Trilokjit Sengupta's Blog: (Not) A love letter to the creative

Trilokjit Sengupta, creative director and one of the founder members of METAL Communications, continues the series of letters within an advertising agency. This one is from Servicing to Creative.

Mar 21, 2011 03:39:00 PM | Article | Trilokjit Sengupta

Dear Creative guy,

I am the guy from the lower floor. The one you almost recognized at last year’s Holi bash. You patted my back, praised me in front of my client and then asked me to get you a beer (all in front of my client still).

I resort to writing this mail to you because after exactly a year, and happy holi by the way, you still do not quite exactly know who I am. Nor do you still acknowledge any of my presence. Or read any of my briefs. But I am guessing with how frequently and feverishly you check your email and facebook you will surely get this. By the way, I am sorry for the subject line. You really weren’t asked to serve as a jury member of this year’s adfest. But I had to get your attention.

Now that I have your undivided, let us start.

You are the reason why I do not enjoy coming in to work. My clients’ attitude, the measly salary and bad work hours aside, of course. Every morning I wake up with this suspended sense of dread, a sinking feeling that something you will do, or not, that will make my life increasingly difficult. And it’s no mean feat, considering most of the time you aren’t even there. But on some days, I have visions of you sitting alone in your huge sea-facing apartment and constructing Machiavellian plots to undo me against a timeline. And then you use some proprietary software to execute these devious schemes infrequently and with great dexterity. Causing great damage to this little account manager’s already meaningless life.

Sigh. But I know you do not.

I know you are busy guzzling beers somewhere right now as I sit in office and type this mail. You are quite the social animal. You appear rather charming and smooth to most. You know it's funny that most of us used to look up to you when we joined. Your quirks, wisecracks, casual nonchalance worked with the women. I would be jealous. But mostly was in awe.

Then I started working with you.

And though I have noticed that you have no respect for other’s people opinions, I am still writing this to give you a fair account of what you should not do. For your sake. Or it will only be a matter of time before your reign as the unofficial king of the agency ends. And the suits take over.

Stop being arrogant. And no, it is not akin to the arrogance of the great creative geniuses from history. They actually did great stuff. You don’t even do stuff. You mostly delegate.

Leave that ego at home. Why do you have such a huge one anyway? Did you find a cure for the common cold? Do you have the president’s award for bravery? Did you direct a Hollywood film? No. You cannot even direct your own ads. You write jingles and taglines to sell detergent and phone connections. Please. Wake up.

Do read the brief. Though you might not always find an idea there it is always a good idea to read it first. Someone took some time to write it for you. Most of your inane questions are designed to stall anyway.

Acknowledge that you read the brief. A simple ‘Got it’ would suffice.

Don’t tweet from the meeting.

A lunch break means you come back from lunch.

Sit on the chair.

A meeting that’s set for 10am, starts at 10 am.

Drink. But please do not get the studio guys drunk before 7 pm.

Do not forever be seen rolling a joint.

Do not fight for more budgets because the production house is playing hardball. Or giving you a kickback.

If you have promised you will think about it, please think about it.

When at the shoot, please be at the shoot.

We don’t care if you are at work on time. Just give us what you promised on time.

Don’t always look for an insight. If we had them all the time, you wouldn’t be here.

Please tell us what a good brief is. But be prepared when we show you a good ad too.

Don’t write hate mails to the client.

Stop wasting my time trying to sell that scam.

Please try and understand my worries. I do not love scurrying up to you and suck up to for every ad my client wants. He is your client too. And though they can be anal at times, we are in it together.

Lastly, do not spoil the kids. They look up to you and will soon start believing that to be a creative guy in the business you need to sport a carefully cultivated unkempt look, shout like a spoilt brat and smoke up on the terrace.

This is not really a place to prove you are a rebel. Just sell some soap. The world will sort itself out without your intervention.


The young suit from the third cubicle to the left.

Trilokjit Sengupta is the CD and one of the founder members of METAL Communications. He has spent almost ten years in advertising and thinks it is enough.