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


This man is sadly no more. He passed away on 20th January 2019 at the age of 86 yrs. May his soul rest in peace.

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...