oh ! what an entangled web we weave ,when we first learn to deceive...
Last night I got a call from an agency friend of mine...(i have non agency friends too) who wasnt able to attend my repeated calls during the week and was full of apologies for not able to do so.. The time was about 11.30, i was about to sleep after a hard days slogging.
"Tired of pitching preparations yaar".. she lamented..."and our hits are far less than the misses. We last week went to pitch for the new car account , you know the small car guy who announced a change from their current agency owing to non compatibility issues".
I got curious... having left the world of advertising when it started getting internationally and intentionally murky, such field reports keep me in touch with the industry.
"We shed all the intellectual laziness you know"- she chuckled- "for a long period and got our act together,, we pursued the account as hunters would pursue animals"..
I chuckled too, for a moment, visualising the familiar lazy gooses of agencies whiling time in the name of creativity and research.
An account review by some client is a time generally when, agencies wake up from slumber, some even from their death beds and get into action. It is a mix of comedy, politics, apathy, latenights, peeping Johnies, blame games, expectations, courage, creative oupour and a lot of celebrated humbug.Agency heads directly take charge, if the client is big,(now a days even for the smallest corporates) - lavishing his divine charm and diplomatic aristocrazy-- people are given special charges.. even expertise from outside is hired if needed so(if the agency have not experienced/worked for similiar accounts)..individuals are identified for specific tasks..research guys spring in action,questionnares and key boards,assuming, tabulating concluding what the consumers need , want , demand...media guys burn their midnight and early morn oil to find some media where the new ads(assuming that the account is won) could be placed..Vox pops.. field interviews..focus interviews... dealer opinion records ..brainstorming, ...creative blockbusting...Dictums like....“You can’t have an ego in this business, but be aware that everybody has lots of them"...7 day weeks.. Friends meaning four letter words..positioning statements............creative teams and briefs-who "will weave from its plain threads the rich tapestry of flackery that envelops a big idea" and then with all the hype and hoopla ,baggage and politics- proceed to the clients side for what the indusrty calls as 'pitching'..
"We got the big idea.. we cracked an amazing one" -she continued
"mmmm"... I listened with patience.
"How big is your family? that is the idea..in which the small family in the small car is shot in different locales and shown.. to demonstate how the car becomes an essential part of the family"
"Not bad"- I commended.
"Exactly'...she said .."and that is what they also said"...
"Then"...I threatened her stony silence..
" Then what .. liars.. scoundrels..that was a ploy...you know they didnt drop their agency,they stole all the ideas that we dumbos, gave them in the pitch"....she wailed..." and now my guys tell me that the 'How big is your family ' idea will soon appear on screen and in print with their tag"..
"Amen" ..I managed to say as I gasped for breath.
" We are blacklisting them"..she muttered.."never again, we will try or work for such bad clients"
"Thats good"- I said- "may be now you can start a new agency with tired old people and try again"
If you try and dont succeed ,cheat.. repeat until caught..then lie..