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Wham, Bam it‘s a scam…

The scam ad ritual - the scam-ad law states that the greatness (or award winning possibility) of an ad is inversely proportional to the number of people comprehending it, culminating in the ideal situation wherein the creator himself cannot distinguish it from things thrown up after the previous night‘s excesses.


Needless to say this is the one creative the agency turns around with the speed of a Shoaib Akthar ball (or Brett Lee if you prefer), and the last fortnight before the deadline sees the entire agency strive towards one goal - to get as many of these incomprehensible bits of communication released as is permissible by the law of Shekhar (ref. below).








Ram - Eternal fall guy

"What do you think of this?" Tanya, the cute servicing trainee pushed a layout in Ram‘s face, just as he was contemplating serious moral issues like whether to claim his previous night‘s dinner bill or not. Ram glanced at it and was stumped.


It had two twigs intertwined in a Valentine day like position; there was a pack shot of the clients anti rash cream and a small line that read "For that seven year itch."


Ram could have reacted like a professional, however given his hapless to be confirmed AE status, and these being the first words Tanya had uttered in his direction over the last ten days… "Nice. Really nice, " he said, trying to look scholarly as he handled it with the respect normally accorded to a Samantha Fox poster (in her prime so that you get the picture).


Ram looked up to see tears streaming down Tanya‘s face. "You beast…" she blubbered and stormed off in the direction of her copywriter Steven. "I told you that the line made it too simple now we have to try another one. What good is this if the servicing guy got it?"


Those words shook the normally affable Steven, who paused from his chatting excursions and nodded that Tanya‘s words had registered in his CPU.








Chai Lai - Mystic philosopher

Vikas (Ram‘s boss) who had been watching all of this, strolled over and patted Ram on his shoulder. "Chief that was really stupid. Now we have to wait for them to come up with another and that gives us lesser time to catch the deadline?"


"But... I told her it was a nice ad." Ram suddenly heard a sagely voice materialise in his ear as if by magic "eet is never an award winning ad if people can get eet... especially servicing - Old Chinese proverb." That was Chai-La, the mystical Chinese canteen boy.


Ram felt a tea cup magically appear in his hand and the rustle of a boom tube that facilitated inter dimensional beverage transfer.








PP - Can‘t stand marketers

"Now these guys will have to crack another one." Vikas muttered under his breath but still hoping that it would be audible enough to piss off PP, the creative director. Which it did.


"Hey you don‘t worry we will crack it fast. You try and see that you keep the publication ready. We can‘t miss this ad. Baat karta hain." PP stormed off towards his troops spewing venomous comments about their parentage.


"Rats the next time you see something don‘t get it... even if you do. Understood Chief?"


"But why don‘t they just take this one and the other one as well, either ways the client is not paying for any of this?" Ram wanted to know.


"The law of Shekhar." Chai-La whispered in Ram‘s ear as he scooped the empty tea cup from Ram‘s hand and disintegrated into fine pieces (6 point size). "The law of Shekhar?" repeated a confused Ram.


Vikas looked up at Ram in awe. Jargon and incomprehensible stuff was supposed to be his turf. He suddenly began feeling the warm glow of unconditional love for Ram till he realised that Chai-La had placed a steaming hot tea cup in his hand. "Very good chief. I see that you are learning the ropes."


"But what is it?"


"Well many years ago a certain bloke called Shekhar picked up the ‘Scam Times‘, the publication where our ad is going to appear as well, he went through pages one, two and three only to find three successive ads of the same brand. Poor guy was in a bad enough state after one but three was criminal. I say even we guys should have some ethics, anyway his brain kind of shut down and he has been in a coma ever since. So from that day on it is the unwritten code in all agencies that they will not venture more than one scam ad of the same brand in any publication. Well we could have stretched it to two but we have to be socially responsible you know." Ram drank in the ‘gyan.‘


"But given the state of this publication how is it possible that any normal person would read it?"








Vikas - Smooth operator

"That‘s where the system failed. He was sent a complimentary copy." Vikas concluded with the sadness of a mother crocodile that has been forced to eat all her offspring (that happens you guys should watch more TV).


"Got it. Got it. Got it." PP boomed at the top of his voice, causing the US Marines to momentarily stop the search for Bin Laden. He strode out triumphantly out of the conference room where the creative had sat huddled for the last one hour.


"Call the big Chief." PP ordered Vikas, stroking his trademark moustache almost like it was a favorite pet that would run away if he didn‘t. Vikas quickly pulled out his cell and buzzed the boss. That was his prerogative. He never even gave the boss‘s number to anybody else.


"He should be here in five minutes" Vikas reported after yet another away from the troops conversation with the president. The wait was almost as unbearable as the agony that happens when the client pauses over your film production estimate just as he is about to sign it.








Chief - Doesn‘t have a clue

Finally... "I am here,‘‘ boomed the president as he crashed through the door with a pretty young thing draped all over him that bore no resemblance to his wife.


"Check this out." PP showed him the layout. The president shook his head. Once.Twice.Thrice. "I don‘t get it. I don‘t get it at all. Great work PP. Cannes here we come."


Cheers erupted in the hall. PP then pushed the layout to Vikas. Ram knew in his heart the answer that would come. Especially since the big boss had given his verdict. "Hmm don‘t get it at all."


Yet another round of cheers! "Ram let‘s run with this. Ensure that the artworks get done by tomorrow morning."


Cheers sounded again and the openers were getting into action (and I don‘t mean Tendulkar and Sehwag here who coincidentally never do). The room emptied out. Ram looked at the layout. There were four specks of dirt that seemed to move in a clockwise direction. There was no line. A small pack shot.


Ram glanced up to see Steven. The room had emptied out. "What is this?" Ram asked.


"Hell if I know. I was just scribbling a few things when PP snatched this paper out of my hands." Steven said with an ironic smile. "But I guess it must be good."


Both of then shared a few laughs. As they strode out into the hall a party was in full swing. Ram heard Vikas telling PP and the president, "Maybe we should drop the pack shot. It isn‘t really adding anything to the communication." He thought he saw the president nod his head while PP‘s smile was assuming frightening proportions.


"Wham bam it‘s a scam." Ram felt a familiar voice utter those wise words in his ears and looked up just in time to see Chai-La disappear into one of the specs of dirt on the layout that he was carrying.


It was going to be a long night.


Vinay Kanchan - currently client services director with Everest Integrated Communications Limited. He started his career in Lintas (now Lowe). Kanchan is also a soccer freak and organises soccer games for like-minded members of the media fraternity residing in Mumbai‘s suburbs. He can be contacted 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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