Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Absolute Lee 2.0

With sincere apologies to Client Servicing

There was one question that remained unanswered during all my years in advertising – why would anyone, in their sane mind, join an ad agency in Client Servicing?

It was undoubtedly the shittiest job in the agency – liaising between bull-headed clients, creative prima donnas, cold number-crunchers in media, impudent cut paste artists and incompetent bosses. The balancing act turned them into vacillating, conniving, annoying dimwits, who were equally loathed and laughed at. They were derided as ‘postmen’ and ‘flunkeys’ and those were the printable terms. To insult a copywriter or art director, you spat out, ‘@$# Servicing!!’ It was hard to like yourself when you were Client Servicing.

The point of this ramble is that in the last month, I’ve come to empathize with this reviled bunch, having unwittingly slipped into their shoes myself.

It started when I decided to revamp the blog.

Nothing too fancy, I said to myself. (All bull-headed clients start out that way.) The intrepid yet unsuspecting Spaceman Spiff volunteered to do the programming, and tossed in a few ideas. Yes, no, yes, no, no, no, no, went ‘client servicing’ (at the behest of the ‘client’).

The old Art Partner called to say, ‘It’s a boy!’

Congratulations, congratulations… psstcanyoudesignmyblog… congratulations. When you’re Client Servicing, scruples mean nothing.

An illustrator friend was similarly arm-twisted for an illustration ‘…which should be distinctive to the blog and also epitomize the essence of it…’ Illustrator friend pulled out his dictionary, forgetting for a moment that Client Servicing uses words to detract from one immutable fact – ‘I don’t know what in hell’s name I’m talking about’.

Thankfully (for still-nonplussed Illustrator friend) one of the illustrations worked in a ‘dipstick survey’.

Next, Art Partner with baby in one hand and mouse in the other, produced two simple, scintillating designs. Spaceman was informed thus:

Day 1: Design 1 is final!
Day 2: Design 2 is final!
Day 3 (a.m): Um.. let’s go with Design 1.
Day 3 (p.m.): Make that Design 2…

It’s not hard to lose friends when you’re Client Servicing.

Spaceman mailed requirements, Art Partner went to work. Art Partner mailed requirements, Spaceman went to work. Client Servicing with a feigned casualness (and having plied them with gmail accounts) huffed and puffed down their necks.

Full circle, it is. From looking down my Copywriter-nose at them to joining their oily ilk. But there’s one thing Client Servicing does quite generously. And that is, allow the names of the Creative team to precede their own on the award form. So here goes:

Design: Monisha K.

Illustration: Avinash V.

Programming: Spaceman Spiff

@$# Servicing: Leela A.

P.S. It’s been a year (already!) on the blog. Thank you all for your encouragement.

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