Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

Well, it was kind of as expected, to be honest.

There was the carrot of extravagant praise, and then the stick of “Please try not to treat those people whom you think are idiots as if you think they are idiots”. I sort of nodded along with it, but as I was listening, I was plotting my extravagant revenge (the only person who could have done my internal monologue justice at the time was John Webster, if that helps you imagine the scale of the thing).

One of the things that I have to do is visit the people in the rest of the world with whom I work, so now (once the Summer holiday dates are finalised) I shall be planning a global road trip (as long as they’re places to which I’d like to go) with Old Friend at Work, who’s also been given the green light for a world tour at the company’s expense, taking in Istanbul, Singapore, Moscow and Buenos Aires. Could be worse, eh?

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Well, after six years of ambling along here, punctuated only by four job offers from the same agency (who obviously thrive on rejection), it has been announced that I am to have my review. On Friday.

Now: I don’t WANT to have my review on Friday – and the reason for this is simple. I see-saw violently between craven, chuckling, moist-eyed delight at any and all praise; and a rich spectrum of emotion at anything even wearing the small pocket-handkerchief of criticism. These emotions are:-

  1. “Fine. I’ll leave then. I’ll just fucking GO!”
  2. Something akin to that teen romance classic “Well you can’t break up with me, because I’m breaking up with you” when I get MY objections to all and sundry in first, in order to render their disapproval meaningless.
  3. A Raffles air of “My dear chap, I couldn’t give the slightest testicle hair of a shit about the opinion of these intellectual midgets.” (to be twinned with a supercilious smirk that would make Maria von Trapp punch a baby.
  4. Hot-headed, red-faced, prickling rage of “No but that’s SOOOOOO unfair, right. That is just SOOOOOOOO not true and it is just rubbish, yeah? And, oh GOD! That is SO out-of-order, because do you know what, yeah? I WROTE THAT PRESENTATION BACK IN MAY!” that would shame an eleven year-old girl.
  5. Cold, shark-eyed vengeance on those who have criticised the way that I roll my eyes in front of junior clients.

Of course, in my mind, I have decided that when I enter The Room for the review, I shall be wordlessly nodded over to the guillotine, hastily erected in the corner for one day only (Fearless Leader sitting at its foot, knitting and cackling toothlessly), and will shuffle my head into place, not with any noble thoughts or words akin to “It is a far, far better thing…” so much as “But I DID feed back on the creative recommendation for Russia before the deadline. This is SO unfair…”

If I am still employed/here on Friday, I will, of course, present the unlovely truth for your enlightenment and disdain.

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Who is to say what the factors are that will guarantee the creation of a positive environment, fizzing with positivity, “can do” spirit, determination to “go the extra mile” and other assorted marketing-speak calumnies?

Well, I think I do – and as such, I have, of late, been devoting my energies to creating exactly that kind of environment in which great things can happen. This has meant a focus on the basics, the foundations, on which the palace of creativity can rest certain and sure, reaching to the skies. My focus has been on project naming.

One of my clients is pleased to call the projects in their marketing plan by code names that correspond to contemporary pop musicians. Thus we have bent our collective minds around Project Lennox, Project Shania and Project Velvet, to name but a few – and it was with an eye on the next one, a series of launches, that I had decided to concentrate most of/all of my working day. I had decided, dear reader, that I should know no happiness unless the next global marketing project was named after that Titan of the modern music scene, Justin Bieber. I wanted to see “Project Bieber” all over spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides, presented with a straight face by an assortment of earnest marketers. To me, “How is Bieber looking for LatAm?” and “Are we going to have funds for Bieber in India in Q3?” was more important a thing to make happen than almost anything else I could imagine, and so I set about (with the happy, bright-eyed collaboration of the entire agency team) of making a damn good case as to why the future was bright, the future was Bieber. “Most Googled individual”, “Responsible for waves of hyper-enthusiastic response among a young demographic” (that’s right – I refer to “Bieber Fever”) and many other soundbites were submitted in defence of why we should all be talking Bieber in 2012.

And what happened?

Project Adele it is. I see no reason to continue: where is the humour in that? I am (we all are) gutted.

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The many Poker players among you will already have scented what my theme is.

I have been advised (a number of times) that I have a set of “tells” which announce a set of different emotions on my behalf.

I have seen this in others, of course. In Best Friend, it is the planting of both feet at shoulder width to announce “You and I are going to fall out, sunshine.”

With Old Friend at Work it is the simple words “Are you joking?” to announce “The next fifteen minutes are going to be the worst of your life – and I shall fill each one of those with such invective as could take the paint off an ocean liner.”

With me, they are as follows:

  • Emotion: “Disregard for your intellect/the content of what you’ve just said”
    • Tell: “It’s like shutters coming down over your eyes” (to quote someone who’s seen it).
  • Emotion: “Warm Anger”
    • Tell: “Lion Hands” (fingers splayed, and bent back into “claws”)
  • Emotion: “Cold Anger”
    • Tell: “Shark Eyes” (to quote Old Friend at Work’s assessment, followed by the qualification – “I would rather be dead than have those shark eyes turned on me”).

In my line of work, of course, it’s the first that’s the most dangerous, as I have to spend a fair (or, as I would argue warmly, an unfair) amount of my time doing my “nodding and encouraging and “I’m sure there’s something in that” face – and yet it is that first tell that I have been advised/warned of most often and most consistently.

I wonder if I was born with it?

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I turned down the other job offer.

I didn’t think I was going to this time (it is, after all, the third time that this network has offered me a job), but I did, after a chat with Great Researcher Whom I Like.

She suggested that I focus on the stuff that matters: and the stuff that matters is not the money, the title, the status. It’s the fact that my current Agency has been fantastic about letting me work from home/leave early in order to see my children. How could I put a price, or an intangible “prospects” label on anything when I stack it up against that?


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The Client: “So: has everyone read through the presentation that I sent out last week?”

Eiljert Thinks: “I wrote it. I wrote all of it.”

Eiljert Says: “Yes, thank you.”

Client: “So, I think what would be best is if it we ran through that.”

Eiljert Thinks: “Why? Why don’t we run through the brief that accompanied it and that is riddled with problems and contradictions?”

Eiljert Says: “Fine.”

Client: “So, starting with Slide 1…”

Eiljert Thinks: “Is he going to read the slides aloud? There are over 80 of them.”

Eiljert Says: “Just opening the presentation now…”

We ended the conference call after an hour and a half, during which the Client read me all of  a presentation that I had written, and then finished with “And there is a brief – but we don’t have time to do that now – but I think this has been very productive.”


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