(M)ad Work


If it hadn’t been for the love of giving interviews, I wouldn’t have ended up here. Call it chance or providence, but here I am sitting at my very own desk at an ad agency – a field of work I have regarded with contempt, particularly in Pakistan since the number of ads that get churned out year after year are formulaic, if not cringe worthy.

If you are shaking your head in disbelief, you might want to check the wonders of work Meezan, Tarang, Telefun have come out with. There are only a few brands that make you stop and watch and not make you curse yourself for stopping and watching. Personally, Djuice has been that brand for me even though I used the product for barely over two years.

What is it about advertising? Some say it’s the clients, others blame it on the lack of resources. But all I hear is excuses, shmuses. But then how do I land here, you may ask? Well, for starters it all pretty much started of me wanting more. Isn’t that what ads at the end of the day make you want? More? More of the product in less of the price. More of a experience, of the supposedly attached lifestyle, of the cool image?

What started out as one of those million interviews I get accepted in and throw away, this sort of turned into a challenge. All of a sudden I felt like wanting to know how I would fare In the field I don’t really respect.

First day at work? The customary 30 min wait before someone finds time to show you around, 9 out of ten people are seen typing furiously on their typewriters, oh wait, laptops (MadMen overdose). Everyone is busy. Really busy. Phones are buzzing all over the place. Important people can be seen running around. An awkward while later, you find yourself sitting at a desk looking at the stationery in front of you.

There is no work yet. At least, not for you. You are the newbie. When something does eventually appear, it’s usually something others are too busy to care about but they try their best to offer it in a way you can’t refuse.

“Let’s see what you can do with it.”

And there you are, with a first set of instructions in your hand wondering how do you combine the terms “meat” and “independence” in five different ways.

“Can I take a bathroom break?” you question in your head. But really, that’s the only place you have been known to come up with ideas that truly work.

So are you trying to tell me that I have to come up with 5 taglines combining two impossible words this very instant, that too while sitting properly at my desk? No shower breaks?

It’s no piece of cake … Wait, excuses shmuses?

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