Three’s a crowd, four is fabulous.

27 Nov

3 NCD’s! The industry is agog. ‘The’ website interviews heavyweights who weigh in with their views.

Why raise the do-we-need-an-NCD-or-do-we-really-need-more-than-one question when the answer is so simple:  The agency stands to gain:

1. Very satisfying strokes are granted and maintained among key creative personnel.
2. Clients are gratified, and re-gratified that ‘such senior creative people’ are assigned to their brands.

My first brush with designations happened somewhere in 1993, when I was promoted to ‘Creative Supervisor’. Suddenly, I came to experience, first-hand, the phenomenon of the ‘parking slot’ designation. The company gets to reward you with a title, you get to brandish a title, and this gives the company breathing space because there are now 2 years between you and the next promotion. A small hike the following year should keep the little buggers quiet, the company tells itself.

Of course, it is inevitable that the gratification of being promoted becomes a major challenge for promoter and promotee. Delaying those perplexing moments has led to a profusion of parking slots: ACD, AVP, CCO et al. There are some really creative ones too: I remember seeing ‘Chairman of the Creative Council’ around not too long back.

Of the entire splay of tailfeathers, I personally find ‘Country Head’ and ‘Business Head’ very amusing. Imagine that. Seniority by body part!

It all reminds me of a story I once read of this pompous ass in British government who wanted a designation, and a big one that that.
The Ministry of Defence cheekily conferred on him, in a memo simultaneously sent out to the entire ministry, the title of ‘Supreme
Head of Intelligence Training’. He was checkmated, because he couldn’t refuse the promotion, and was helpless to do anything about the acronym.

Did I digress?

I remember vividly, a strange situation,  about a decade ago when a very large agency’s Delhi branch had 3 ECD’s and a CD who did not report to any of the 3. Fact was that one big client had demanded a specific ECD and a specific CD, and the CD had to be brought in from another agency, and came in on the understanding that they would report to no one. Apparently the client didn’t care about the internal circus that this would cause, the powers that be in the agency at the time didn’t care about upsetting the other ECD’s, and a strange set of bedfellows ruled the creative roost.

It’s the client, stupid. The client is the consumer … this time, of the designation. Remember, the agency cannot be caught doing anything a client would view with concern, or disadain, or disapproval. So it is important that we all remind ourselves that 3 NCD’s is not a case of an agency pleasuring itself in splendid isolation. Those appointments must be plausible, credible and incontestable. That arithmetic has been made, and holds well, with the client.

But why are we wringing our hands over this?

Are we not the country whose scriptures include the praiseworthy Draupadi, who held her own ground impeccably with 5 husbands, had a son from each, is still a unimpeachable icon of virtue and balance, and is eternally celebrated as one of the Panch-Kanya, The Five Virgins, of Ancient Hindu Mythology?

What of Ravana, each of the 10 heads symbolic of a great quality?

India,more than any other country, knows how to make one tapestry out of a thousand different strings and colours.

Tsk. Tsk. Methinks we doth protest too much. Lets do what we want, there are 1 billion 300 million of us. This is not an issue. It is not even a storm in a teacup. It is really, honestly, not going to make any difference to the fabric of the universe. We can comment, dissect, predict all we want, the machinery of it all will simply crunch forward regardlessly.

You want to discuss the significance of individuals? Let’s talk, on October 5, 2014, when it will be two years from the date Steve Jobs passed away. Now that is a matter worthy of consideration.

In the meanwhile, more power to you, Bobby. You earned it, and you can do it.

Chalo, bacchhon, bolo mere saath, Jai WT!

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