Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Preacher and the drunk !!!

A man is stumbling through the woods, totally drunk, when he comes upon
a preacher baptizing people in the river. He proceeds to walk into the
water and subsequently bumps into the preacher.

The preacher turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of alcohol, whereupon he asks the drunk, "Are you ready to find Jesus?"

The drunk answers, "Yes, I am." So the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the water.He pulls him up and asks the drunk, "Brother have you found Jesus?" The drunk replies, "No, I haven't found Jesus."

The preacher shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again for a
little longer. He again pulls him out of the water and asks again,
"Have you found Jesus my brother?"

The drunk again answers, "No, I haven't found Jesus."

By this time the preacher is at his wits end and dunks the drunk in the
water again --- but this time holds him down for about 30 seconds and
when he begins kicking his arms and legs he pulls him up. The preacher
again asks the drunk, "For the love of God have you found Jesus?"

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the
preacher, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"


It is a tarnished hush-hush that most marketers believe that their agencies are afflicted from "creative arrogance", take too much of money for works that is often off strategy or humbug disguised as strategy. With no bashing all agency creatives, the predicament seems to stem from the inability of some in advertising to realize that making an ad is not just an art but rather a commerce of craft. Agencies have to stand their ground on creative and strategic direction if they truly trust in it and if it's backed up by research but the client who pays the bill…. What about his whims, fancies and tantrums…??

Not all agencies are arrogant and clueless. Or to see it from the other side, for one such agency we have ten such clients….clueless, hopeless and penniless clients out there that make agencies jump through hoops for no good reason other than simply being inexperienced and naive about what marketing and advertising are believed to achieve. Like anything, there bad marketers and there are bad agencies. And clients often get the kind of advertising that they deserve.

Agencies never hear, they only talk… was one classical gripe I have often heard then and even now… How far it is true is for the guys in there still, to introspect but for me, communication (especially since this is the communications industry) is about both.. Listening and talking and some listening training is a must for many an agency professional.. Mind you, I said listening and not hearing….

But whom should I listen to ...asks my friend Nirav shah, an agency guy, tired of client tantrums, delays and all the grumpiness…
To the marketing manager who till the last night was a production guy?
To the Marketing GM who moved in just because he happens to be the first cousin of the Company MD’s Brother in Law?
Whom should I listen to?
People with opinions, truck loads of them but with no back up and absolutely no clue as to what where and why they are unloading them???

They charge a hell lot of money and for no reason….is one another grumble… Now I can’t resist saying a thing or two when I hear that nonsense…because you were also taught in school how to write, why don’t you write the copy? Since you too had crayons and have made that sketches in walls and wherever you could, why don’t you make lay out, design and do art? Why don’t you?? Fumed my ex student and creative guy, Vivek Nair (the venue was Firangi paani pub at Hyderabad,but hey the beer didn’t make him say that…) or better why don’t you ask your retired father in law to do it for you or your wife to do it in the after noon’s rather than spending time weeping with the soap heroines….Why don’t you…?

Very true… I thought!! The answer though is simple… QUALITY my dear and you are sure when you make professionals do it you will get it.. Performance and conformance…To their consultants, lawyers, financial experts, tax planners why do they behave like a kitten before the tom dog? Why then with the agency, they think they can jump in, play games, lecture and redefine strategy? WHY THE HELL this tinkering of ideas with no reason…., why the colour changes again WITH NO REASON…
Will you tell your doctor, who told you after listening to you and carefully examining you that you have a heart problem and may have to go for an angiogram and if needed for an angioplasty , to fuck off (*&^%#$@#$%^^) and to listen to you since YOU PAY HIM??


A creative when he presents an Idea presents a little bit of himself, his thinking ,spirit and soul, his concepts, his passion, ardor and dedication and his understanding of the brand and its dilemma, the direction that he thinks that the brand ought to take.. May be he is wrong, may be he is right, but do you care to listen, do you bother.. Do you by God; think that it is worth considering, since he knows at least what he is talking about?? It often is a game of Your idea vs My idea and very rarely takes a route of well lets take the best idea … the client when he says I don’t like that red back ground, or I want that face to be here ,will have to say why or else at least listen to why it would be better the other way…When egos rule the rooster, the affected is the brand…when the creative tries to shove in his idea through the unsuspecting or even the resisting client that of course is creative arrogance but when it happens the other way round, what shall we call it?

They don’t dare, its all the same old wine in classy new bottles… is another grievance that makes the rounds in this beloved industry of ours…
But show me a list of clients who dares…. Challenges Sandeep Varma, my co author and blogger and an Agency professional…Take any category he tells me, Banks, Jewelers, shampoo, cars, bikes.. Any category..

It’s all the same… every ad looks the same in the category, It is obvious that the client is not daring enough to tread new paths.. Walk against the multitude.. Swim against the tide…? It’s true that the client has to be more concerned and bothered about his money than the advertising agency who often recommends sweeping and drastic changes…but no one has even being successful and safe at the same time…the agency often shows new ideas..guts and gumption but the client shoots them down... Why the SHIT clients doesn’t realise that looking the same like your competitor jeweler, using an old tired and retired film star like he did, taking the same kind of visuals like he did, talking about 916 since he did, spend a lot of money for celebrating stupidity since he did ,will not make the difference in the customer minds…it only will add to the clutter and confusion..
Why the HELL is he a coward when it comes to talking different.. Why is it that he only wants to be different in terms of colours.. Well..He is changed from red to blue.. Let us change from green to orange…Your brand looks the same like the other guys BUT with a different colour and if you think that if had made any difference, see a doctor soon….

Clients should tell the agencies what they expect from them and what their problems are…and then let them do their job… do not listen to humbug and tolerate celebrated garbage, do not consume verbal diarrhea which very often will pretend as the best medicine….Do not be awed and open mouthed for flies and idiocy feigning to be strategy to go in, but please do not have a dog and bark for yourself… let him do his job….

May be this is a millionth time that some one is writing on the subject, but the drunk remains the drunk and the preacher remains the preacher…

Amen !!!


hari(sh) said...

In absolute accord with what I've read. Coming to think of it, for the clients advertising is a pure business arrangement. The business of brand building, of furthering fortunes, of piling up profits, of stamping their name bold and indelible. Creativity is the last thing they look for in an ad and somehere down the line when one is almost in the drain he (the creative man) will feel that whoever called advertising a creative career need some enlightenment because creative compromises are the most that you are strangled to make. Else your craft won't come out in the open, it just won't see the light of the day. It can be that thankless, that unrewarding a job. And I was not talking about money here.

And as a creative, loved these lines "A creative when he presents an Idea presents a little bit of himself, his thinking ,spirit and soul, his concepts, his passion, ardor and dedication and his understanding of the brand and its dilemma, the direction that he thinks that the brand ought to take." Well said prof.pachu!

Sashu said...

ah! highly entertainin a read! interestin! n liked de haf witty- haf satirical tone here! :)

Anthara sharma said...

hahahahaha.. what a piece man !! laughed to glory and thought like hell. It is true and glaring. Agency guys are gonna go gaga in support but some one from the other side? will they or wont they? I am waiting to see more comments to dash in.The gap that I saw in this blog for the past some days was deafening but now its is compensated.

Brand Nirav said...

Well this is one thing which every agency guy, a creative honcho and a client will always face in his/her life. I believe that advertising is indeed a craft for making a commerce visible as the commercial guy wants it to be visioned. Yes, a creative person politely can show a different way to build that brand and if the client understands that gives a go signal it will be win win situation for both of them and absolute satisfaction for both of them........but if the clint is just a typical client let him have both the sides of the coins....to continue the win win situation....

Victor Samuel said...

Its a great piece which I am sure clients will feel as another senseless uttering from an Agency idiot. I know everything clients are tough but there are good ones as well .Kudos !

Anonymous said...

even today we had such a situation.sickening man

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