“... that it looks like up to me.”
That’s from The Doors. Music I grew up with. And the present gloom reminds me of this wonderful song.
Those of you who know me for any length of time will acknowledge that I’m an eternal optimist.
The optimism is sort of DNA encoded in me, dictated by the people I grew up with, especially my father, the books that I read, the music that I listened to – and, perhaps, by the times that we then lived in.
I grew up with Raindrops keep falling on my head, where ‘The blues they sent to greet me won’t defeat me; it won’t be long till happiness steps out to greet me.’
Reading included Charles Dickens; I loved Micawber’s ‘something will turn up’ in David Copperfield. We were taught it at school, and every time this sentence came up it raised a smile or a chortle from the entire classroom.
And Georgette Heyer, (yes, I read her as well) in a book I can’t remember the name of, saying ‘we shall contrive’.
And Eleanor Porter’s Pollyanna playing ‘the glad game.’ I play the game every single day of my life. If you haven’t read it, do so. Even if it’s a book written for children.
And my father insisting that there were ‘no problems, only solutions.’
A lot of you might argue that it’s better, at times like this, being a realist. See the world and the economy and the downturn and the layoffs and the terror as they are. Look just at the facts.
The difference is, I see tomorrow from a perspective that is distinctly rose-tinted.
Which brings me to another book I grew up with. A little known book by James Thurber, called The Wonderful O, in which a despotic ruler hates the letter ‘O’ and bans everything that looks like it and all words that contain the offending letter.
To cut a long story short (actually the original story isn’t too long), the villagers resist and overcome the ruler because his ban took away Love, Freedom, Valour and Hope, words that meant a lot to them.
I’m most concerned, now, with Hope.
At times of distress such as the present, it’s the only driver we have.
We need to hope that the economy will perk up. We need to hope that the Sensex bounces back. We need to hope that we have a stable government after the general elections.
In our little world of advertising and media, we need to hope that the consumer starts spending again.
We need to hope that marketers will launch new products and continue hawking existing ones. We need to hope that the industry grows at a rate that affords senior management in adland the confidence to not downsize and, hopefully, to resume recruitment.
It’s not that tough, in our industry, to have hope. Creative directors bust their asses and come up with ideas that they hope the client will like. If the client approves, the CDs hope for a budget that will allow them to shoot with the director of their choice, with the models of their choice and at locations of their choice.
The account managers hope that the client’s plans remain on schedule, that the campaign will launch as had been originally planned, and that the payments come through as required.
Often, all this hope is misplaced. The film is rejected, the budget a pittance, the launch is delayed.
And there’s no luxury of being down and staying down.
You have to bounce back; think of a new script, get another director, another client.
You have to bounce back, immediately.
We are, thankfully, a bounce-back industry.
And that too, thankfully, is DNA encoded.