Ad verbatim

Ad Verbatim VII

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


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.

Ad Verbatim VI

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


When an international brand is positioned, repositioned or undergoes a positioning extension, the advertising campaign bears the onus of being relevant to a much larger and more diverse audience. Campaign theme, components and strategy have to effectively address all audiences.

If these efforts somehow miss the mark, conscientious marketeers (not sheep programmed not to question why) are faced with a million dollar question. What role should local insights play in the formation of an advertising campaign? The Merino don’t have to suffer the burden of this thought simply because the moment a local insight is chanced upon, it doesn’t get past their job-preserving blindspots and blinkers. The marketeer equipped with the ability to think, comprehend, research, analyze and determine the value of an insight is the one who gets all the flak, the heartburn, the angst and the insomnia. Why? Because he’s caught between the HQ devil and the deep blue of local relevance. He’s confronted with a choice between integrity and discipline. The epiphany desired at this juncture is that integrity is the highest discipline. If that bulb lights up, agencies (read conscientious again) get a client to die for. But as the ad world and his half-brother know, this isn’t quite the case. Especially here, where (surprise, surprise) local insights from Uttar Pradesh or the Seven Sister states seem to suffice. Don’t look away now. The iceberg is out there and this isn’t a flick.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Sir. It’s a dark brew brimming with commonsense. Geography and topography do not determine Culture. Least of all Taste. A paella is not a risotto. A gyoza is not a momo. And in Nepal, a bat-wielding brand ambassador is just not cricket. Nepal may not be a market large enough to invite a fresh set of advertising initiatives but marketeers and agencies should be driven to determine a more wholesome role for local insights and relevance while localizing campaigns for international brands. Don’t believe, dipstick.

Even within this country, there exists diversity enough for nationwide campaigns to seriously consider inclusivity. Garner the integrity of marketing purpose and take a stand where it is needed. Let that stand resonate across the campaign. Beyond the models, the shoot locations and language. Translating or even “transliterating” (a ridiculous misnomer hardened by pseudo industry stalwarts to the point of crusty cliche’) is not enough. Relevance inclusion does not mean reinventing the wheel. Dovetailing doesn’t mean revolutionary or radical. The incompetent hide behind half-baked alibis. Shoulder shrugging doesn’t help either. One chooses the middle of the road not just because it is safe but because one is scared or unfit to venture off it. Cracks and potholes may be edge of the road phenomena but boulders prefer the middle. Does it take a juicy concussion to realize one must veer away? Or is that something annual promotions take care of?

When a cola crossed the Great Wall, a little care while looking for Mandarin equivalents ensured the brand didn’t ‘bite the wax tadpole‘. A cute phonetic tweak let ‘the mouth rejoice’ instead. Which brings me to a four-letter brand of shampoo, here. Ah well, when in Rome, have a Kit Kat.

Ad Verbatim V

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


Appl_s and _ranges. I’m not insulting your intelligence. Just making a point. Even a toddler can fill in these blanks. Our ability to recognize and derive information from patterns forms the cornerstone of human intelligence. Cognitive skills meet intelligent thought processes and together they help us arrive at conclusions. Consistent and repetitive exposure helps us get there even faster. Because this is the way we are programmed to be, we’re taught to learn no differently. Learn the alphabet before you learn how to spell before you learn how to form sentences before you learn how to compose a paragraph before you learn how to write an essay before you learn how to appreciate one.

Ad Verbatim III

Terence is a very dear friend and a very hot advertising creative. ‘Ad Verbatim’ is written by him.

Basically, I mean, nice, you know, of course, sure. Did we mention basically ?

Careful now, we’re on slippery ground here. Resist the urge to choke on your own conscience and watch diplomacy work up a lather on the twin cheeks of confusion. If you’re wondering where to park yourself, check out the fence. Standard edition comes custom-built with bells and bucket seats attached. The new ones have cute little blinkers in the sleeve just in case you forget to bring your own. The higher up you go, the better the fences get – this one’s top of the line with cushions, a hookah and a potion that helps you vaguely regurgitate what anyone just said. Smile, nod and twitch the occasional eyebrow. Ask pointless questions. Point out the obvious. And let the sudden interest in your cuticles obfuscate all desire to think. To egg you on in the circumlocutory excursion, you have the infallible alibi of an agenda. Riddled with double-speak and whine, it’s the chiropractic cure for the spineless. Learn to read it with an intellectual squint and you’ll see happy gaussian blurry sense oozing blissfully out of every word spoken thereafter. Bask in the oblivion of it all and wallow warthog-like in the didactic choler of it all. The point is meant to stay missing and don’t you send sniffer dogs after it. The onus is one word you aren’t meant to split into two. Should you per chance make the glorious mistake of straying anywhere near the point, spill your coffee, fiddle with the airconditioning or better still, lick the window panes. Your apology will be promptly accepted and everyone can safely return to the random minutes of communal nostril-mining without further ado.

Ad Verbatim II

Terence is a very dear friend and a fantastic advertising creative. ‘Ad Verbatim’ is a series by his visionary mind.

I see you’ve got your helmet on today. Hush, don’t worry I haven’t seen a thing. And you haven’t seen my ballerina pose either. I’m not into ultra-feminine oomph and no one’s trying to win a Thai beauty pageant. I’m just straddling the fine line of a creative dilemma and that thing on my head is a grecian sword. I know it’s made in China, but so’s your helmet. How else would you deal with a brief that is a. non-existent and b. evolving ?

They tell you what they want from the noncommittal armchair and then change what they didn’t tell you when you do respond. C’est la vie ? Vie sucks. And mine’s a leech larger than life with a pharynx parched enough to paraphrase Coca-Cola.