Thursday, April 07, 2005

Vendors a.k.a. wannabe millionaires!!!

Sorry Su, Sri and all my long suffering friends(?!?) who HAVE TO compulsorily read my blogs and praise me ( still waiting for your comments guys... and my patience is wearing thin. )
I am in a grouchy mood today. Been getting calls from vendors a.k.a. ad agencies whole day! Grrrrrrrr
Actually the whole process of wading through wannabe-our-adgencies, PR agencies etc etc can drain more blood out of your system than an entire bunch of Draculas or Income Tax wallahs. Actually I prefer the former. They do leave you in peace when they have licked you clean But the IT guys... that's another story I will tell some other time.

Today I shall rant and rave and froth at my mouth about the aforementioned unmentionables. I come into office at 9:30 am( lowly college Interns come on time ) and the phone rings. A saccharine sweet voice introduces herself. Ms XYZ has a proposition. She is going to remake our brand a la "Intel Inside" campaign. The price would be of course a measly crore ( for Bangalore alone!).

Now we have no plans to make or break our brand , thank you, but Ms XYZ is persistent. She drops names. Intel, Jugnu Software...... Intel I have heard of but Jugnu Software...?????? My hand surreptitiously moves to the keyboard. I type Jugnu Software on Google and what do I get???? Nothing.

Ms XYZ is pained. It's a new company she explains patiently. Ok so how come there is no mention about it???? I hear her audible sigh. She is clearly collecting herself from my moronic onslaught. She clears her throat and a male voice speaks breaks in. "Hello ". The transformation of Ms XYZ to Mr. XYZ is astounding. I am amazed! How do they do it? But it is Mr ABC from the same agency, who has clearly taken over the delicate albeit explosive situation from his distraught colleague Ms XYZ.

Mr ABC explains that they are in the process of building the brand image of Jugnu Software ( I guess the world will soon experience a media onslaught in a few months from now.) I am suitably impressed. I ask him to send his company profile and before we say our goodbyes 'lo and behold the company profile is in my inbox!

Post lunch I decide to drop into their office. Armed with intelligent questions about brand building I set out in an auto. I reach Audugodi and alight in front of a pink building. The lone security guard has never heard of BrandGuru Pvt Ltd. But he says , there is a house behind where suspicious activities do take place. That has to be an ad agency I decide and navigate through yards to steel wire to the hiney of the pink monstrosity.

An old dilapidated building squats in the dusty backyard, a poignant remnant of happier days. I am reminded of the movie "Bhoot Bangla". There is no one in sight. I walk in through the door. A pentium I greets me. An old wizened man sits in front of the computer staring sightlessly into the screen saver. There is another door. I walk in and two people are watching cricket on TV. I clear my throat and the two spring to attention. The girl speaks first and I recognise the polished voice of Ms XYZ. I introduce myself and she flushes in embarrasment. The man in the room Mr ABC of course , asseses the situation quickly and informs me smoothly that they are moving into a spanking new building shortly(!).

I am made to sit (firmly assisted) into an old rexine sofa which has also seen happier times. I refuse the proffered glass of water and quickly get down to business. I want to see their work. Mr ABC looks around without luck and walks into another room. He comes back dusting a couple of brochures. They seem impressive, however there is a hitch. The brocure has been clearly been made by another agency. I spot their name in miniscule print on the last page. Mr ABC explains that he had made the brochure when he was employed with them( of course).

I get down to brass tacks. What software have they used for this particular brochure I ask ( I am partial to a mixture of Photoshop and Corel Draw) . Mr ABC loses his composure for the first time. He says he can't recollect. I see that the graphics were of a high resolution and query him about the same. Again he flushes and says he got them from the internet! I am amazed that a 72 ppi graphic would print without pixelating. Pixelating??? what is that.... his agape mouth seems to say. Mr ABC is clearly lost. I size up the situation very quickly. These numbskulls were obviously a wannabe ad agency. I decide to have some fun.

"So Mr ABC" I say imperiously. " How important is brand building to a company's overall mission?" Mr ABC stammers and stutters and takes a quick swig of some brown goo from a cup. The brand should be built from scratch he says. You must first design the "thing" you plan to manufacture and then design a label and then advertise it! Now it was my turn to gape with my mouth wide open.

I am stupefied at this man's guts, stupidity ... whatever and dumbstruck at the whole situation! Mr. ABC's face crumples and he informs me that he had worked in an ad agency as production assistant.... Ms XYZ was the receptionist there (of course) and the two had decided to start an ad agency after eloping, wedding, honeymoon etc.

I feel stupid. Stupider than these two. As I walk in stunned silence out of the building I think I heard a wall crumbling somewhere or was it my self esteem?????

I reach the office by 5pm and head straight for the cafeteria. After many gulps of the tepid and acidic brew they call coffee I return to my cubicle. The phone rings. It's the receptionist and she has another wannabe ad agency on the line. Office etiquette does not allow cussing, swearing and homicidal tendencies to be exhibited in the premises. So I pick up the phone and brace myself for another onsalught on my intelligence. "Hello" says a silky voice. " I am EFG from HIJ advertising. I was wondering if your organisation would like to consider us for below the line communications." Ah! at last a genuine vendor call.

"Do you do Direct Mailers?" I ask hopefully " What is a Direct Mailer?" enquires the silky voice nonplussed.


chupru said...

Nice write,
Tormented by fraud callers..??
gee... i go through this eceryday with credit card and loan offers, atleast i get to burn them out with "No thank you, I am busy".

Hey me too a, wanna be ad-guy. These are sill in words and mentioned in unnecessary conversations with drunk friends; but yes i'll love to do Ad
and dont worry, i don't have a phone.

silverine said...

U write well. ur post on canteen food had me roaring. I showed it to a couple of friends and they all nodded in sympathy after they had wiped the tears from their eyes, themselves being victims of similar fare. About being an ad guy - anyone can as long as you can visualise and write. Best of luck!

Adarsh A. Varghese said...

great post! By the way my mom is with the IT Department.

silverine said...

...the champagne for you mom is on the way. Hope she like is partial to Druk:)btw I am practising groveling and chicanery in case I meet her.

Adarsh A. Varghese said...

Well, she dosent care much for champagne. But then if you can arrange somthing for her son, she would be mightly pleased!

Matter of Choice said...

Just going thru some of ur older posts!

you certainly have a fascination with Rexin sofa's havent u? :))


Synapse said...

well now google has one entry for jugnu software! - ut post! :D

claytonia vices said...

While interviewing candidates for a post in our team I found that those who sound a little incompetent on phone are even more pathetic when face to face. So stopped inviting such people for interviews.