So you write things down?

#Chatswithpeople #chatswithclients #chatswithparents #chatsinadvertising

Tring tring.
Prospective Client (PC): hello?
Me:…yes, hi. I’m Hapless Poor Writer and I was given your number in reference to Undefined Freelance Work That You Will Change the Brief of At Least Twice But Fuck I’m Poor and Desperate.

PC: oh yeah yeah. We’ve actually changed the scope of that work.
Me: of course. right…so now it’s…?
PC: undefined Freelance Jelly That Might Become Custard or Pudding But Will Definitely Turn Your Brains Into Jelly

Me: (sigh) brilliant. So how do we take this forward?
PC: why don’t you send us an initial proposal?

Me: sure…so I was thinking we could do Things on Instagram, Things on Facebook and Some More Things on Twitter. Along with Other Ideas. Does that work for you?
PC: that sounds great and bang on brief.
Me: okay, so I’ll mail you that then.

A day later.

PC: hey hi, so your proposal doesn’t work for us…can you re-do?
Me: sure, could we please quickly discuss the parts that don’t work?
PC: all of them.

Me:…o-kay. (BUT YOU SAID IT WAS BANG ON BRIEF BITCH WTF WAS THAT THEN) So what direction would you like me to work in?
PC: to make our brand famous.
Me:…right, perhaps we could narrow that down.
PC: to make our brand really famous.
Me: (through gritted teeth) certainly. and what should people do after your brand is very famous?
PC: Buy it.

Me:….sure. But we might not be able to structure all social media communication all the time around that…or that directly even…so what would you say is the campaign goal?
Me: awareness? Product features? Likeability? Likes?
PC:…let me check with my team get back to you.
Me: right, sure.

A day later.
PC: hi so we want to do Things on Instagram, Things on Facebook and Some More Things on Twitter. Along with Other Ideas.
Me:….yes, I believe that was my plan too…

PC: no, this is different from your plan.
PC: my team feels that your plan was lacking in focus and wouldn’t make us famous. But this one will. Your plan is Jelly, but this plan is Custard.
Me: okay. (I need money. I need money. I need money.) so if Custard is the goal, then would you like to explore Fruit Toppings and Ice Cream?
PC: yes.
PC: also…
Me: yes?
PC: could you give us an option for Jelly? It might help to explore our options.

Tring tring.
Dad: hello ma?
Dad: ah? What happened ma?
Dad: um…I don’t think that exchange scheme was available when your siblings were born.
Me: banging head against wall.


Servicing – a day in the life.

Dedicated to Hiroshima, Bonsai and all my servicing friends.
You know who you are, I’ve yelled at and threatened you enough.

The players:
Hiroshima: loud, explosive with long-lasting after effects that leave ears ringing and head whirling, and sometimes faces stinging. One of the two intelligent humans in the agency’s servicing dept. Strangely, in this post, she came out as the silent one.
Bonsai: tiny, but nonetheless more beautiful in brain and spirit than your normal sized specimens. The other intelligent human.

God: the head of the office. We all look to him for help or answers, but never actually get any.
Jack: Last name Ass. Servicing head. Possesses disturbing tendency towards inappropriate comments.

10 am
Hiroshima and Bonsai walk in.
Jack: why so late? Client called. I told him he can have anything he wants.
Hiroshima: he wants an ad on NASA’s next flight shuttle. How is that going to happen?
God: (impassive silence)
Jack: you’re the AE, you tell me. Anyway, meeting at 10:30.

Bonsai: what? Why?
Jack: for that thing I didn’t tell you about that’s gone wrong. After that meeting from last week that I didn’t tell you about either. Hiroshima, you come too. We’ll have a group orgy. Hahahaha. Get it? Group ORGY! Woo hoo!
Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

11 am. Client’s office. 
Client:…and even though WE sat on our collective asses for four weeks, we feel you should churn out the final product in 2 days, even though it normally takes 10 days.
God: (looking impassively on, offering of biscuits is slid before him)
Jack: oh yes yes yes. Geddit? Yes YES YES. Ahahahaha

Bonsai & Hiroshima (whispering to God and Jack): THREE days? Creative will kill us. HOW?
Jack: you’re the AEs, you tell me.
Bonsai: Whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: Sulky silence.

1 pm. In the creative section.
Bonsai and Hiroshima begging two separate art directors.
Bonsai: please! We have to deliver.
Art director 1: no.

Hiroshima: I’ll name my first child after you.
Art director 2: I don’t like children. Fuck off.

Bonsai (threateningly): God says you have to do this.
Art director 1: tell your boss to tell the boss to talk to our boss. We’re off for lunch.
The art directors swan off, leaving behind two shaking Japanese themed servicing people.

Bonsai: Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Why the FUCK did I get into advertising?
Hiroshima: Why the fuck was I born? Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Beleaguered copywriter working through lunch: what an adaptable word fuck is.
Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

2 pm. In studio.
Hiroshima and Bonsai begging studio boss.
H: please!
B: double please!
H: triple please!
B: quadruple!

Studio Boss: yes yes ok, but what do you WANT?
Hiroshima & Bonsai: oh. Didn’t we say? There is this job that normally needs four art directors and 10 days – and we need your 2 boys who’re doing 3 other things to do it in 2 days.

Studio Boss: please, continue begging. It will pass your time for 20 days, which is how long it will take to do this job.
Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

2:30 pm. Back to bosses.
Hiroshima and Bonsai to Jack and God: it can’t be done. Creative is refusing, studio is refusing. So HOW?
Jack: you’re the AEs, you tell me.

Hiroshima: fine. Lets hire temp workers.
Jack: no.
God: (stoic silence)

Bonsai: let’s outsource.
Jack: no.
God: (stoic silence)

Hiroshima: let’s ask other offices to help.
Jack: no.
God: (stoic silence)

Bonsai: let’s ask client to ask his other agency to handle the artworks, we’ll squeeze out the design.
Jack: no.
God: (stoic silence)

Hiroshima and Bonsai: *#%#$&%$#%???
Jack: you’re the AEs, you tell me.
God: (stoic silence)

Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

3 pm. Back to creative.
Hiroshima: okay, just do the initial work. 2 layouts, that’s all.
Art director 2: No.

Bonsai: okay just do a rough design. I’ll have it adapted.
Art director 1: No.

Hiroshima: PLEASE! I’ll marry my first daughter to you.
Art director 2: I don’t like girls either, dude. Gross.

Bonsai: I’ll chop your balls off.
Art director 1: too late, my wife already did that.

Hiroshima: okay. Drinks. Unlimited. During the time it takes you to do 2 layouts.
Art director 2: NOW you’re talking!
Art director 1 looks at Bonsai: wanna offer me pot?

Bonsai: fucking do it now or I’ll call your wife and tell her where you actually are every night.
Art director 1 considers for a moment: well, when you put it that way…

Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

5 pm. Layouts are ready. Time for copy.
Hiroshima and Bonsai: we need copy.
Beleaguered copywriter cowering: okay, okay. Anything you want, just don’t hit me anymore.
Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

5.30 pm. Layouts with copy ready.
Hiroshima: okay. So we’ve got layouts. Adapts in studio will still take 3 days.
Bonsai: bloody client. If only he’d TALKED to us first….
They look at each other, stunned.

Hiroshima and Bonsai on phone to respective clients: listen you, postpone the date.
Clients: WHAT? No way! God promised me!

Hiroshima & Bonsai: Do you WANT to bring up how I covered your ass last week? And will do it again the next time you screw up? Or do you want me to not help you out the next time you screw up?
Clients: No hurry man. Take five days, no issues. You guys are awesome.

Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

8:30 pm. Trudging out of office, after three hours in studio, two and a half hours of yelling and a half hour of holding head in hands at colossal stupidity of entire mankind.
Jack: Going already? Half day? We all worked all night, every day. Because we guys “got lucky” every night. Ahahahaha.
God: (impassive silence, hand raised in silent goodbye)

Bonsai: whatever. (Eye roll.)
Hiroshima: sulky silence.

Copywriter in empty, echoing office: hello? Anybody there? Should I stop writing now?

Film opens on…

Bears no resemblence to servicing people, living or drunk.
#chatswithclients #chatswithservicing #chatswithcopywriters#chatswithpeople #21 #longread

Stage 1
Starts with the client’s brief.
Servicing Person: We need a really kick ass creative for xyz client. They want something really wild. You know?
Creative Person: Yeah you said that the last time. We created a Good Year Blimp and executed a single beige balloon. I don’t think I want to go through that again.
Servicing Person: No, no they definitely want something cool. Whacky. Totally out there.

Stage 2
Creative slogs. Everyone in the agency wanks off over it. And we end up with a script.
(Note: Yes, this is a nursery rhyme. But just go with it)
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown.
And Jill came tumbling after.

Stage 3
Day of presentation. Creative is escorted, minus cuffs, but with similar doomed outlook, to client’s office and plonked in a chair.
Servicing fumbles through pre-mumble. Creative person sighs. Goes into overdrive. Animatedly presents above script.
Client: Ok. Very cool. (thinks) hmmm……
Birds chirp. The world goes pink for the creative. This is unprecedented. This is…
Client: But we’re a children’s brand. So no breaking anything.
Creative (aghast): But the breaking is the pivotal point. The high point. Else the climax is flat.
Client: Yah. Yah. I get what you’re saying. But no breaking. Or tumbling. That’s child abuse. And make the logo bigger.
Creative: But…
Servicing Pimp: Okay, okay. We’ll fix it.
Creative: Silence. Enraged looks. Sulky expressions.

Stage 4
Creative drags feet. Pimp, I mean Servicing complains to Creative boss. Boss yells at Creative. Creative fixes script. Back at client’s. The new script.
Jack and Jill went up the hill.
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack came down, laughing at a clown,
And Jill came skipping after.

Client: Haan! Nice nice.
Creative (slightly mollified): Thank you, I thought the skipping…
Client: Can we have a dog?
Creative: What?
Client: A dog. A little puppy. You know? Kids love puppies.
Creative: What????
Servicing: Oh, ok. The animal factor. Very smart.
Client beams at servicing: Exactly.
Creative: But what would this infernal dog DO?
Client: You’re the creative na, you figure it out. Oh, and make the logo bigger.
While leaving, servicing walks a full two feet behind seething Creative.

Stage 5
Creative has now given up hope. And fighting. Wordlessly works. Done. Back at client’s. With considerably less animation.

Jack and Jill went up the hill.
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack came down with a cute little puppy dog.
And Jill came skipping after.

Client: NICE. Wow. Very good.
Creative: Ok. Whatever.
Client: But…
Creative sighs. No way to go but down.
Client: See, we have to be careful about how we present our company. We do a lot of social responsibility stuff. So this whole going up a hill to fetch water, is very third world.
Creative (tonelessly): We live in India. We ARE third world.
Client: Yes, but no need to show reality in advertising no? No no. I want a tap that the kids can take water from. Also, instead of going up the hill, that’s like child labour, let’s just have them run around. And make the logo bigger.

Stage 6
Creative is now on auto pilot. New script at client’s place.

Jack and Jill played in front of a hill.
With a tap that dispensed water.
Jack had a cute little puppy.
And Jill shared it.

Client: WOW. I’m amazed. You guys are good.
Creative: silence.
Servicing: Thanks thanks, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Client: Great. Let’s research it. You’ll attend, na?
Servicing: Of course.

Stage 7
Research. A method by which bored, low IQ, low SEC, frustrated housewives who are not the target audience or even related to the target audience by virtue of being human – view the ad and pass comments on it for a free steel tiffin dabba and tea.

The script is often animated through simple illustrations, and played.
Housewife 1: I don’t like dogs. A dog bit me when I was 6.
Housewife 2: Are these two boyfriend and girlfriend? That is not Indian culture. Chee.
Housewife 3: If I don’t like the ad do I still get my dabba?
Housewife 4: I don’t have running water. Why should these two? This ad is not realistic.
Housewife 5: Ya, I agree. India has so many lakes. Why not show two children living next to a lake? Like Kashmir. Only without the fighting.
Housewife 6: I don’t like her frock. My Pinky would never wear that.
Housewife 3: Can I see the dabba before I comment?
Housewife 2: That frock is too short. Yeh item number hai ki ad?
Housewife 4: Indian kids are not so fair. Make them brown.
Housewife 5: India ka geography dekha hai? So nice. We went to a hill station last summer. I like hill stations.
Housewife 1: Has that dog had rabies shots?

Researcher dutifully notes down. And sends a mail to client.
At agency:
Creative: Hey how was the research?
Servicing: Oh fine, they loved your script. No issues.

Stage 8
Back at Client’s office.
Client: Okay. Some minor changes have to be made.
Creative (cautiously): ok.
Client: So. Basically the following points.
– We have to have the girl tying the rakhi on the boy to show they are brother and sister.
– She needs to wear a salwar kameez.
– We will shoot in a hill station that has a lake.
– The kids need to be ordinary looking, middle class, brown, but not too brown, also can pass off as rich, classy-looking kids.
– Can we show the dog getting a rabies shot? ‘Coz I really like the dog.
– Oh, and the logo needs to be bigger.
Creative wordlessly nods. Gets up. Goes home. Gets very depressed. Gets drunk/stoned/chocolated and registers on

Stage 9
Final script time. Zombies now asking Creative for lessons in how to look and act dead.

Brown Jack and Brown salwar kameez Jill
Lived opposite a lake and a hill
Jill tied a rakhi, Jack got happy
And a little doggie who’d had its rabies shots ran around them cutely.

Client: WOW! WONDERFUL. You guys should enter it for Cannes.