Category Archives: Advertising

ADventures 11 – No country for young women

Big agencies always have Big Daddies coming over. Why, no one knows. Presumably they must do something to fill their time. And skipping from office to office commenting on loo hygiene and the peeling paint on the walls satisfies their life purpose.
Note: This entire post is based in reality fictional. 

Monday morning in a fictional ad agency in a made-up galaxy far, far away:

Servicing hottie: “Tra la la! Another day of tormenting creative people! Wheeee!”
Art Director, smoking, watching her go: “If that bitch comes near me before lunch, I’ll cut her.”
Copywriter: “Fuck, really? Wait, I’ll call her now only.”
Racuous laughter. The day has begun.

Monday afternoon, post lunch siesta, two female copywriters are discussing their love lives brand strategy
Copywriter: “Servicing cow has sent mail…FUCK.”
Other female copywriter (OFC): “What now? The client wants my fucking uterus in the script?”
1st Copywriter reading mail out loud: “Ladies, Heard through the Glassvine that Big Daddy will be in town tomorrow. Please take appropriate action.”
OFC: “Has she marked everyone necessary?”
1st Copywriter: YES. Bless her, she always does. Okay, we need to leave early and shop.”
Male Art Director: “Haan! Finally! Stop wearing these old things. Go sexy! We need something to look at!”
The combined gaze of the women reduces him to ashes which are wafted towards his computer. His mouse now moves like in an ouija board.

Next Day, 10 am
Bright and sunny morning. The Branch Head steps out.
“Good morning!” is chirped out at everyone. Cleaners are gently reminded that if any dust is seen, their heads will be parted from their bodies. Secretaries are told to please polish the fucking china and get coffee from a decent restaurant this time.
The office is on time. The punctuality KRA of the quarter has been met with this one day alone.
Branch Head stops short in his journey towards the Creative Dept. Where are the women?
He bounds back in. And stops. ALL the women are in Indian clothes. With dupattas almost swaddling them.
He clutches his hair and almost wails. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE FUCKING PEOPLE? Why do they roam around almost naked on most days and look like they’re attending a funeral TODAY of all days?
A secretary walks past with some cups and his attention is diverted.

11:30 am.
Big Daddy enters. A welcoming committee comprising the Branch Head, Ass Licker 1, Ass Licker 2 and the new hire, an Account Director in her 30s – is stationed at the door.
Big Daddy walks in. “Hello, hello, hello all. How are you all?”
Hands are shook, flattery happens and then, Big Daddy smiles: “Oh helllooo. You’re new. What’s your lovely name?” He asks New Hire’s boobs, both of whom seem shocked speechless at this level of unprecedented attention.
New Hire’s mouth kicks into action: “F-f-f-fine, thank you. Er.” Her boobs are confused. Weren’t they being talked to? Why was Mouth answering?
Glances are exchanged amongst the rest of the (male) party. Bets were mentally calculated as to how long New Hire would last post this trauma.

12:30 pm: After an hour closeted with the Branch Head, Big Daddy is ready to explore virgin territories. Literally.
Servicing Saviour dials 1st Copywriter on extension: “ALERT! ALERT! The Vulture has landed! ALERRRRRT!”
Dupattas are stapled into shoulders, hair is scraped back – every woman now looks like she works in an NGO.

Big Daddy enters with welcoming committee, minus the New Hire who’s been sent home for rest and recuperation.
Big Daddy: “Hello, hello, hello, so nice to be here again!” He speaks from his heart, to the region around he women’s.
Assorted raggedy bunch: “Hiiiummhgfgh.”
Branch Head, maniacally nodding: “SUCH a pleasure to have you with us!”
Big Daddy surveys the range of swaddling dupattas around him. “Very….PLEASURABLE to be here.”
Mentally, every woman throws up.
Lips are stretched, rictus-like.
Beads of sweat start to appear.
Big Daddy is engrossed in a distance evaluation of thick South Indian cotton. What lies beneath indeed.

Branch Head, cracking under the pressure, brightly: Lunch?
Big Daddy: “Ah, yes. Great idea.” He points at the youngest sacrificial virgin servicing girl’s boobs. “Why don’t you come along? I can find out what you think of the agency.”

Strained laughter is heard. German prisons have more joie de vivre.
The Youngest smiles uncertainly. First her boss told her to dress conservatively and then piled an extra dupatta on her. Now she had to go for lunch?

The other women tearfully watched her go.
Servicing girl: “Poor thing. We should have put a third duppatta.”
1st Copywriter: “Or locked her in the bathroom.”
They sigh.
Life goes on.
The duppattas were put into storage till the next quarter.



ADventures 10 – Meet the Bosses.

First Advertising Interview:
Some Creative Director: I don’t like the 3 ads in your book. They’re too college-y.
You (fresh out of college): Okay. (vigorously nodding) That’s why I want to join here. For kick ass work. I would work really hard.
Interview after 2 years of late nights, slogging, proof-checking till your eyes bleed, doing the shit work and then seeing bigger campaigns go to seniors:
Another Creative Director: I like the first three campaigns. But not the others.
You: (Nodding) Yes, that’s why I want to join here. For kick ass work. I would work really hard.
(at the same time)
Yet another CD: I like the last three campaigns. But not the others.
You: (Nodding) Yes, that’s why I want to join here. For kick ass work. I would work really hard.
Interview at 5 years knowing that CDs are too human, taste is subjective, hell, creativity is subjective.
ECD: I like the first four campaigns only. But you don’t have enough released work.
You: (Nod) Okay, that’s why I want to join here.
(at the same time)
Another ECD: I like the last five campaigns, not the first four. But you don’t have enough scam work.
You: (Nod) Okay, that’s why I want to join here.
Interview at 7 years
ECD/Regional CD/NCD: I love your work! But we have a head count issue.
You: Okay. Um. (not sure if I want to join here)
At the same time:
ECD/Regional CD/NCD: So, I can’t say I like your work. Frankly, I can’t afford you. (These sentences should have been in reverse order.)
You: Okay. Um. (not sure if I want to join here)
The one thing all these guys have in common is that they all made me wait at least 20 minutes.
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Advertising




Creepy Colleague: You’ll totally drool over me now.
Me: What?
Creepy Colleague: You’re gonna be so turned on.
Me: (Words fail me but vomit raises its hand)
Creepy Colleague: I painted something.
Me: (waiting. Surely there must be more. For me to be turned on by this fellow, he must have discovered the cure for cancer. And even that might not be enough.)
(Realising that’s it.) Okay. What did you paint?

He unfurls a T-shirt: I painted this cool snake on my T-shirt.
Me: (Words? Fail.)
Creepy Colleague: Isn’t it AWESOME?
Me: (FINALLY!) Yes. I’ve always admired self-portraits.
He: Aren’t you turned on?
Me: Yes. Very. In fact I should go be alone in the bathroom. (Stagger away)



ADventures 9 – Out of the agency, into the quagmire

So I’m now in a non-agency advertising role.
I honestly don’t know if this is a good move or a bad move or whatever – given that I don’t see myself in a traditional, hidebound agency set-up anymore, or even in the future…
Should I even be terming these adventures in advertising? But it’s still defined as advertising, just not in an agency…


This post isn’t about my career choices, it’s about some gems I overheard today.

So the scenario is this. Overzealous Marketing Guy (OMG, who I suspect has more than enthusiasm coursing through his system) is commenting on some layouts that need to go out. The layouts are not just idiot proof, they’re amoeba-brain proof. Yet OMG is pondering them with the seriousness of Moses deciding on which commandments to carry down.

OMG – Do we need the “the” in this sentence?
Me (dumbfounded) – Um yeah, it’s Watch the program. So yes, its necessary. Else it would be “Watch program” and we’d sound stupid. It’s grammatically incorrect.
OMG – Yeah, grammatically, yeah but advertising can take liberties right?
Me – speechless, I didn’t realise what we were doing was advertising. I manage to shake my head in dissent and smile shakily.
OMG – Okay. Do you think it looks alright in this angle?
Me – Um. You mean the logo? Yeah. Okay. Hey, Art Director, please put a full stop at the end of program.
OMG – Yes! A full stop! Wow! That just gives the whole thing this poetic finish! Fantastic!
Me – Mouth open.

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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Advertising, Rants


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‘I wish I’d done this’ II. Actually more I DREAM of doing this.

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Posted by on February 9, 2011 in Advertising, Raves



I wish I’d done this. A long copy ad by Meteorite London.

One of 21 other lovely long copy ads.

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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Advertising, Raves



ADventures 7 – It’s QUITTING DAY!!!

The title is the name of a jingle Hiroshima invented when she quit at our last workplace.
She actually woke up early, and woke me up to bawl it into my sleep tenderized ear.
Today, I sang too.
I’ve been in my current job for a little over two months.
I hated it, and my boss right from the first day. This is a man who has no expression on his face, no matter what happens. Happy? Sad? Drunk? Constipated? You just can’t tell with this guy. Ideally, I’d call him the Sphinx. But since he sucks so much, I call him the Stinx.
That pretty much describes his creative and boss-ive abilities as well.

By the second week, I wanted to leave. And was really jittery taking a house as well.  By the end of the first month, I hated my new job, I’d found and lost two potential houses, my grandfather had had a stroke, and I was miserable, homesick and extremely demoralised.

I moved to Mumbai to change fields. But with each passing hour, I kept wondering if I was a fool to sit here and get depressed in this job, hoping that something might or might not happen in six months.

Moving in no time is fairly common in advertising. So after many many rationalising sessions, many self-justifications and guilt trips to the moon on my own and with friends, I decided to quit. And fixed a date.
And then moved it up because I couldn’t stand the place.

So this morning, I called Hiroshima. And sang, “ITS QUITTING DAYYYY!”
Then, I went in to work. Approached my boss.
And in my best, I’m-so-sorry-but-I’m-helpless voice, I laid it out.

Me: Hi. Got a minute?
The Stinx: No change of expression.

Me: So, after my grandfather’s stroke, my parents have been very stressed. And they’re finding the going very difficult. And they’ve asked if I’ll come home. And its all gone back and forth a lot, and basically I’ve agreed. So…
The Stinx: No change of expression.

Me: Er. Yeah. So.
The Stinx: (FINALLY) So, when would you like to leave?
Me (thinking that was easy, he can’t wait to have me out): Um, No, I’ll serve notice and go. (I need to, I need the money!)
The Stinx: No change of expression.
Me: Er. So…(making hand gestures that are supposed to mean “Can I go? but end up looking obscene.)
The Stinx: Actually, I’d prefer you hold on till Monday, when the super boss is back….
Me: Okay…okay…but my dates will stay the same.
The Stinx: (Expression changes from irritated to…more irritated) Why? What do you mean?
Me: I’d like to be done by the 25th.
The Stinx: No change of expression.

Me: (Words are pouring out like endless rain to fill this empty pot) So by Christmas.
The Stinx: What?? 25th of December???
Me: (wondering when else Christmas is celebrated) Yes.
The Stinx: No change of expression.

Me: (Pick an expression. Any expression.) Er. Yes. So.
The Stinx: No change of expression.
The Stinx: But how can you serve only 15 days?
Me (because it says so on my contract?) …. Er. Um. Because…
The Stinx: (cutting me off expressionlessly): I have to check this. (turns his face away from me, expressionlessly)
Me: (looking at him, realising that I’ve dismissed, pick up my ers and scoot)


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