MAM

Shooting from the hip

An insight into the happenings of the ad mad world, the vigilant and nerve-racking working hours, client pressures, creative minds scrambling to meet deadlines and much more... it is all there in ad man Sandeep Goyal's book The Dum Dum Bullet: Adventures of a corporate soldier.

The first thing that catches the eye is the unusual title of the book - The Dum Dum Bullet. The Dum Dum Bullet??? What's that supposed to mean? Well, the title has been inspired by the 'Dum Dum bullet' that was produced at the Dum Dum ammunition factory near Kolkata. The bullet had an exposed lead nose which underwent rapid expansion on impact. The head of the bullet was hollow, which meant that it ballooned out on impact. Interestingly, Goyal makes a comparison to this bullet to advertising saying that advertising is no different as it is soft nosed and focused on its target and balloons on impact! And a bullet fits in well with Goyal's personnae pretty well considering his well-documented penchant for collecting pistols.

The who's who of the corporate world with whom Goyal has worked with in various stages of his career and in various capacities have been mentioned in his book thus providing the reader with the know-how's of the ad world. Written in lay man's language with no flowery terms (not to be mistaken with technical terms), the book is a smooth read for even someone who is not acquainted with the functioning of the advertising agencies. Snappy, to the point without being either preachy or boastful (isolated incidents can be forgiven) is what Goyal has churned out.

He takes the reader through the trials and tribulations he went through with his colleagues in his stints in various marketing, advertising or broadcast companies, be it at Goodlass Nerolac Paints, JWT, Mudra's Interact Vision, Grey Worldwide, Redifussion DY&R or even Zee Telefilms where he was broadcast CEO before he became the chairman of Dentsu.

By talking about things like working day and night incessantly to win a probable big client for the agency, to compromising on the personal life front in order to pacify a client who thinks it would be the end of the world if a particular thing was not done instantaneously, to even tolerating star tantrums just to have that 'star' name associated with the brand - Goyal drives home the point that it's not all hunky dory as it looks from the outside.

Small anecdotes makes the reading livelier and keeps one engrossed for the simple and basic want to know - 'What else happened in this man's life?' Building relationships and that too, for life is what Goyal talks about mostly - be it with his clients or colleagues.

Goyal doesn't talk in length about his stint at Zee Telefilms except when the channel had launched their first home production Gadar starring Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel and the fiasco that happened during the premier of the movie in Delhi and Mumbai. Looks like a more detailed account of his time at Zee follows in the next book Goyal plans to pen.

To cut a long story short, a good effort, light read but informative all the same is how The Dum Dum Bullet can be summarised.

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