MAM

My fair baby!



It‘s a quirky world full of inscrutable clients, unrealistic deadlines and unpredictable bursts of energy, advertising is.
Presenting tongue-in-cheek peeks at life in media as it exists in India. We would also welcome such and similar thoughts that you would like to see featured in this column. Feel free to pen in your own take to admadworld@indiantelevision.com.


The trophy spouse: - Natures way of balancing things. A shameless modification of the law of conservation indicates that beauty and brains must exist in two separate corpuses and only when they come together in the holy union of matrimony is societal equilibrium achieved. However the process of conducting business callously, does create fissures that contest this stable state.


"Ah!" started Vikas, with a satisfied grunt. "There is nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a new business, the possibilities it offers at an intellectual level, the challenges it throws our way everyday?"


"Look I know we are standing here aimlessly waiting," butted in PP (the creative director of the exaggerated moustache fame). But that does not mean we need to be subjected to your verbal diarrhea."


Vikas felt a surge of anger running through his ice cool veins and then discovered the ice cool veins were as a result of being a touch too close to the AC vent.


Dharti (the strategy head) shot a glance at Vikas and that seemed to calm him down. Ram (the last man standing usually) noticed the ‘moment‘ that happened there with a faint tinge of jealousy. Ok, admittedly it was much more than just ‘faint‘.


PP, Vikas, Dharti, Sarita (Vikas‘s external organ but otherwise at Ram‘s level) and Planimus (the gladiatorial media planning head) were huddled in the lobby in an endeavor to welcome the new client at the agency doorstep, albeit the wave of internal cynicism that from there, ‘it would be progressively all downhill.‘


The president had wrangled this one completely on his own, apparently on a flight, just as the plane reached Mumbai, but then expectedly struck the ‘circling malaise‘.


"When others went around in circles, I took the straight and narrow and closed the deal," the president had informed them on a triumphant conference call, with typical modesty.
As the cheers had erupted in the office, he added further,
"They will be visiting our office in a few days, as I will be away on vacation. I expect you guys to handle it."


"No problem" jumped in Vikas, "we are on it", with the earnestness of a male beaver building his bridges during the mating season.


"One more point, they always move as a couple and the thing to remember is that the person who influences things is the ?"


Cheers erupted in the office again as the customary round of spirits made their rounds in glassware to seek resonance with those in a more ethereal form. The president had hung up at the other end.


"What did he say?" queried Ram in his customary diligent manner.


"Nothing, he just said, one member of the couple is more the influencer, and we all know who that will be." Vikas had dismissed Ram‘s innocent query with typical disdain.


As they stood in the lobby with bated breath, the elevator doors clicked alive and out strode the couple in question. The man was of such breath taking aesthetic endowment- that a small puddle of saliva began developing near Dharti and Sarita‘s feet.


The lady was bespectacled, pleasant looking with rather forthright hair. Ram noticed there was a little something about her that eluded immediate quantification.


After the usual round of hand shakes and a rather overzealous ‘air kissing‘ extravaganza, all the concerned were quickly transported to the conference room.


"There is always more than what meets the eye, sometimes appearances can truly lie."

The express delivery of the tea cup, the trademark wisdom pearl and Chai-La, the mystical canteen tea boy, had vanished into Sarita‘s mirror as she examined her lipstick alignment, the turbulence causing her to smear her face a touch.


"Excuse me" she murmured like an embarrassed virgin, ‘touched for the very first time‘ and bashfully retreated to more private quarters temporarily.


Ram paused with pen in hand, as always, waiting to record the monumental events that were afoot. At least that‘s what he told himself to make the onerous task of capturing discussions in meetings seem more meaningful.


"What is the business that you are in?" began Dharti, with her eyes transfixed on her handsome new client. "Mr Henpecker, that‘s quite a unique surname I might add."

The hunk beamed back at her, a trifle embarrassed, while his better half replied.


"Actually it‘s my house name. Adam and I met when I was the chief guest at some event where he was walking the ramp. I fell for him the moment he turned around and strutted back," she patted his hand fondly at that moment, "so I sought him out backstage and after the usual things that happen, proposed to him. He has been with me ever since, my faithful, loyal husband. He even changed his surname to mine, isn‘t that sweet? Most people actually think he runs the company, fancy that. But then, as the meetings go on, they realize who wears the trousers. By the way I‘m Helen."


There was a silent murmur in the room. Nobody quite knew how to react.


"Of course, very magnanimous of him and all that," said Vikas, for once speaking to the relief of all from the agency, even PP was a touch stumped at that moment.


"We are launching a range of swings in this country," began Helen, suddenly in a tone that would have caused many sea faring captains to change their course.


"They are unique in the sense that they can be programmed according to mood. If you are in a bad mood, the swinging momentum is reduced and as your mood picks up, so does the oscillation of the swing?"


"In fact, it can be said that we take care of your mood swings," butted in Adam.


Ram chuckled. The others were about to laugh when they held back their expressions as they spotted the severe look on Helen‘s face.


"There Adam," she mildly reprimanded him, running her hand through his impeccably set hair and toying with his earlobes, "leave this to me, I am briefing them, aren‘t I?"


Adam smiled back sportingly and the other women in the room instantly began dreaming about running around trees with him. Sarita actually had a look that would have forced censor boards to review what was permissible as far as meeting room fantasies go.



Helen‘s trained eyes detected rival affections with the focus of a women‘s kitty party group, finding the discount corner in a superstore.


"Adam, why don‘t you show Sarita the cool windscreen wipers on our new car and also get the three magazines I was reading," she ordered with queen like authority.


"But?" began Adam, and Helen firmly pressed his hand. He stood up and smiled Sarita‘s way. She was only to glad to be with him, wherever that would be.


"Vikas," said Helen, "I don‘t want that girl on my account, is that understood? I don‘t want her back in the room."


Vikas thought about complaining, but found his mind, tongue and other faculties in some sort of grip that wasn‘t his own. He merely texted Sarita that she wouldn‘t be needed in the meeting anymore and promptly switched off his cell.


Adam returned with the three magazines. Helen cursorily took them from him and flung them aside. Ram thought he detected a hurt expression in Adam‘s eyes.


"We need the agency to firstly devise a brand name, something that would really capture our product in a favorable light and make consumers aspire to possess one?"


"What about web swinger?" jumped in Adam, "our product has something to do with the internet, so that should certainly ring true."

A room full of blank expressions stared back at Adam, most of them kindly.


"Adam," Helen explained, with almost condescendingly avuncular patience. "Consumers can only place orders on our website that‘s standard for most businesses today. The internet is in no way integral to our product offering and this is the third time I have told you that."

Sensibly no one from the agency troubled the air waves at that moment.


"We need a brand name, a logo and a slogan," continued Helen, "that should start things off nicely; we can discuss the campaign deliverables post finalising these."


"What about, ‘we swing both ways for you‘, for the baseline? I think that will be really cool," Adam quipped in, again with optimistic exuberance.


Years of heartburn has taught agencies that silence is a great ally at times where unpleasant marital emotion menacingly lurks and this learning has been transmitted through the collective DNA of almost every advertising agency in the world.


To cut a long story short, nobody again replied from the agency side.


"Adam, we are trying to sell a swing, not some erogenous enabler," erupted Helen, slapping her man on the wrist, her intelligent eyes blazing with the ‘shame‘ that her spouse was so passionately bent on causing her.


Adam stood up, all of six feet three inches, washboard abs, bulging biceps and wafer thin waistline. Helen instinctively started stroking his back.


"You never listen to any of my ideas. I feel so worthless around you, you are so insensitive," he blurted, choking back some tears."I am going down to the car," he announced and with the speed of an athlete, trying to get away from the smell of his own socks, exited the room.



Helen cast an understanding smile on the audience and followed suit, telling Vikas as she left the room that she would connect later.


"What an idiot!" began Vikas.
"But a very hot one," chuckled Dharti.
"I pity him," remarked Planimus.
"I think he is smarter than we give him credit for," was PP‘s contribution.

They all left the room, leaving Ram to clear up.


"It is common knowledge from Cairo to Rome; it takes more than two bodies to make a happy home."


The hushed oriental tone, the express delivery of the tea cup and Chai-La had disintegrated into the Yin-Yang poster on the wall.


One of the rare times when the quizzical rhyme was not lost on Ram.


The writer is an independent strategic & ideation consultant. He is also the patron saint of Juhu Beach United, a football club that celebrates the "unfit, out of breath media professional of today." You can write to him at (vinaykanchan@hotmail.com).


(The views expressed here are those of the author and Indiantelevision.com need not necessarily subscribe to the same)

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