name: that girl in pink
location: Somewhere, India
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Monday, August 28, 2006

How advertising helped me improve my vocabulary.

Countless derivatives of the F word, 24 words for male and female private parts and an exhaustive list of regional language curse words: the last 5 years of being a copywriter have been nothing if not educational.

If it wasn’t for this profession I would never have learned to use the built in Microsoft Word thesaurus with the ease and flamboyance I now possess. Only unlike most users I’ve been trained to look for smaller and easier words to substitute a standard quality word. This is done so the copy fits into the 2 mm space the art director has assigned it in his layout and also so that it’s understood by Mrs. Santosh Kaur in Bhatinda.

The above restrictions have also helped hone my editing skills. The written word might be my best friend but I should not be shy of killing it when required. Like when a commercial originally intended to be 45 seconds long needs to be packed into 10 seconds. Or when 70% of the space of a print ad is reserved for dealer addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and two sets of emergency helpline numbers (for BSNL and non BSNL users). What if, God forbid, there is a washing machine related emergency at 2 in the morning? An Emergency Helpline Number becomes all important.

There are also certain buzz words that I’ve picked up in my tenure here, “buzz words” being a prime example. We advertising types love using jargon and you’ll frequently hear us discussing “genres” (pronounced 45 different ways), “stylize”, “esoteric”, “out of the box” and a hot favourite, “a for apple”. I can’t get into explaining what that last one means, but I’m sure all young writers and art directors have had that thrown in their faces at some time or the other.

While the above skills have contributed to my overall development, the biggest input of advertising has been to my repertoire (nope, did not pick this up in this industry) of cuss words. In the advertising industry joy, sorrow, disappointment, disgust or even plain boredom are all spelt with an F. Sometimes a lone F word doesn’t quite communicate our true feelings and then we enlist the help of another series of F words. That’s F for a ‘Family Members’ and a combination of the two is usually fairly effective.

We also realise the importance of staying true to the local flavour of the country and hence the stress of learning regional language gaalis. Let no one ever say that advertising in India is elitist and catering only to the educated snobs.

Truly, “learning on the job” has never been truer than in the case of this (insert adjective here) industry. Join us and learn from the wisdom of your ancestors. And while it may not pay as much or be as satisfying as other jobs, when you’re having a fuck all day, at least you’ll be able to express yourself.

Posted by that girl in pink  | 10:46 AM  |  47 comments  

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

atTAGged!

I’ve been tagged! And it’s a relatively free Tuesday afternoon and I can think of nothing original to write about so this seems like a good time to fulfill my obligation. (As mentioned in Section 34 of the Blogger’s Oath: Thou shalt write when tagged.) Actually doing this tag also helps me carry out Section 1 of the Blogger’s Oath: Thou shalt write.

So without further ado, let me start working on Vijayeta’s tag, which is rather vague but it’s something to do, so I shall not crib.

Here goes!

I am thinking about…
This bitch at Kaya Skin Clinic I met the other day who told me I should start using anti-aging skin products. After I slapped her for her impudence and flung her around the room a few times she proceeded to take out one of those magnifying mirrors and showed me frown lines that are apparently forming between my eyebrows. Of course I broke the mirror on her head (assuring her 13 years of bad luck) and marched out of the stupid place.
Only problem now is that I’ve developed this fear of frowning which used to be one of my favourite activities. So now instead of scowling and seething inwardly when someone cuts me off in traffic I just roll the window down and curse loudly.


I said...
Hello you fool, I love you!

No, I didn’t! I said a lot of things but nothing particularly noteworthy and worth putting down here.

I want to...
Write wonderful books that get published and make me money and I want to travel the world, especially rural France, and not be tied down to stupid jobs and I want to open a place for abandoned pets and I want to be myself always, no matter what.

I wish...
Everything wasn’t such a struggle. I know that that apparently makes you a better person and all but sometimes it’d be nice to just have things handed to you on a platter. I’m not even talking about material things…it would just be nice if plans and dreams unfolded into reality without too much effort. Just sometimes.

I hear...
This dog barking his head off every night. He’s someone’s pet dog and I need to figure who the owners are what the hell they’re doing to him for him to create such a racket every bloody night. This weekend, I’m going to do some snooping around my lane.

I wonder...
If Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will stay together forever and continue creating beautiful babies or if their union will end like all hollywood unions. I also wonder and worry about what people will think of me now that they know what occupies my mind when I’m not busy.


I regret...
Eating fatty food that is not exquisitely delicious. I hate consuming calories when its not worth it so now I’m really regretting eating that stupid peda at lunch. Its not even one of my favourite desserts and this one was dry and dull andI popped the whole bloody thing just cuz it was there.

I am...
Incapable of answering that highly loaded question. I am OK, I guess!

I dance...
Better to songs I can sing along with. So even if the song is in Spanish you’ll find me making up the words and singing and dancing cuz its just more fun that way!

I sing...
That’s a lie. I don’t sing. I can’t. It’s a disease with no cure.

I cry...
Very rarely. I don’t like crying and it always gives me a headache so I avoid it as much as possible.

I am not always...
Saying what’s on my mind…

I make with my hands...
My bed. My hair. Sometimes I make scrapbooks. That’s the extent of my creativity.

I write...
Crappy advertising copy all of us love and appreciate so much. How dull our lives would be if I weren’t writing things like, “Special Offer-Just for You!” or “This Festive season, XYZ brands brings to you…”
Sob! I write crap!


I confuse...
Between its and it’s. I’ve been explained the rule a million times but for the life of me I’ll never get it. Now I just rely on Microsoft Word to correct it for me.

I need…
To figure out a new livelihood and get out of this job that’s just boring me to death! I can’t keep writing tea commercials aimed at middle class mothers anymore. I need something else! I need to sit down and think things out!

After this cathartic tag that’s taken me more than a whole day to complete, what with annoying work butting in from time to time, it’s time to pass the torch on. So Jenn, Cyber Swami, Vanessa, PinkBury, Indian Punkster, Essar and Shub, Knock Knock! You’ve been tagged!


Posted by that girl in pink  | 6:56 PM  |  41 comments