Monthly Archives: March 2010

ADventures 2 – Scriptwriting in advertising

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  (sceptically): 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.

(Note: If you’re ever asked to do ‘mad’ and ‘whacky’ stuff, just turn and run out. Trust me, it will be the sanest decision of your life – i.e. the decision that will keep you sane. )

Stage 2
Creative slogs. Works. Everyone in the agency wanks off over it. And we end 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. Lets 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. Kinda like Gandhi class at the movies.

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

  1. we have to have the girl tying the rakhi on the boy to show they are brother and sister.
  2. She needs to wear a salwar kameez.
  3. We will shoot in a hill station that has a lake.
  4. The kids need to be ordinary looking, middle class, brown, but not too brown, also can pass off as rich classy looking kids.
  5. Can we show the dog getting a rabies shot? Coz I really like the dog.
  6. Oh, and the logo needs to be bigger.

Creative wordlessly nods. Gets up. Goes home. Gets very depressed.
Contemplates blowing brains out. Gets drunk instead or eats two tons of chocolate.

Stage 9
Final script time. Zombies now asking Creative for lessons in how to look and act like 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. Can we enter it for Cannes?
Creative mentally shoots client and dismembers body.
Servicing beams. Job done.
Creative mentally lists all other professions possible.
Servicing looks forward to hefty bonus and promotion.


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ADventures 1: Nursery Rhymes for Copywriters

Baa baa, black sheep
Have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
One for my master, one for my dame
And one for the little copywriter going insane.

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Posted by on March 16, 2010 in Advertising


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