Terence D’Costa is a very dear friend and a top-notch creative in the Himalayas.
THE BIG COVER UP
Don’t judge a book by its cover. You were told that. I was told that. The world and his brother was told that. And we all nodded in agreement to get past third grade grammar but went back to doing just that. The problem with this old saying is not the book. It’s the cover. Let’s talk about that cover today. Let’s talk about how we weren’t encouraged to see past the obvious imagery of wisdom-filled books in melancholic covers versus the sham glam of penny press tabloids. Let’s talk about how we’ve unanimously settled for a superficial understanding (i.e. the cover) of the saying (i.e. the book). Let’s talk about us not talking about this before. Better still, let’s figure where this figures in an article on advertising.
The book is the agency head. The cover is his membership at your golf club. The book is the agency. The cover is the decor that swings from eclectic to hushed minimalist. The book is the account director. The cover is his limited edition blackberry resting on a mahogany bookshelf mandatorily populated with impeccably bound brand bibles. The book is the account manager. The cover is the android and the natty suit. The book is the creative director. The cover is his ipad with hypno-surrealist desktop art. The book is the art director. The cover is his mop of dreadlocks. The book is the visualizer. The cover is his tribal tattoo. The book is the copy intern. The cover is her battered copy of Atlas Shrugged. The book is the graphic designer. The cover is his daily ritual of downloading as many ads of the world artworks, free brushes and unprotected illustrations as the agency broadband can allow in one overtime shift.
The book is the pitch brief or more correctly, the RFP. The cover is its peripatetic loquacity, reminiscent of Dickensian payslips. The book is the agency presentation on brand strategy. The cover is a host of picturesque (albeit soul-less, brazenly plagiarized or brand-dissonant) print artworks batting their eyelashes oh so coquettishly at you. The book is the agency presentation on creative strategy. The cover is covertly identical to the other presentation. The book is pitch evaluation. The cover is only remembering how much media commission the agency was willing to share.
The book is your logo. The cover is an uncanny representation of another, more famous, one. The book is the colour proof. The cover is presenting the same in RGB. The book is the print advertisement. The cover is the size of your logo on it. The book is the commercial. The cover is the product close-up. The book is the production house. The cover is who their clients were (no one notices why this is in the past tense). The book is the shoot. The cover is the photographer’s unmatched equipment (his mind doesn’t count). The book is the commercial film director. The cover is his signature graphic overlay on anything he’s touched. The book is the footage. The cover is the camera no one else has used yet. The book is the radio jingle. The cover is humming the tune but not realizing you’ve actually heard it in a Bollywood flick. The book is the brand ambassador. The cover is someone’s soft spot for her. The book is the launch event. The cover is not knowing it’s been done by T-mobile, last summer. The book is five hundred words in the communication stratosphere. The cover is a phrase in an obsolete tongue.
The truth is life and the cover’s just been blown. Don’t tell anyone.