Ad verbatim

Ad Verbatim XVII

By Terence. Terry is a dear friend and runs a creative hotshop somehere in the Himalayas!


Dear Lech,

I’m not talking Polish and you don’t need your x-ray goggles to read this. Down boy. Sit. Play dead if you want but the truth is here to stay. In fact, by the time we’re done here you’ll be wearing it like the coarse leather collar you should have been born with.

Casting is anything but serious business as long as the industry is amply populated with simians. It doesn’t matter who you may be on the corporate stratosphere or how high or low in the echelons you dangle. If you harbour so much as half a non-professional attitude towards the ‘faces’ you work with, you’re just plain shrink-worthy. The couch, and let me introduce you to this one, is all yours. So what’s your Freudian alibi – infantile amnesia?


By Terence D’Costa. Terry is a great, dear friend, and a top notch CD in the Himalayas.
Manager: Now just to give you an idea of what we’re planning to do… (matter of fact, to the point)
Chicken : Yes, I’m completely new to all this… I have no idea really.. (bashful)
Manager : There’s this big bash coming up and the theme for dinner is exotic fowl. (stoic, stress on the last word)
Chicken: Exotic fowl… (momentarily groping for a semblance of sense)
Chef : We’re planning on doing a Chicken a’la Kiev with a twist of thyme. (pride spilleth, brimmeth, gusheth)
Chicken : Oh ok… nice. (giggles, with no idea why)
Manager : Yes, and the sponsor wants you to star in it. (in a true bearer of happy tidings tone)
Chicken : Excuse me? (stumbling)



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

See I told you. Now that you’ve made the logo larger, it’s looking nice and visible now.



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

The advertising world is replete with just two types of people. Pirates and victims. If you have nothing to do with the ideation process, you aren’t a victim. Avast! Go fiddle with your bones or swing an albatross but spare our sea-sick souls and stop reading right here. For the rest of you jolly folks out there still nodding vigorously to the ideation role question, here’s why you are that victim. You call it a brief. I call it a plank. Shiver me timbers, guess who walks it?


Ad Verbatim XIII

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


Let’s play a game. I quote the resolution. You figure who it’s for. That way we can all go home having said, read and resolved what we conveniently didn’t. Happy New Year. No fingers pointed. No collateral damage. No kidding. Everyone okay with that ? Sweet. Now, let’s kick some donkey.

I promise to remember that my advertising agency is not my pet chinchilla. I promise to remember that even though it isn’t my pet chinchilla, it still needs to be adequately watered and fed. Chinchillas can’t survive on peanuts. Let alone tidbits per mensem or decimalised annual commission pills. I promise not to bark at my pet chinchillas — they react by playing dead. I promise not to play cat and mouse with them either — they’re allergic to cats. I promise to treat my pet chinchillas like the astute professionals they are, especially because I want to see them doing the magnificent hoopla and generating that precious word of mouse. Mouth, right.

Ad Verbatim XII

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


Wonder what happens to unborn souls. The souls of the living that experience death without ever being graced by birth. Where do these souls go when someone decides to dump them? Are they meant to be forgotten? Or recycled into new embryos that may or may not see the light of day? I speak for the soul of the unborn idea. The idea that deserved to be but wasn’t. For in the Cimmerian crannies of the advertising world, there are so many.

Every time we react to a brief with a barrage of interesting ideas and scrap all but the very best, I’m sure we’re guilty of at least some degree of foeticide. But that doesn’t hurt a bit for supply seems endless. We don’t think twice when we smother them. Zygotic ideas are just too infinitesimal value-wise. They aren’t quite worth agency time. The ones that really are, are the ones that make better business sense. The ones worth fleshing out. These are the zygotes we build upon to create the little embryos that make it to the presentation. All curled up, ready and tingling to be born. Each genetically empowered with the potential for glory. Waiting to be invested upon or assigned to oblivion. But their fate isn’t always left to the gods. We’re so adept at making sure only the best is born, we deliberately murder the also-rans in broad daylight – in the client’s presence – as honourable sacrifices for the truly outstanding idea. These are the unborn souls I speak for today. You know them just as well as I do. Where do they go?

Ad Verbatim XI

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


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.


Ad Verbatim X

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


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.


Ad Verbatim IX

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


Are alcoholics, alcoholics out of a pathological or a psychological dependence? Is it that they can’t live without alcohol just like a fish can’t survive out of water? Or is the fish so in love with the water that it can’t bear being out of it? Loving something enough to become dependent upon it isn’t all that uncommon. Look at anything you can’t live without. Or anyone. Sheer enjoyment (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – don’t priests enjoy praying?) can turn into love and love into need. We can fast forget that what we once used to want is now something we can’t do without. The ethics and principles gleaned out of a two hundred and fifty thousand year old history may dictate what should or shouldn’t be loved but I bet you’ve never been warned about loving your work?

Workaholics are addicted to work. At least, that’s what the definition claims. I’ll define this further by refining it. Workaholics are addicted to ‘their’ work. Think about it. Workaholism doesn’t mean a mad fetish for work per se. It means one is inordinately driven to do what she or he does. Not what someone else does. We’re all cut out by experience, nature and wisdom to do what we do best and if, fate forbid, we find ourselves doing it, we’re prone to be satisfied. When life fits the bill of our expectations, we enjoy it. An enjoyment with the infallible propensity to grow into habit. The attachment feeds off the infinite fertility of challenge and success and soon everything else ceases to matter. Loving what we do leads to wanting more and more. Until more is not enough. We live to work and forget that it was supposed to be the other way around.

So, is workaholism a bad thing? Before you make it banshee-like to the rooftops, pause a while. And think. Think passionate. You know, the other passionate. The passionate about work, passionate. Think beyond the archetypes. Way beyond the Van Goghs. Be it in your workplace or on your Facebook page, I’m talking about a genera who breathe, eat and sleep what they do for a living so much so, their work is their lifestyle. Their brands are skewed to represent who they are professionally and not who they are personally. And why? Simply because their work matters more to them than they do to themselves. Given such depths of passion, would you as a top-dollar tossing client or customer settle for less? Just as markets have no room for compromise, neither does a workaholic. Workaholism then, is a good thing. Right? Wrong.

Dependence is sadly the last epiphany. When you realize that your passion, love and attachment are a weakness played upon by your buyers (read clientele or employers, if you will), you realize you’re nose-deep in a capitalist Zugzwang. The only way out is down. No surprise then that our ethics are the first to go. Pick up anything in a supermarket today and pay close attention to the ballast. The extra tags, fussy frills, puffed packaging, super-sized boxes and inconspicuous freebies are all there to tell you something. Superfluous is the new black. Give the Devil, his shade of due.

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.