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

OLD SAKI. NEW BOTTLE.

Servicing is a quadri-literal ignominy. That’s a four-letter embarrassment, in case I caught you napping. No wonder they don’t call it that anymore. In days of yore, agencies had a whole department reserved for this cute bunch of nattily suited smooth-talkers whose sole corporate onus was to orally engage, albeit ex officio, with ananatomical region reminiscent of a particular beast of burden.

Their days would punctiliously begin with a polite but conveniently audible ‘telecon’ to confirm an urgent tête-à-tête with a client which would progress to a meeting sans agenda which would invariably brim over into a power lunch and by the time a medley of personal errandswere run on the way back to the agency, the sun would be oh-so-ready to set and it would be opportune to stop by to toss their circumstantially land-locked brethren a brief. Or two.

Servicing then, was a cool thing. It was all about subcutaneouslymaintaining a Ren and Stimpy-esque air of happiness between advertiserand agency. It was an epoch replete with shiny front teeth and mouldedplastic wide eyes with neither regard nor room for comprehension,analysis and strategic thought – leaving it to the imaginative simians to drum up flimsy one-off wonders one could promptly disguise in the garb of a spreadsheet or pummel into a PowerPoint, just so that ones daiquiri weekends stayed perennially insured. But now that the wheel’s reinvented, the fan and the ceiling are one – with the obvious other reduced to a perfunctory trickle. So where has the legion ofyes-ministers gone?

Extinction hasn’t caught up with them, yet. You’ll find themcomfortably clustered beneath a sparkling new totem – rapt inreason-resistant foil that nary an HRD paradigm can tear asunder.Euphemisms be damned, ‘account management’ has verily replaced the tetragrammaton of Ad-ville. Smile ‘n’ wave boys, for here’s a true vintage in phoenix fatigues. In a world where jargon is the stuff of corporate brownies, can the advertising Saki be far behind?

Time to revisit the average suit. Styrofoam courtesies, limphandshakes and facetious brows – they’re all very much there. Rightdown to the bobbing head syndrome. What then, is different? Thecranial packaging. Now in a greyer shade of grey, the pack comes withan all-new USP on its shrink-wrapped sleeve. Hold on to the mahoganyof your leather-backed throne till your knuckles turn pernicious white- an Account Manager now actually manages your Account. Not just bymaking you feel like the bees knees while doing a periodic shimmy withyour marketing muppets or by raising guesstimates and cajoling your Sheaffer to squat numb on the dotted line. But by actually stepping,squarely quixotic, into the unchartered realms of abstraction whereinhe sums up all his energies to do what no servicing man has donebefore. Your account manager now comes with the revolutionized ability to Think.

Savour that and save the applause for when he shares the sentience with you. Encores follow while you don’t realize he’s now equipped to emphatically state the obvious. Gee Omar, I’m clapping too.

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