Terence D’Costa is a very dear friend and a top-notch creative in the Himalayas.
BELLING THE COPYCAT
Picture this. Client briefs Agency. Agency briefs Google. Google presents about 7,290,000 options in 0.10 seconds. Agency picks a few,plucks a few feathers off and presents them with flair to Client.Client thrilled to bits, selects one. Client gives Agency the nod.Agency plans shoot as per Google. Photographer lights up and shoots asper Google. Models pose as per Google. Designers compose layouts asper Google. Copywriters write as per Google. And an ad is born – asmack dab replica of what was googled. Long live Google, agencies whoknow how to use it and clients who don’t. Goods fly off shelves, theeconomy booms and everyone’s happy. So are you. Unless you’re readingthis. Sad.
Brace now for the bad news. None of the above is made up. Agencies inKathmandu and in more places than you could imagine, actually do this.Day in, day out. For a living. All the time. And people still want toknow who’s won a mettalic what. Clients still want agencies to come upwith a dozen options overnight because their last agency did ten.Agencies still don’t understand that plagiarism is a bad word. And thecreative dude still out there in the corner thinking, has a fat flockof dodos for company.
Nuff said. Here’s a kick in the hazels. Chest. Wall. Ground. Wherever.Clients do Google. It hurts so bad, I feel like the Marquis de Sade.Window-shopping for ideas on the internet and even in forwarded emails(argh!) is a growing phenomenon. It’s so easy to find something tolike. And because someone else (read big brand) has bought what theynow see, it’s simpler to order ones agencies to replicate it. If youcan carry a copy of Esquire to your ‘suchikar’ in Ranjana galli andthe results are appreciated at the next shindig, why ever not.
This isn’t an open-and-shut chicken and egg case. What we’ve got hereis a mince omelette. Funny side down, clients don’t resort topilferage simply because agencies have been doing this all along. Theydo it out of the same thirst that drives agencies. As long as ideationis the problem and quick fixes come cheap, plagiarism will thrive.Agencies have the choice of taking the problem head on or using otherpeople’s solutions. The head-on option involves being equipped with anable team trained to ideate, conceptualize and execute ads. Thisobviously involves a higher expenditure. Whereas the fix is just aclick away. Didn’t someone say ‘keep it simple, stupid’?
Everyone knows advertisers at best, pay a pittance for production.What’s more – media commission is far from sacrosanct. More a softlemon really, squeezable to travesty. Some agencies can be content onpercentile crumbs two digits after the decimal and still have enoughleft over for power lunches but that’s another can of worms. One can’texpect advertising in Nepal not to suck as long as creativity is notadequately demanded and rewarded here. Fizzy wisdom – we can letthings be the way they ‘always’ have been or we can ‘ask for more’.Maybe the twist is that Oliver didn’t get Pepsi. Necessary tangent. Nothing will be done.