Gowrnamentu adutising-the final post

Phase 7- The presentation

It was a bright cheerful morning. Atleast to Boss, who appeared in his new friday dressing, neatly scrubbed and drenched in cologne. All set to dazzle the discerning DIPians. I sat in the navigator seat feeling small in his extra large SUV, clinging on to the delusions of the Gowrnamentu, specially designed by us for them.

Boss adjusted his rear view mirror to take a final look into his nostrils. And we zoomed away in his Sierra to doom’s dungeon.

“How many agencies were there did you say?”

“About 40 of them I guess!”

“Ha…The numbers are getting larger’ The Boss declared in a tone that rubbished the other 39 like they all needed to be running a poultry business instead.

Everyone outside the window seemed to have had their baths and breakfast. I hadn’t slept or bathed in 2 days. The perfume from Boss’ armpits enveloped me into an illusion that I had had my bath too.

The smell of the rubber solution in the layouts was comforting. Somewhere it indicated that this saga was coming to an end. I had washed my face with the handwash in the loo, and the harshness of the liquid helped me stay awake. I hadn’t had the time to change into another costume so that The Boss could look at me differently.

No.

I still looked like the same idiot who couldn’t get a handful of books on time.  The memories of which were vividly kept alive by the same shirt I was wearing ever since I came back from Vidhana Soudha.

The Sierra swerved into the DIP Building, and Boss walked out in style waving out to every passerby, clicking the auto-lock button on his keychain. I followed him with a fat bunch of layouts under my arm, keeping as minimum a distance between us, so that people do not doubt my pedigree.

I felt strangely happy to be back in that dismal room, in the company of my stinking stubbled sleep deprived fellowsuckers each accompanied by their clean shaven, cologned and wide eyed bosses who were all eagerly waiting to perform their role of flipping the flap to reveal the Gowrnamentu’s cryptic achievements in an easy ‘show and tell’ form.

The flunks yawned endlessly, and their Bosses looked like their lives depended on this. I was happy that Boss looked the smartest of the lot. He looked sufficiently educated and MBAish as compared to the rest.

But Boss looked out of place in his fashionable attire. It seemed inappropriate in an atmosphere like this which was uniformed in plain white terrycot shirts. Such dressing was equated to being overindulgent, materialistic and frivolous distancing yourself from the seriousness of the matter that everyone had gathered for.

Boss decided to give the frivolity of his Friday dressing some purpose by bonding with every official who passed by. Loudly enquiring about matters that only an ultra confident man can do in a tense hour like this.

He enquired with utmost concern to an official who was hurrying inside…

“Mr Sampath….yes….so what happened to the litigation on this building. I heard that the office is going to be transfered to the premises of Vidhana Soudha….Is that true?”

The other inmates looked insecure with Boss’ indepth level of trivia on the business. They fidgeted in their seats uncomfortably revising their layouts. Surely, a man who knew all this could never go wrong with a piddling ad.

“Can I see your layout?” the man beside me nervously whispered noticing that I was momentarily orphaned by My Boss.

“No” I replied like a loyal dog.

“Come on. Now nobody can do anything…….just one glimpse. You can see our’s as well.” He urged having no qualms to reveal the secret he was holding.

The discussion was disturbed by the popular Desai making an entry into the room. The audience stood up in attention, and greeted him like it was the most important parameter in the selection procedure.

“Good morning all of you. Good morning ..good morning. I can see that you all have had a very tough time. I know, this time we were not in a position to give you all more time. My apologies. Would you all like some coffee or tea.” Mr Desai said in a rehearsed tone.

“No…No”…”That’s ok”….”It is normal in our business”…” ha ha”…..”that’s ok”……” the various bosses echoed various words disguising their desperation with earnestness, and the various flunks gave artificial smiles that instantly faded away the minute their respective bosses had verified their display of courteousness.

Suddenly Boss decided to rise above this ordinary bonding and seeked a private moment with the man who supposedly knew it all. Mr Desai discreetly signaled to us asking us to meet him at the canteen.

And Boss walked away through other envious bosses adjusting his sunglasses in slow motion. I followed him adjusting the layouts through various flunks who actually cared for nothing at that moment but to go home and get some sleep.

I was actually feeling shitty for letting my co-flunkies down by participating in this last hour drama.

We settled at a private corner at the canteen.

The Boss proudly unveiled the masterpiece to Mr Desai and watched his reactions intently.

Mr Desai put on his reading glasses and ran his eye-balls shiftily.

“I hope you like the colours. This time we have gone for brighter tones….It really jumps out.” Boss mentioned in a manner that automatically made the content indisputable.

Mr Desai sipped his filter coffee and gave a sharp whack to the cardboard with the back of his palm. “This is wonderful” He declared. “The colours are very eye catchy.”

The Boss was pleased that his palette matched Desai’s taste.

“But in some publications it bleeds, you know.” Desai added

“Don’t you worry….we’ll take care of that. Let’s meet over a drink after this assignment.” Boss perked up Mr. Desai as a compensation for his fine observations.

Somehow, the content seemed the least important everywhere. I was expecting atleast Desai to spot the absolute havoc played on the information. But I guess they were so well camouflaged by Mahadeva’s overpowering clip-arts. Or maybe I was just too sleep deprived to live in reality anymore.

Soon we returned to the room, and Boss waited for the opportune moment to say a loud ‘Thank You Mr. Desai’ that could be heard by everyone sitting out there. And looked at the others like they were all wasting their time and energy.

In a few moments the peon came and collected our answer sheets and disappeared into the Secretary’s room.

And everyone waited like expectant fathers outside a maternity ward.

And all of a sudden the swing door threw itself open and the secretary stormed outside, followed by Desai, followed by another unidentifiable man, followed by Mr Sampath, followed by the peon with the day’s collections, straight into a white ambassador that was parked at the portico with the ignition on.

Everyone jumped up and followed this procession. But the doors of the Ambassador slammed just in time.

And we all clustered around the car like a superstar was departing. But the Ambi zipped past clouding our faces with black smoke.

Of course the gowrnamentu wasn’t going to end all this so easily without adding some thrills from their end.

And we rushed to the parking lot and started our vehicles in a frenzy. And frantically chased the cavalcade.

My Boss and me participated in this car chase and speeded away in the direction of the Ambi.

“Where are we all going”

“To Vidhana Soudha you fool. They will be presenting our layouts to the CM now.”

“Oh. So will we be presenting it to him?”

“No…..But we need to be there in case the CM wants to verify something. He might just call in any agency at any point, so we need to be prepared.”

“But what will he want to ask us?’

“Anything!!”

But it all made sense to me then. I understood what this type of adutising was all about.

I recalled what a Harijan had warned me about on day 1.

“Remember….They tell you nothing. You make something. But be prepared, as they can ask you anything.”

At Vidhana Soudha, we parked our vehicles and rushed like maniacs till a certain point. After which we were all stopped by security guards like we were entering a cricket match without passes.

Mr Desai came to subside the enthusiasm in the crowd.

“Please calm down. Everyone’s layout will be presented. The CM is going to personally go through all your efforts, so please settle down. We will call you in case of any clarifications. Till then I request you all to patiently wait in this room.”

Another waiting room filled with numerous chairs. A peon walked in and switched on the fans to help us fizzle out our left over energies.

And we waited. A skill that I had mastered by now. I no longer needed the help of topics to keep my mind engaged. I had exhausted every topic under the sun to think about in the past few days. I had no more thoughts in my head. No more questions that needed answers. No nothing that demanded participation from my brain. I had learnt the art of existing with an absolute blank mind. I let my involuntary actions take over and paid attention to every sensation that my body was going through. I enjoyed the cool air every time the standing fan faced me. I turned my face towards the direction of the wind and tilted my head, to create different hairstyles without using any effort, and checked the results periodically in a stained mirror at a far off corner.

We spent the next few hours by engaging ourselves with every distraction possible. Everytime the door clicked…everytime someone cleared their throat…..everytime someone coughed….everyone were alerted, hoping that any one of these would slowly evolve into a full fledged entertainment programme.

But nothing of such sort happened.

Soon a bearer appeared with a huge tray of coffee and tea cups. He walked around asking everyone “coffee’ or ‘tea’.

“Coffee”…”no …no…tea”…..”no no coffee only” said one member unable to make up his mind as to which could help him stay awake.

And this was the best joke for the evening. Everyone laughed unanimously on this man’s funny portrayal of indecisiveness.

We waited for about 5 hours. Somewhere in the middle Boss suddenly realised that he was The Boss. And excused himself from this peasantry.

“Call me if you need me and I’ll be back” He said giving me a look that meant “You are a fool if you really believe what I’m saying.’

I felt relieved that I no longer had to keep a grim face. I no longer had to feel the pressure of keeping the conversation going. I no longer had to keep thinking about what he was thinking. I no longer…….I dozed off into my chair.

To be woken up by a commotion that I had just gone through some hours back.

The ambassador glided in and took position at the portico.

Everyone woke up and took their positions as well.

A gentleman stormed out. Another uniformed man followed him. After a brief pause, the secretary and Desai darted across the room with a peon following them holding the layouts.

We all ran to the parking lot again. Kick started our vehicles and chased the secretary’s car all the way back to the DIP’s office.

I was fainting with this sudden burst of excitement in my sedate condition. I was not in a position to think of anything better than follow the herd, for whatever its worth.

Soon we reached the DIP’s office and before we could reach the waiting room, The Secretary, Desai and gang had entered the prohibited room and slammed the door.

I thought for a while if it would be appropriate to call back the Boss. But what If I was needed in the room. Calling Boss back also meant that Im increasing his anxiety for some good news.

I looked around. I could see many flunkies abandoned by their respective bosses.

I could see only the lower strata filtered into the room now. It now resembled the crowd that I had seen on day 1.

It seemed too inferior a situation to summon My Boss back. Either I could have the privilege of delivering him the good news. Or exclude him from being a part of receiving the bad news.

So ‘screw calling Boss back’, I concluded, feeling scarily advantageous, for the being the sole decision maker on this matter.

Phase 8-The Results

In a few minutes it was time to announce the results.  It was an understood ritual that the agency who’s name is called out first, is the winner. Ofcourse, to make this grand announcement the Secretary stepped out with Desai and the Peon, flanking him on either side with a beaming smile, that conveyed that they were also instrumental in the selection of the winner.

We all stood up and flocked around the jury impatiently waiting for the results of this mysterious game.

There were no hot favorites. Nobody had a clue.

“I would like to call upon……the first agency…….” The secretary announced dragging each word to create an intrigue in the audience, where most of them were ready to pass out. We were in no mood for this suspenseful build up.

But the secretary was feeling as fresh as a daffodil.

“..The agency I would like to call upon is….” The secretary looked at Mr Desai for a final nod of approval.

“Ok….can we have Avantika Adutising……..yes yes….please come inside.” The secretary smiled and retired into his cabin. Mr Desai waited at the door to shake hands with the winners and the peon held the door open as a mark of respect.

The members of Avantika gleamed with pride and walked inside looking like they knew it all along, to collect their prize.

Of course the prizes were known to all.

First Prize

Deccan Herald….the costliest publication. Prajavani…the second costliest publication and a few other random publications thrown in.

Second Prize

Indian Express…..the second costliest english daily and a few other random publications…

Third Prize

The Hindu…the 3rd costliest English daily and a few other random publications…

The others were now left to haggle and negotiate in the room and bargain for the leftovers like Raitha Rajya, Ushe Vani, Sutta Mutta Suddi and other unheard publications that boasted of circulations which were so few in number, that you could distribute them personally.

I knew deep within that we couldn’t have won this contest. The rapport that Boss shared with Desai was all fake. Ultimately the CM seemed to have spotted the fictitious numbers.

Somewhere in the middle I was summoned.

The secretary had left by then, leaving Desai to distribute the consolation prizes to the inept mediocre losers.

I stepped into the room and Desai handed over our layouts back…..

“Mr. Renaisaance adutising….very sorry. I thought that your design was the best, but what to do…..the CM preferred someone else’s design.”

“That’s ok sir.” I said opening my note pad to jot down the list of publications allocated for me.

“Jot down please….Sankrtanti, Jana Jagruti……and Sanje Suddi’

I hadn’t heard of any of these publications. I scribbled them down on my pad feeling completely defeated.

“Hmmm..what is sad is that only your agency had got the content perfectly…..only if you had paid more attention to the design…. Infact the CM has asked us to use your content……..but someone else’s design.”

I was speechless. I took time to recover from this shock.

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‘Saar…atleast for that can you pleej give us one english paper …pleeej saar” I succumbed and pleaded shamelessly, embracing my destiny and deciding to not question its strangenesses.

And then I realized, that was the only thing you needed…to be into adutising.

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Extra bleed

After 11 long years in advertising, I have finally identified a list of senseless activities that we so vehemently indulge in, like as if we are on a mission to save the world.

cart-before-horse-2

Long term strategy

It’s funny how we still cling on to this one, very well knowing that it is probably the most foolish thing to do.

The client who’s engaged you on this one is definitely not going to stay for long. Your boss is searching for opportunities abroad. Your flunk is making plans to the Himalayas with a latest SLR to build a portfolio that promises him a job outside advertising. The client’s flunk disagrees with his boss. And is only waiting for a chance to speak, or his boss to leave. The consumer cares a rat’s ass as to what you said in the last ad or what you are going to say next. The product you are about to advertise is going to undergo a plastic surgery in a few months from now. The servicing dude is negotiating his prospects to join the client’s rival company. The planner on the brand has 12 unused archetypes that he is dying to explore. The art director is going to stumble upon 17 new looks that’ll give him a hard on between this campaign and the next. The studio comps will crash. The supplier who stores the hi-resolution images is about to upgrade. The only person who knows where it’s stored is getting a job in Dubai. The model in the ad is becoming fatter or older. The celeb is either going to get more famous to a point where you can’t afford him or hit rock bottom where you wouldn’t want to use him anymore. The baseline will be rattled away away as many times that it will be nauseating to even utter it again. The producer will hold on to the rushes for a handsome ransom.

What long term!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why is it that we all meet every six months to discuss a long term idea. What happened to the idea that was declared long term six months ago.

360 degrees

It is 359 degrees of effort to sell one damn wobbler. It is invented to keep the overenthusiastic trainee busy during a pitch. It is invented to redirect internally rejected press ads to obscure mediums like ambient, direct mailer, internet, posters in gyms, beauty parlours, cinema theatres and the all time favorite push-pull sticker. The push-pull sticker somehow completes the package.

Films that make no sense to the strategy are bundled into viral. 

And then bizarre ideas that include park benches, buses, trains and other properties governed by government. Ha ha…..ok assume that the idea is approved, now can someone please tell me where does this government exactly sit, so that we can seek its permission?

The other purpose is for the sadistic pleasures of clearing your coffee cup from the table just when you are about to sip it, and empty out the dozen brown packets on the client’s table. And of course it’s evidence for that special guest who’s flown down to give the “We are a complete agency” speech. All this wobbling for that one wobbler.

Animatics

After months of power point slides, we then move on to a slide of a different kind. Puppets that slide from the side. It’s one versatile face that can take on many get-ups. Give it a bob-cut and salwaar and it becomes a young modern housewife. Lengthen hair and add bindi…wow it’s now a traditional obedient housewife sipping tea. Make the hair fall on the eyes and voila!!!! You’ve made her naughty. Cut the hair really short, strip it to mini skirts and add an ink blotch on its arm, it’s a tattoo sporting chicklet.

Now pick the relevant music…If you are confused follow these golden rules…..

Crows cawing as ambient sound…if it is dialogues.
Trance music ………if it is a look and feel film for the youth.
Elevator music followed by an aalaap…… if it is emotional.

And send the newcomer who just joined for the dubbing. And the junior planning for the research group. Load it with dialogues and narration as you have 2 odd minutes in hand. Fool proof it from all angles. And once you have it approved, squeeze all those dialogues in the final 20 second commercial.

Brand Seed/ Root/ Tree/ Plant/ Sapling whatever

Simply put, it is a comprehensive list of things you cannot do. In the sense, if anything manages to evade through this massive list of parameters, it is automatically given the status of an idea. The list is a collective effort of many people who know what they don’t want. Some idiot in advertising said that you can only say one thing in an ad. How boring!! Meetings would then last for just a minute. After so many years of education, you cannot now expect people to only say what they want to say. How about giving them an opportunity to say what they don’t want to say? That way, they can speak more and also get a sense of contribution. Let us take a stand that our briefs will not end up being mere creative catalysts. Let’s make it into an exciting scientific puzzle.

bewildered

It would be foolish to reinvent the wheel. A change in the system would mean rewriting the course material of MBA. After all, common sense and gut feel are too unacademic and fragile to place mighty brands on them.

Even successful brands that have stayed clear of these methodical approaches and innocently followed their gut, have now been postmortemized and made into structured case-studies, to prove that how unknowingly they have followed a chapter out of the voluminous theories of brand building. Only to make sure that a stray exception doesn’t end up defeating the efforts of a hard-earned degree. To make sure that freely available emotions don’t overpower expensive reasoning. To make sure that experiences of life do not demean exercises of the classroom. To make sure that common sense doesn’t end up retracing complex theories to fundamental human truths, that these theories were originally based on.

I read recently, that some fan took a Kotler’s best seller and went up to him, to ask him for an autograph. Kotler took the book and ripped it to pieces and chucked it in a bin and told him ‘Don’t bother, it doesn’t make sense anymore’.

Even Kotler realised that the prescription has become the epidemic.

It would be far worthwhile if we stopped reinventing brands, and put our efforts on the discoveries we stumble upon. But unfortunately, problems and opportunities bloody well queue up in a disciplined manner to follow this strict assembly line. Because the solution is fixed. We only now need to search for problems that match it. 

The list of these moronic practices is endless.

And it is so because, it’s a stupid formula that preserves this insanity.

Add all the members of the circus to one colander and then sift out the ones who have the ideas. And give the decision making powers to the ones above.

And enjoy the prolonged agony that keeps an entire industry alive. Advertising.

Disclaimer: This is a summary of my observations gathered from my total experience in the industry. The only reason I still manage to survive is that not all of them are true at the same time. 

What’s in IT for me?

I have a lot of friends in IT.
They have a single friend they lost out to advertising.

Over the years, we’ve lost touch. And when we meet, we don’t know what to speak. While, that may the difference of ‘Information’ and ‘Communication’.

They would like me to just inform them about what I’m doing.
I would like to communicate to them what I’m doing.

Click on an IT guy’s profile on Facebook. You’ll only find people he has lost touch with.
Click on an Advertising guy’s profile on Facebook. You’ll find people he’d like to be in touch with.

They are on Facebook, coz they have no time to waste.
We are on Facebook, coz we want to waste time.

Our Facebook friends list totals up the number of guys we know in the universe.
Their Facebook friends list totals up the number of people they’ve not been in touch with.

That’s only my starting point of differences. The rest is a mindless rambling of my thoughts of our universe v/s theirs. There is no constructive conclusion to this post. It’s just me typing away any garbage thats on my mind right now. No argument. No flow. No nothing. Just meandering with my thoughts without Ctrl z.

OK. It was about the IT dudes. They atleast make taller and greater claims only in their annual reports to cover up.
We are employed to do that on a daily basis in every ad.
They do it financially. We do it creatively.
Guys from overseas pay them. Guys who oversee pay us.

They get paid to debug. We get paid to bug.

In bad times they get laid off, we get laid. They are expected to only simplify complicated matters. Here we are expected to do both, first complicate it before simplifying it.

It’s easy, ask a software dude what he does and he’ll try and simplify the explanation.

Layman: ‘What do you do?’
Software dude: ‘Well, have you ever booked a ticket online?’
Layman: ‘yes’
Software dude: ‘Ok, we make programs that enable it.’
Layman: ‘wow!!’

On the other hand

Layman: “What do you do?’
Ad man: ‘I create touchpoints where a consumer can interact and have a dialogue with a brand’
Layman: ‘What do you do?’
Ad man: ‘We decide if Lux should be a man or a woman.’
Layman: “So, what do you do?’
Ad man: ‘We ladder up brand offerings to emotional spaces’
Layman: ‘Do you make ads?’
Ad man: “We dont make ads. We create brand personalities. We convert inanimate objects and intangible services to human beings.”
Layman: “Uhh!! Looks my drink is over. I’ll be right back.”

The problem is everyone knows advertising, so we try and make it larger than what it is.

The problem is nobody knows programming, so they try and make it seem smaller than what it is.

They die to bring it to a familiar space. We try and take it to an unfamiliar zone.

They have the money. We have the plans.

Check out pics of software dudes who go on foreign trips.
“My seattle office.”
“The park in the Microsoft campus’
“Tandoor. Yummy Indian food. Reminds me of my days in India. Swear by its tandoor chicken.’
“Bob. The funniest programmer I’ve met.”
“Ayesha, Tania and Mark. You guys rock.”
“Ayesha. Mark and Me. Pic by Tania.”
“Chang. Loved the Dimsums. Make me more.”
“Ripleys museum. Yipeeeee”

And pics of advtg flunks on a trip to Goa, Pondi, Hampi or Rajasthan.
A fakir blowing a chillum.
A stray dog in a garbage dump.
A crow.
A balloonwala.
Four kids struck by poverty.
And other macro shots if the scene around is boring.

We try and find something interesting in the boring life we lead.
They find something boring in the interesting life they lead.

Maybe because they know that they’ll be back there.
We doubt if we’ll be back there again.

Their work begins with logic.

Our work ends when we’ve found common sense….like make the logo bigger, it wont be visible on a hoarding.

Everybody screams over a cup of by two coffee ‘Don’t you have common sense?’.
But Logic is something that’s shared over a sophisticated drink.

Any day, Logic sounds so much cooler.

They find a creative way of making tickets accessibe on the net and call it logical solutions.
We find a logical reason for somebody to buy paint and call it creative solutions.

If we want to travel abroad, we need to write a film that opens there. If they want to travel abroad, all they need to do is fuck up somewhere.

They chose to study harder in school. We just postponed the agony to now.

Their companies have vague names. We have vaguer ones.

They like x,z and soft, tech, info, digi and next.
We like a,b,c and happy and orange and juice.

They have fancy numbers to back them.
All we have is that damn key number.

They are dying for everyone to know what they do.
And we hope and pray that nobody knows what we do.

While we were busy answering the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ on behalf of the lakhs of people who consume brands, some guys asked that question for themselves. “What’s in IT for me?’.

Smart chaps.

This post will be removed the minute I get sober.

MBA-Master of Bullshitting Artistically

I have finally found the MDH guide on ‘How to make your agency look up to you, in spite of sucking up to you?’

Its got some really valid insights, that can fool any agency fatang, without making him feel like one.

Here are a few excerpts…

CREATIVE CHALLENGE: A very motivating phrase, that masterfully disguises the fact that there are two bosses who have different points of view, and don’t even have the time to not see eye to eye. It is usually used in situations where you would want the agency to resolve this conflict. Other usages include: Budget v/s duration of commercial, thematic v/s tactical activity, product window v/s story etc etc. This simple re-phrasing of a ‘fuck up’ cunningly motivates naive creative people to become willing victims.

PROTAGONIST: Another useful term that automatically makes you the casting director. Finally, you need some incentive for having attended all those useless research groups in Kakinada and Sahranpur. This scary jargon, when used at the right time, gives you all liberty to be able to pick the face in the audition tape that most resembles the loudest respondent in your research group.

YOU MIGHT WANT TO: It’s a simple technique. Just replace all the ‘I’s with “You”. For eg: “You might want to make this colour a little more bright’. It sounds polite and is a simple mind game. It makes it seem like you are bringing out the best in the person, before you. You are recognising the refined taste that he has. All you are doing is just pointing out a little glitch that he might have overlooked. Go ahead and make these assumptions.

THIS IS A BRILLIANT STAGE 2: This is a refined way of bombing something you don’t like. An indefinite postponement makes the innocent agency believe that they are thinking way ahead of the times. 

LET’S PARK THIS THOUGHT: Another winning phrase, that makes the agency explore within the radar of mediocrity. Never underestimate the power of this. It leaves the agency with a hint of hope, and the confidence to confide in you, all the garbage that’s hidden in their disposal bag of ideas. A simple trick to now have your pick.

BRANDING SUFFERS: ‘Make the logo bigger’ or ‘increase the duration of the product window’ are passe. The latest is ‘Branding suffers’. Take it from us. Say this, lay back and watch the fun, of an entire agency going berserk. Senior management, Planning heads, Creative heads will congregate and think up of nothing but ‘making the logo bigger’ or ‘increasing the duration of the product window’. But hey, you didn’t say those bad words.

 

Please make sure that you don’t share this with agency folks. We’ve just had a joint body meeting and frozen on these highly highly confidential techniques on improving agency efficiency.

Kurosawa Jr

We are a wonderful tribe. We open our pants, and also take the shit. 


 

For 6 long months, we battle every idiocy that the client comes up with, tackle every piece of insane comment made by research respondents who only come for the ‘Free Varun Stainless Steel Plates’ at the end of it, work our ass off till there is no coffee in the vending machine or auto willing to drop you home, finely balance between the 29 parameters of the most puzzling briefs, wait endlessly for meetings to happen in no-smoking zones, accommodate everyone’s wish list down to the liftman to come up with an approved script.

By now, you’ve reached a point where the only non-advertising life you’re left with is probably that school friend you’ve added on Facebook and sent a ‘wassup’ scrap.

But that’s ok. Now, you have with you a script that can change your fortune, an approved script. 

You’re just one man away from being a superstar…
Kurusawa’s step son ‘The Director’. (background music)

In the beginnning, it’s difficult to even talk to this man. You would have sent the script but he’ll be busy shooting another happening commercial. It’ll seem like that you are actually intruding into his award winning efforts, by wasting his time on your pathetic script, while all he’s doing is actually shooting an irritating hair cream commercial with some superstar, just because that agency head has asked him to do bloody well do it. 

But don’t blame him yet. 

The poor chap still doesn’t know the crap he’s just dished out. It’ll take the poor fellow a little while to figure that one out. 

He’ll first invite all his smoking buddies at the editing studio, to stub their ciggies and watch the masterpiece he’s just made. It’s only when, after over 7 of them run back to their ciggies, he’ll get the first stench of his own crap. 

He’ll now join back his ciggie buddies, make some quick comparisons of his shot breakdown to some world cinema, blame the illiterate agency and the client for not letting him do what he set out to, and then with a deep sigh, decide to move on to the next script. 

The crappy printout of some struggler’s script, keenly held out by the anxious producer.

He’ll make faces, ponder, and ask a few questions ‘Writer kaun hai? agency kaunsa hai? paisa hai?’. Then, then….he’ll see his share of the money in the twinkling eyes of the producer (Mr. Warner Bro)……but no,….he’s only …only going to do it, because he’s taken it upon himself to fight this noble cause of bettering the quality of Indian advertising.

Kurosawa Junior has finally agreed to stoop down and uplift your piece of crap.

He’ll ask Warner Bro to ask you to give him a call.

After that, he’ll ask you to narrate the garbage you’ve written, in your own style. You’ll put on your best voice and narrate the script with all the enthusiasm that’s still left in you. 

Silence.

‘Hmmm….lemme think and get back to you.’ is all that you’ll hear. 

Then it’s suspense time. You’ll be given a few clues here and there as to what is happening. You’ll now send him a long note on all that you forgot to tell him over that conversation. The boring product window, the longer version of the line that you just told him, the stupid client remarks on a few scenes, the kind of models you have in mind, and of course your two silly world cinema references, which are still german or french but not untapped uzbekistanese….

Its now PPM time…the time when client gets to meet the pedigree and not just the everyday barking mongrels. 

Kurosawa Jr and Warner Bro will walk in 15 mins before the event. Everything from the new far off airport to the disgusting traffic will be discussed. Anything but the script. Any queries regarding the script will be brushed off with a hollywood expression of ‘main hoon na’.

The moment has arrived. Tea in special cups and premium biscuits will arrive.

The same script will now be narrated to the client by Kurosawa jr. (It’s the same news that’s on doordarshan, but it sounds so much better on STAR TV.) The same line, where no one got the humor in the past six months will now sound doubly funny. The whole hall will be in splits except the writer. 

The client will now ask some vague questions, Kurosawa Jr will give some inane replies, servicing will masterfully jot it down to make it sound open ended and creative will decide to have a private discussion with the director later.

Time for Timeline discussions…Kurosawa Jr will step out for a smoke warning Warner Bro to speed up and Creative will step out for a leak.

And then ….all of a sudden…..KABOOOM!! See you on the day of the shoot.

It’s nothing close to what was in the script or the story board or what was discussed in the PPM or in that world cinema reference. 

Two people are specially engaged to keep you busy with yummy refreshments in a corner. Keep your mouth busy or keep it shut is the unsaid message.

Every time Kurosawa Jr screams, you feel its directed towards you, so you rather enjoy that special dhokla with imli chutney.

Any attempt to talk to K Jr. in the meanwhile will be tackled with a ‘we should have discussed that earlier’. 

Soon, you’ll be in that studio. K Jr will beam over his masterpiece, storm out and return with a few nicotine smelling buddies. They’ll watch it, smile and return in a hurry to their ciggies.

You’ll be curious. You’ll step out to only find Kurosawa Jr sitting with twinkling eyed Warner Bro. 

On another pathetic script.