by Twilight Sparkle’

‘Lyrics adapted by Twilight Sparkle’

A beautiful shot of Canterlot as seen by a pegasus pony flying in from the clouds above it, circling and then then flying down towards a small village at the foot of the mountain below it. Wait! There’s no village there! thought Celestia. She leaned back into the chair. But I suppose we can let that pass as artistic license. The soundtrack was a pleasant melody, reminiscent of the show-tunes of the late fifties and sixties. She tapped along with a hoof. It reminded her how pleasant her periodic clandestine visits to the Earth were in those years. They had been one of her few guilty pleasures during Luna's thousand year banishment. Of course these visits weren’t vacations per se, as the real reason for them was to observe the Earth’s cultural and scientific development and ‘borrow’ whatever seemed useful to Equestria. And read a few books while eating pastries and sitting on the beach in the sun, she admitted to herself. Ever since the convergence with Earth started she had to be careful what she said, lest somepony or someone suspect that she was more than passing familiar with the earth. She had never told even a single other pony about those visits.

On screen, the PoV spiraled in on a very handsome stallion wearing the uniform of the Royal Guard. Twilight must have imposed on her brother to provide a singer from the Guard choir. He was handsome and clean cut, with perfect teeth, and Celestia’s left ear began to twitch the moment he began to sing.

‘The earth is having trouble

What a sad, sad story

The barrier will encroach over

All of its former glory.’

There was something familiar about this music, but she couldn’t quite put a hoof on it. Behind her smile, she ground her teeth. How frustrating! she thought.

‘Where oh where to go?

Thaumic poisoning just blows.

We looked around and then we found

Now we're Equestria bound.’

A few more ponies in Royal Guard uniforms joined the first one. And that triggered a memory. That musical about the... No! She couldn’t have! thought Celestia. Sweat broke out on her brow.

‘Springtime for Newfoals in Equestria...'

Oh by the short hairs of my own beard, she has! The Princess of the Day hid her face in her forehooves.

'...Pony land is happy and gay

At a quadrupedal pace

Here comes the winter wrap-up race.’

Morbid fascination overtook her and she peeked out between her fetlocks. The Guardponies had begun to march in order, in time to the music. She watched, frozen in horror as the grizzly spectacle unfolded.

‘Springtime for Newfoals in Equestria

Winter for Earth nations that are left,

Springtime for Newfoals in Equestria

Humans drink the potion and join the dance.’

One of Luna’s Thestral Guard flew in from stage right, landed next to the lead singer and belted out a solo. Celestia heard Luna’s delighted squee.

‘I was born in Düsseldorf

And that is why they call me Rolf

Just convert and be a smarty

and Pinkie Pie will hold a party.’

Pinkie Pie appeared onscreen with her infamous party cannon. It was pointed straight at the camera as she pulled the cord. A burst of colored special effects hid the scene from view for a moment. When it cleared up there were hundreds of ponies from all three tribes marching in formation.

‘Springtime for Newfoals in Equestria

The Canter is the new step today

Pegasi in the skies again

Make sure you'll get just enough rain.’

A flight of Pegasi were tracked as they flew by. It was the Wonderbolts, again.

‘Springtime for Newfoals in Equestria

Conversion bureaus have potion just for you!’

A bunch of ponies in the middle held up placards. Together they made a picture of an Erlenmeyer flask containing sparkling purple goo. The placards fell away, revealing what looked like humans in business suits. But how? Celestia’s eyes almost popped out of her head. Those are Diamond Dogs! With faces shaved and wearing makeup to look like humans! Oh, Twilight, how could you? she wailed silently.

‘Springtime for Newfoals in Equestria

Means that soon we'll be going

We've all got to be going

You know that we'll be going pony too!’

With a final blast of pyrotechnics from Pinkie’s party cannon, all the diamond dogs disappeared and were replaced by ponies, dancing and prancing to the closing bars of the music. The screen faded to black.

Luna was standing on her throne, clopping hooves and shouting. “Bravo! Bravo! What a thoroughly inspiring mummery! Never in all my millennia have I been so moved! Thou art a genius of the highest order, Twilight Sparkle. One had never understood our sister’s fascination with thou until this...” she paused, eyes wide as a white hoof roughly pushed her back into a sitting position on her throne.

Twilight looked up at the sisters, her face a fine example of why one shouldn’t try to express more than one emotion at a time. “So, your majesties, do I pass?”

“Twilight Sparkle! Why did you choose that song?” Celestia fairly shouted. The Element bearers dove for whatever scant cover the hotel room provided.

Her student’s expression cleared up and became a sly smile. “Oh, because I was able to pick up the rights to it for a song.”

The corners of her mouth and her ears drooped when nopony in the room laughed at the joke. “I mean, I was able to use it without having to pay royalties The composer was a funny old man, and he said he was very happy if I used it. Come to think of it, he laughed a lot. He called himself 'yoghurt' and when he saw me levitating stuff he said I was using the 'schwartz', whatever that is. It was all a teensy bit strange. Why do you ask Princess?” One of Twilight’s ears came back up halfway.

“Because, Twilight Sparkle, I get enough hate mail as it is!" Celestia stamped a hoof. A loud crack issued from the box spring. "Do you have any idea what it’s like dealing with Earth governments and citizens of democracies when you’re an absolute, immortal ruler of a country of happy ponies?” Celestia was breathing hard. Twilight’s face has resumed that I-can’t-decide-which-emotion-to-project-so-I’ll-show-them-all look again.

Luna was looking at her as if Celestia was a complete stranger. “She does not, yet, sister. But aren’t we planning next year to elev...” A white hoof was suddenly blocking the muzzle of the Princess of the Night.

Celestia seemed to have suddenly calmed down. “No need to spoil the surprise, sister.” She resumed her throne with dignity.

“Twilight. One cannot fault you for your enthusiasm. You get an A for effort.” Twilight’s stance melted in relief. “However, please have that film destroyed as well as all copies of it, and all of its source materials, and the records of the source materials. Oh, and all the checklists you made while producing this advert including your checklist of checklists, are to be burned and the ashes scattered in the sea.”

The room’s atmosphere had become somewhat awkward. It was time to restore some normalcy and get the proceedings going again. No matter what else comes, it can’t be worse than this, thought Celestia. And I hope I didn’t just jinx myself. She swallowed and smiled pleasantly for her little ponies.