I hate using this blog to rant about personal experiences. But this has to be an exception because it is about a company that otherwise produces iconic advertising.
For the last month and a half i have tried my best to get the attention of a certain Mr. Simon, a Malayali gentleman who is listed on Pidilite’s (Dr. Fixit) website as one of the applicators of their products for my area. But Mr. Simon is too busy to even listen to my problem, let alone come down and take a look. Frustrated with his behaviour i finally did what every angry consumer would: threatened to report his ways to the company. After all he was listed on their site! But Mr. Simon didn’t break into a sweat at the thought of being hauled up. He told me to go right ahead and slammed the phone down. The cheek, i thought.
So again i did what every angry consumer would. I called up Pidilite to speak to the consumer care department. After being shunted around, from one extension to another, i realised why Mr Simon was not bothered by my threats. Customer care was the last thing on this brand’s mind. And as long as they keep making one fantastic ad after the other for brands like Fevicol, who cares?
Tarsem Singh, the freaking god of insanely good ad films, once famously said about going to film school: “I couldn’t believe there was a school that taught you filmmaking, it’s like getting paid to have sex!”
When I signed up for my first project outside the safety net of a job, I had no clue what I should charge. I even called my wife minutes before breaking the figure to the client, just to see if she fainted when she heard the sum.
The project goes live today. 5 months of blood and piss have gone into it. But I can’t wipe the smirk off my face, because the client has no clue he got ripped off. He paid me to have sex.
To begin with, the last 5 months has given me an education that they tried at school but never succeeded in. From understanding bits of Drupal to nego-ing with media houses and sponsors, I’ve attended every class with rapt attention. Now add to this mix a client who plays mentor and shows you the direction you should be headed in as an agency, well, what can one say? It’s the fattest pay cheque of my life. Can’t wait to encash it someday.
As i scrolled over the ads of bill bernbach, put together painstakingly by an ex-colleague, i asked myself – how would old bill have coped with all the changes in advertising? No one can answer that except for the genius writer. And he’s gone.
Bill didn’t stick around to see brands asking consumers, what changes they would like to see in their favourite brand of coffee (my starbucks idea). Or to see an application that involved a man dressed in a chicken suit obeying every command you typed in (subservient chicken), sweeping the award shows.
But if Bernbach was the adapting sort, then i think he would have thrived even today. Insights and ideas are not dead, it’s only the language and medium that have changed. So lets call this the era of Bill 2, shall we?Where a new kind of creative thinker seduces consumers into buying. He uses not words but ideas. He writes these ideas not always using a pen, but sometimes using an application or a program. Now he may not know a damn thing about writing applications, just like most creative people got through the television era without knowing a damn thing about filmmaking. But he can ideate for all media. He is still a storyteller, only a lot more versatile. Jumping from one stage to another, keeping up with his audience. Here’s to the Bill 2s, who’re somewhere out there sweating over a brief right now.
To see Bill Bernbach’s other classics just click on the ad.
Recently the architect firm i hired to do up the agency asked me to write a design brief for them. And funnily that was the first time i really gave the look and vibe of the place serious thought. As i read up on various styles of interior designing, i discovered how ad agencies use the interiors of the office to amplify what they do. But mostly they’re trying too hard to live up to the mantle of being creative. So after hours of browsing the net i finally knew what i didn’t want the place to look like. Great. Now for the easy part.
After a few hours of slaving over it i nervously handed in the brief. Not sure what the husband and wife duet of architects thought of my overly described space. They told me later, this was the first design brief they were receiving that was not in bullet points containing a list of storage and furniture requirements. Here’s a cyclethrough of Cripsin, Porter and Bogusky that i attached for inspiration in my design brief. Freaky space.