The only reason I am still in advertising is the variety. On any particular morning, I may be doing the brand identity for a new mutual fund launch, working on a loyalty program for a petrol client, figuring how to get footfalls into a gold mall, checking out creative thoughts for an internet campaign for the fastest online stock trading offering. You get the picture. Makes my day.
The flip side of my job, being on the client facing side of the business, is the requests (to put it politely) that you have to deal with. Usually on Friday post 4 PM the client calls up asking for full fledged finished DMs, for say a new car launch, in Delhi by Saturday morning 10 AM.
You turn around and you find one of your trusted aides standing there with a request for an Rs 50,000 advance for a shoot slated for 5 AM in the morning at Madh island. Of course, the photographer needs the money before he leaves for the shoot.
Once a client called me up when I was on my fourth at 8 PM on a Saturday night, asking me if I could organize a wedding photographer for the MDs daughter wedding that was currently underway in a Gurgaon farm. Of course, the photographer was to be there in 30 minutes (that was the Mooharat time).
All these situations, an average advertising servicing person tackles without missing a sip. It’s all par for the course. But sometimes even the best are stumped. Especially when there are elephants involved.
As I was driving home last night, leaving my worries behind at Lower Parel, I received a call from my man in Bangalore. Boss, we have a problem. I need an elephant. He said.
There are very rare ocassions when I actually pull up and stop my car for a call. This was one of them. Now what was that again, I barked into the phone. A long monologue happened. Gist: We are shooting a film in the South of the country. It appears (or not) that there was to be an elephant at the break of dawn. There wasn’t.
I took a deep breath. I saw myself calling the Chairman and explaining this one. Sir, we forgot the elephant. Not to worry, we used cows. Hmm. Getting a grip on myself, I asked: Wasn’t a minor object like this covered in the pre-prod? It was and wasn’t as usually is the case. He said I thought it was covered and the client suddenly developed amnesia.
As I drove back, my mind was exploring options. Do I know someone who knows the descendant of the Mysore King? Maybe he can get us the pachyderm. What about that photographer I met at Pico’s in Bangalore. He was into wildlife. Oh, my pal in HCL! His wife is from Coorg. Maybe she knows someone who has a few frolicking in the yard. Maybe there is a circus playing in Bangalore…the phone rang.
It was my Creative Director on the shoot reporting in. She sounded cheerful. All is well. Shoot’s going like a dream. I dared not ask..what about the elephant? I whispered. Oh that, we changed the scene. We will shoot in Coorg. We spoke to someone and someone had a few spare and a couple of them are en-route at this moment. Will be there in the morning. Don’t worry.
Okay, I won’t. Phew.