Narayan Narayan Narayan…..

The creative brief - the modern day equivalent of Narad Muni, the legendary instigator from Indian mythology. Anything but an ordinary piece of paper minding its own business. Ideally something that should serve as a catalyst for great creative work, but the only things that it succeeds in bringing to the fore are paper shredders, increased blood pressures, heightened decibel levels, inflated egos, deflated morales and sometimes airborne account executives…

Ram - Eternal fall guy

"WHERE IS THE BRIEF?" boomed PP, as he stormed into Vikas‘ room, furiously shagging his trademark moustache. Vikas, who was in the midst of enlightening some rather buxom summer trainees about the finer points (or ‘harder‘ points in this case) of the craft, looked up unperturbed. He waived away his harem with a casual flick of the wrist that would have done Azhar proud.

"Calm down PP. Why are you talking in all caps?" he quipped keeping his tone just that bit chirpy so as to really get under PP‘s skin. "Look I am not here to have a ‘font‘astic time. Can we all meet in the conference room on this?" said PP, leaving Vikas‘ room quickly before he got infected by the ‘servicing virus‘.

An hour later, the conference room was packed like players in a defensive wall facing a Roberto Carlos free kick. PP and the entire creative team. The President, Vikas and Ram all were huddled together scribbling fictitious notes on their writing pads. This had gone on for at least twenty minutes when PP decided that the situation was going nowhere and he needed to establish eye contact.

"Chal Vikas, ab bata what is the client brief?" PP started, to be fair, in a pleasanter font. Vikas paused to look up from his writing of the oracle and glanced sideways in Ram‘s direction. Ram knew what was expected of him. He had heard about how AE‘s (and mostly unconfirmed ones) were thrown out of conference rooms during briefing sessions. He had even taken time out to wear knee and other guards that day. He had to choose his opening remarks carefully.

"Well, the client wants a new campaign" Ram began, only to have Vikas interject "The Client wants a new campai…"Vikas had hardly finished his sentence when PP jumped in "That is not a brief. When will you suits stop just repeating what the client says? I want it in one line …"

Chai Lai - Mystic philosopher

"The cream that goes down …not up" Ram had barely finished mouthing this line when he suddenly realized that everyone had stopped bickering and were looking at him with mouths agape, like he had revealed the killer before the movie started.

"Old Chinese proverb - Never attempt a headline in the creative directors presence when there are more than two people in the room…especially if you are from servicing" the gospel was whispered in Ram‘s ears as he suddenly saw a tea cup materialize in his hand as Chai-La (the mystical Chinese canteen boy) morphed into the tube of itching cream that was laid on the table.

"What the f…" began PP "You guys don‘t do my job. Tell me what the marketing problem is?" said PP nearly pulling out three hair strands from his whiskers "But I have described that in the brief!" started Ram. "Nobody reads the brief on their own, they have to be taken through it, you see" said Vikas weighing every word with the vicious delight of a newsreader laboriously doing the weather report when what you really are dying to hear is the latest score that follows. In a rare moment of maturity, PP let the jibe pass.

PP - Can‘t stand marketers

He turned to Ram, his tone much softer. "Yeah, why exactly are we doing this campaign?" "Because we need the money" said the President and burst out into peals of laughter that died a premature death when no one in the room saw the funny side. He went back to furiously taking notes on his pad.

PP signaled Ram to continue. "Well, it so happened that in one particular state, people started using our brand (of itching cream) on their faces instead of their groins due to some strange accident and the habit stuck." "So they all ended up looking like dicks…." Vikas could not resist himself. "Yeah, now we all know what you have been using," said PP who had been waiting for such an opportunity all season.

There was a mirth quake in the conference room. Ram dared not laugh because he knew Vikas‘ eyes were on him but how his stomach hurt! "You can laugh all the way through the night. The campaign is required tomorrow," interjected Vikas once the ‘sounds of humiliation‘ had died down.

Chief - Doesn‘t have a clue

Now it was PP‘s turn to change colours-Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red to be precise. (For those scientifically inclined and I hope there are no such people reading this article…the light reflecting from PP‘s face had passed through a prism) "What nonsense. You are just briefing us now and you want the campaign tomorrow?" "Yes. You have any questions?" "Where do they make people like you?" "That‘s classified information. Any questions related to the campaign?" "Yeah, why don‘t they just re-position it as a face cream?"

"You must be joking" "If you want the campaign tomorrow, you must be!" The conference room was beginning to resemble the pure efficient purring of our legislative assembly doing what they do best (that was just to put you in the election mood).

There was no deadline that the client had indicated, but only Ram and Vikas knew that. Information was power.

The President cut into the PP-Vikas crossfire. "Well PP, you know the state on the account. It might be up for a pitch. I know it‘s short notice but you will have to churn out something." "Well, we all know why it‘s up for pitch. There is something called servicing which some guys should be doing," roared on PP, his eyes transfixed on Vikas.

"Why don‘t you just …" Vikas was stopped in mid sentence as his cell rang. He glanced down at it and rushed out of the room to take the call. An action that made Ram feel certain that it could only be either his mysterious Slovakian girlfriend from the ‘pole dancing hall of fame‘ or the client Mr. Bose.

Vikas - Smooth operator

Ten minutes and twenty ‘rash‘ jokes later, Vikas popped his head in. "I tell you what PP. Lets sit together and figure this out. I will stay till we crack it" PP was caught on the wrong foot with that. "Ok I guess there is no other option" said a resigned PP, with the genuine warmth of someone making an Oscar acceptance speech. "Ah that‘s the spirit my boy, that‘s the way an agency should work" the President beamed, clearly relieved that he would not have to make a highly stressful call to the client to postpone the deadline.

As everyone trooped out of the conference room, Vikas caught up with Ram. "It was Bose. He told me that he wanted to see the campaign tomorrow. Else he is briefing another agency. Just give me a few packs of the cream so that I can sit with PP."

"What about the brief?" "That‘s just a formal excuse to fight with each other. You don‘t really think we need it to do any work, do you. Just keep a copy in the files." "To keep my rear end covered?" "Getting smarter, I see." Vikas strolled out of the room.

Ram had paused to pick up all the papers when a sagely voice whispered. "Ancient masters say that an agency will continue in its state of rest or of uniform chatting on PCs until it is acted upon by an external unbalanced deadline." "Hey but isn‘t that Newton‘s first law of…" Ram started when he felt his empty tea cup disintegrate in his hands.

He caught a fleeting glimpse of Chai-La vanish into the brief.

After stints at Lowe, Mudra and Everest, the author is in the midst of a break to mentally prepare himself for the challenges of Euro 2004 and the Athens Olympic Games. He can be contacted at

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

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