Ad Verbatim VIII

Terence D’Costa is a very dear friend and a top-notch creative in the Himalayas.


The caste system is said to have its roots in functionality. Humanswere classified according to their ability to perform certain tasks.Folks with invisible buddies bloomed into priests. Those skilled inmatters martial were marked warriors. The smarter gatherers turnedinto traders. And the rest were given the responsibility to take careof all the other little things that didn’t fit into the above. Lifewas simpler then. Everyone did as they were expected to do and nomore. But, with dissatisfaction so deep in our DNA and change beingthe universal constant it is, in the heels of revolutions everywhere,we gave ourselves an industrial one. Life ceased to be the way it was.Function was determined by education. Caste gave way to class. Andones lot in life was limited no more to ones ancestry. And everyonewas happier with the sparkling new scheme of things.

In a world where evolutions and revolutions define the destinies ofgenerations, advertising is no cocoon. We had our functions chalkedout for us as well. Sharp little lads and lasses everywhere honedskills distinctly aimed at chosen areas within our slice of thecorporate sphere. Some evolved into the folks with the mettle tomanage your advertising. And some evolved into the folks who managewhere and when it was seen or heard. Then there were those who drewpretty pictures that went into your advertising and those who weavedinteresting stories into them. And in true Darwinian style, not onlydid only the fittest survive but the fitness of the whole was ensuredby the survival of a myriad of tiny ancillary units. Likeinfinitesimal organelles to a cell, cells to tissue and tissues toorgan, the gargantuan organism of advertising was composed of a hostof complementary units – each with a precise role to play.

Visualizers didn’t carry vouchers and servicing didn’t go logo loco.Media planners never tripped on punch lines and copywriters had their own SOV. Clients actually gave agencies single-minded briefs, leavingit to Account Directors and Creative Directors to respectively strategize and conceptualize output. Even the gamut of unsungspecialists on the dark side of the advertising moon – animators,colorists, musicians, print technicians – were all left to do theirrespective jobs sans interference. Every individual had an assignedfunction and a specific zone of responsibility. Together they formedthe caucus of advertising and together they were the reason whyadvertising looked and sounded the way it did. Sweet? Dream on.

So, how long did the Golden Age last? Long enough to admit it never happened. It wanted to. It was supposed to. But as everyone who’s anyone in advertising knows, it didn’t. What happened? The Big Fat Advertising Dollar did.

With Ms. Nomers and her spawn calling the shots, we’ve got oh so much to celebrate. Fencers now do the fencing and those who don’t, get to squat on them. Although every once in a while, the Neanderthals nod off and audiences get a glimpse of advertising the way it was meant to be but that’s accidental. Scat happens. Wonder if it has a group on facebook. We could all be fans.

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