Friday, October 21, 2016

When briefs become briefer and deadlines sound the death knell


Gone are the days when advertising held a charm for creatives working day and night to crack the big idea. In the instant coffee, instant info and instant everything era, ads also are expected to be delivered instantly.

Most briefs that come our way are adhoc, thought out at the spur of the moment, perhaps when the client came across some fanciful ad in the morning papers, or perhaps when the team got a dressing down for not achieving sales target, or perhaps just to keep the retainer agency busy, ‘coz they would have to pay anyway!

Whatever the reason, the all important brief which was once considered as the foundation of any ad / creative campaign that sparked off great ideas and strategies, has now been trimmed down to a no-frills no-nothing one line telephone / email brief. And this brief sometimes comes with reference to a trail of internal mails, each proving the hierarchy of the people in conversation, with changing offers and objectives, some even suggesting headline and copy with a ‘PS:’ to creatively tweak it as appropriate (but to be read as ‘don’t you dare change a word’). Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get a brief document that looks very professional but is based on a standard brief format, meaning only the product name and deadline changed visibly, but the communication message / objective remained more or less the same.

Coming to the deadline, we’ve always heard of the “yesterday” deadlines, which has perhaps existed since the beginning of advertising, but now our brethren in the client organisations seem to take it to heart. A brief almost always comes only in the evening, and the deadline is almost always ‘A.S.A.P’ (As Soon As Possible) which has graduated to ‘By EoD’ (End of Day), since “as soon as possible” would again give a free hand to the creative agency.

Fact is, such short deadlines don’t really result in ads / creatives being done, approved and released within a short period. It only denies creatives the time and space to think and work creatively. Then there are a million drafts, back & forth iterations and so on, which finally results in substandard work. This eventually takes longer than the deadline, as changes are again arbitrary and at the spur of the moment, which results in more time than the actual time taken for conceptualising, copy, design & artwork.

The produced work is more often a mix and match of options, with client ideas imposing itself on the final creative, and agency a mere bystander or witness to the mayhem and cacophony in between. Why then are agencies held accountable if the ad doesn’t kick up any dust or make any noise (not even a whisper) among the TG (Target Group)?

I hear the death knell, so I got to wind this up. So I leave you with these grave emotions of an adman at the brink of madness with briefer briefs and yesterday deadlines!

Friday, October 14, 2016

The man I met on Tiger Hills


He’s a man with plenty of wit and wisdom
Who has made on this lovely hill, his own Kingdom
He can charm you with his legendary tales
Of glorious days that shine o’er blooms & vales

He’s a man who walks alongside the high & mighty
Yet not one to let his pride come before his piety
He can talk endlessly, yet keep you glued
Coz he’s the ‘been there, done that’ dude

He’s a man who has made his mark in this world
With perseverance, overcoming hardships untold
Everything that he was, is, and will be
His story unveils it with dignity and glee

He’s a man who has built a home within a home
In memory of his loving wife, this special dome
That celebrates her life, her likes and every desire
And brings her alive with his generous praise & revere

He’s a man you wish you had met too
And his home is a treasure house out of the blue
Where every room speaks of him, and his muse
His garden, a beautiful respite from the blues

He’s certainly a man worth writing this about
Coz he stands testimony to being all devout
He puts his heart & soul in everything he does
And that’s what inspires you to go make the buzz

- RGB

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Workaholic blues


From months of hectic work, down to zero work! Half a day gone, checking mails like a mail-hooked-female every other minute, but still no new brief. It’s nothing short of a miracle.

With long hours in front of the computer, stressful deadlines, blood shot eye and aching head or back from all the strain, there were times when all briefs began to sound like the death knell...

God, I sure was longing for this break, but when it came, I find myself bored silly! There's so much I could have done in the meantime, but the addiction to work has incapacitated me from doing anything else. Like reading a book or writing a blog, or at least sorting my files or getting my computer fixed. But my gluteus maximus (that is, my butt) appears to be glued to my chair, and my eyes transfixed on my desktop; everything else, just blurred and hazy.

I was so caught up in this empty trance, waiting for the morsel of work, my bread and butter, to be thrown at me. Mouth drooling, ears flapping, tail wagging and all, like an eager puppy. But nothing!

I check my mail again, still nothing. Am I so obsessed and blinded with work that I can’t think of anything else? Not even when there’s no work? Guess that’s who they call workaholic, and I sure need a shot or two to cheer me up...

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

What's in a name?

When my 1st child was born, we named her Roanna - derived from a latin word meaning 'sweet and gracious'. My dad said, "why such a complicated name? By the time she learns to say her on name, she will be in college!" That's my dad :)

Well, from what I have seen, heard and learnt over the years, however simple or complicated your name may be, people will always find ways of making it sound complicated or different! My name for instance, considered to be simple by my dad, with only 4 letters, is quite a common name in India, yet pronounced in a zillion different ways by a zillion different people. So what's the point?

I believe we have every right to name our children what we think is good for them. We just need to use our rational thinking and not come up with names that may sound embarrassing or lead to 'name calling' when they grow up.

People in Kerala have a history of getting carried away with names, though of late it's definitely better. Names are either rhyming words for the whole pack of children (Biju, Ciju, Riju, Shiju, Tiju, Niju...and so on) or different combinations of their parents' names (which means a Jethro + Susanne can actually name their son Jesus!) or alphabetical order (Anand, Biju, Chandran, Dinakar...)and there's a fetish for names starting with 'A', and that too with double a, so they're always first in class (Aaron, Aakash)! Some choose situations to come up with names. There's even a Shield and his brother Trophy, can you beat that!

I wonder if it's a good idea to let kids choose a name when they're big enough to understand and choose what's best for them! What do you think? Also share some of the names you think can't get any weirder.... ;P

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

LOST IT!


This month has been a bit weird for me, in the sense that things just seem to be getting lost without a trace. And my memory seems to be lost in the mayhem as well!

First it was my Voter’s ID Card. I had applied for a colour-laminated Voter’s ID Card a couple of months back. It arrived last weekend, but the Booth Level Officer (BLO) wanted me to return the old Voter’s ID card. I searched high and low, in my regular documents folder, and all the possible safe places, and literally ransacked the whole house, but no trace of it! Very unlike me, to lose things and not find it!

I went in flashback mode. I remember very clearly taking the Voter’s ID Card out of its safe place about a month back as an ID & address proof to collect a speed-post from the Post Office since it was returned from my old address. Then, for some reason, I didn’t find time to put it back in its place. Instead, it stayed in my handbag.

Then about a month back, when I went to Hyderabad with family on vacation, I remember before leaving home my hubby had told me specifically to leave the Voter’s ID Card behind and take only our Aadhaar cards as ID proof for the travel. From then, it’s a blank. I don’t remember where I might have relocated the Voter’s ID Card. But it seems to have just disappeared! I spent hours and days looking for it, but no luck. And I’ve given up on the search. Today I sent the BLO a letter informing that I’ve misplaced the old Voter’s ID card.

Then came the curious case of the missing Axe oil. My sis had got me a couple of bottles of Axe oil from the Middle East. Of course there were other goodies she’d got us – clothes, chocolates, cheese, nuts, gifts for the kids, OH, and so on. With a hand full of bags, I went home and stashed the different bags in wardrobes, kitchen & crockery shelves, and such places. Don’t remember where I might have kept the axe oil. But can’t find it anywhere. What I did find out was, that it’s lost!

Then yesterday, I discovered that an amount supposed to have received in payment was not recorded. Fact is, I don’t even remember receiving the amount. Lost or spent - no idea, but it seems to have been lost from memory!

Three incidents in one month was enough to drive me crazy, wondering why my memory failed me, and worried if it’s just a hint of what is to come. Some lost items, and one desperate mind trying to find it in the deep recesses of memory...with no luck!

Monday, June 08, 2015

The Cityzen

When I went to Chennai - I never thought I would be able to get over the soaring temperatures, the "floody" monsoons, the snarling traffic or the culture, language or food for that matter. I never did, but I miss the place dearly. 

When I got to Mumbai, the 1 hour suburban train travels, the pushy people, the 1 room-kitchen concept apartments and the crammed-up luxury was something I wanted to run away from. But within a month's time, it became home, and every other city was just not good enough. 

When I landed in Cochin, the beauty of the place was too good to be true, but the pace of the people was too slow to realize they were moving, the traffic jams through unplanned narrow roads were too much to take (I missed the suburban trains that were always on the dot), the choice of work was dull, the life after 9 pm was dead....and I could go on, but well, I've found my place and am loving each moment of it in my own "comfort zone". 

So I guess, it's not really the place, but your perspective and appreciation of what lies within that makes each place likable and feel like home. And thus, this cityzen is learning to enjoy every place for what it really is!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Sense of Rain

I see the blinding bolt
of lightening
Bringing with it cascading lashes
of rain;

I hear the whistling blow
of winds
As also the drumming roll
of thunder;

I smell the pleasantness
of moist earth
Just as I enjoy the breath
of fresh air;

I taste sweet joy bursting from the bitter fury
of skies
Even as I drink from my cup
of tea;

I feel the overflowing magic
of mirth
Though shrouded by the gloominess
of dark clouds;

The sense of rain
overwhelms me
Yet the sight, sound, smell, taste & feeling
fills me with wonder & hope.