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Diary of a malcontent copywriter

An insight into the mind of a modern-day advertising copywriter

By  Manoj JacobSep 14, 2022 10:54 AM
Diary of a malcontent copywriter
Representational image via Unsplash

The year is 2035, your 135th script has just been partially understood and given the thumbs up by a reluctant young brand manager, who has never heard of Bernbach or Abbott, but has been a 1st bencher right from kindergarten and a huge fan of Sinek’s quotes.

Yes, you are so ready to set the advertising world ablaze.

But first, the ‘Woke’ check.

Now, you are fitted with an electric collar and your script is searched for words that will offend freckled girls with pigtails, boys whose voices have not broken before the second Sunday in Epiphany, teens, tweens, the lactose intolerant, religious nuts, non-religious nuts, cashew nuts, factory workers in yellow overalls, distant relatives of politicians on their mother’s side, golden retrievers, The Federation of Women Against High Heels and Low Morals, members of the Shoddy Toddy TappersAssociation, people with rare blood types, veterans, war widows, zookeepers, nationalists, socialists, fascists, and people who speak Sinhalese with a lisp. Each word that is found offensive by any member of the above groups will send a 1000-volt jolt through your collar, forcing you to expunge the word.

Next, the script is funnelled to the Pre-Storyboard Sensitivity Probe Centre, where every word that has survived the earlier onslaught is promptly probed and changed into ‘Hinglish’ by a squadron of Chetan Bhagat fans, then the premise is thoroughly whetted and ‘idiot-proofed’ by those well-versed in Idiot.

Finally, the script is storyboarded and paraded before a handpicked bunch of extra sensitive employees of the Sensodyne factory, who are armed with a bullhorn to alert the stakeholders of any perceived inappropriateness.

One short honk to report non-clichés and originality.

Two short honks for any errant product-selling ideas that might have strayed in.

One short honk, then one long honk, if the script doesn’t have an intense tearjerker dialogue involving a mother in the end.

And, finally, one long honk if the script is even remotely funny.

Chin up… Once you’ve fixed these loose ends and unfunnied the script, it is almost shoot time.

All you gotta do now is find a dog-friendly production house with a vegan menu and a gluten-free director with a nut allergy.

Manoj Jacob is a malcontent copywriter, who alternates between speaking in the third person to hey, I am an ECD with The Crayons Network and currently prefer Jonam Bocaj to Manoj Jacob. Views expressed are personal.

First Published on Sep 14, 2022 10:54 AM