MAM

It's nice, but…

The creative presentation: - Typically the end product of the many hours of self satisfaction that has preceded it. Till the point when something is actually put down on a piece of paper, people take to commitment like a bachelor to the altar. However, when the first round of layouts gets presented, thoughts magically seem to clear and the solution appears to be an obvious one. This state of equilibrium persists until the next iteration at which point things are automatically examined afresh

"Every creative expression functions as a stimulus for a new brief," the hushed Chinese accent, the express delivery of the tea cup and Chai-La (the mystical Chinese canteen tea boy) vanished into the minutes of the last meeting laid on the table. Ram Shankar waited with pen paused like a sprinter on the blocks waiting for the client feedback.

"It's nice but it lacks a little something" said MrBose, as he finished listening to what the agency had to say (and show) on the new campaign.

"Well!" started PP (the creative director of the 'moustache' fame), "What is that little something? Can we qualify it? This is the third time we are coming back and every time a new 'little something' seems to be emerging."

"Maybe we are in hobbit land," offered Vikas (the account head), never missing a moment to showcase his 'Lord of the Rings' knowledge base.

PP treated the serving man's attempt at humor with the warmth of the office cashier settling your long overdue conveyance voucher.

"Is there any method to this madness? Why are we changing our minds like the Indian team changes openers?" asked PP, simultaneously establishing a source from which all humorous remarks must be expected henceforth.

"Well, you know it's not really exactly what I had in mind the last time"

"I took down a scribble of what you had said, and we have reproduced it almost exactly," interjected the squeaky voice of Ram Shankar, immediately focusing all the eyes in the room on him. PP was smiling helpfully; Vikas had contorted his face into the kind of expression that clearly showed that he was in some kind of rectal pain. Mr Bose was stunned that something that was purely a figment of his imagination had actually got documented.

"Well don't I have the right to change my mind?" enquired a clearly miffed Mr Bose, furious that a greenhorn AE had managed to corner him.

"Yes you do Bose, that's the client prerogative, but hopefully that should always happen when we are discussing strategy, and not when the creative is being presented," boomed PP, furiously tugging at his whiskers till some strands actually began to fall.

"Yes Mr Bose, it is imperative that we reach a consensus on strategic issues before getting into creative execution, only then will we be able to reduce iterations and come up with more sharply focused work." That was Vikas, puffing his chest as he went through those lines.

"But Vikas, don't you think that in today's dynamic market scenario one needs to constantly re evaluate their options?"

Vikas was stumped partially by that when Ram helpfully came to his aid.

"But MrBose, we met just five days ago, there has been absolutely nothing that has happened in the category in that period."

Mr Bose's face changed into a riot of colors before coming back to normal.

"Ram, that's where experience comes in, it's not just the category that we are talking about, consumers don't exist in categories, they live their lives and they are changing every bloody minute."

"Maybe then we should sell clothes rather than itching creams," exploded PP in his typical corridor wrenching laughing style.

The humor helped diffuse the situation a bit; even Mr Bose sported a smile. Ram always thought it made him look a little more sinister.

"Well, I think we need to capture more of the new consumers changing values in our communication, its only when we build bridges of empathy with the consumer that showcases our understanding of their lives, do we really get anywhere," said Mr Bose, quite pleased with himself for having put so many nice sounding words together.

"What exactly do you mean?" queried PP, pushing his face in front of Mr Bose in a manner that was close to the 'Hakka' performed by the All Blacks.

"What I mean is that we need another round of creative developed, I am not comfortable with this," replied Mr Bose in a moment displaying supreme courage.

"PP lets look at it differently," added Vikas, clearly wanting to keep the client in his good books.

PP turned the layouts upside down and looked at them with the passion of an archeologist examining a relic from the Inca civilization. "Look here is one way, and things do look different this way."

"Do they?" asked an excited Mr Bose.

Vikas patted his wrist to control him and indicated with a wave of his hand that PP was being jocular.

"We better do another version, one that showcases the consumer learning that we have," ventured Vikas, expertly dodging the vicious kick that PP launched at him from under the table.

"Oh! It's that simple. Why didn't we think of it in the first place?" asked a sarcastic PP, thumping the table along the way.

"Because brilliant solutions when they present themselves seem obvious," said Mr Bose, smiling ear to ear, like he had waited his entire life to deliver that line. He strode out of the room closely followed by Vikas, who was glad that the client had done most of the hard work of forcing PP to deliver yet another creative iteration.

"And yes Ram, just put together something that will capture the essence of what we said and act as a brief for PP for the next round of creative." Vikas vanished from sight before Ram could offer any defense.

PP was left fuming in the room, like a man who had been robbed of his entry pass just before the premier of the movie began.

"These servicing types always end up swinging the client's way." The balance part of the diatribe could not be reprinted as this is a column for family consumption. He stormed out of the room after having torn all the layouts that were on the table.

"Something tells me this issue will not be closed even the next time around," he muttered sardonically as he made his way to his room.

"There is nothing more cumbersome that an uncertain mind, was it tea or coffee that you wanted?" the oriental high pitched cackle resounded in Ram's ears as he felt two cups delivered, as Chai-La disintegrated into three alternate streams of energy (red, blue and yellow for the aesthetically inclined) and vanished into a three pin socket on the mains switchboard.

And then the room was plunged into darkness.

After stints at Lowe, Mudra and Everest the author is now general manager Client Service Network Advertising. In addition to that he is also patron saint of Juhu Beach United - a movement that celebrates obesity and the unfit 'out of breath' media professional of today. To join up contact 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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