The Honest Ad Agency (HAA) – SS

advertising sharks

I WAS BRAND new. If you were observant you’d notice I still had a wrapper on.

The CEO took the entire board with him, they were away on some swanky golfing retreat complete with whiskies so old they had developed dementia and of course a selection-box of prostitutes. I can only assume at the last part. Those guys practically severed their fingers taking their wedding bands off at work.

I had been assured I would be briefed thoroughly before one of our regular clients arrived, one of the big fish who paid exorbitant fees for their ads, the type that made zero sense, all art-house, style and zero sales.
What I found was an email and a 32 second clip from CEO Mr. Malcolm Putner on a usb stick.
*direct to camera* distracted at various points, like he’s playing a game..
Hi…*long pause* I forget your name. You have one mission today while I’m trapped in a bunker. *smirk* I’m kidding, I never hit sand. You have to keep McLaren4 in suspense about the latest ad for them. Tease, but don’t show. Well that’s it. Fuck it up and you’re fired. *serious face*

The detail of my brief was refreshing. With all the information I’d been given I knew I’d be absolutely fine in my first week in an office environment like a baboons playground. Even the people you’d expect to be nice, who on first impression seemed like they had no right to be so assertive based on job role or ability, were horrible. They’d maybe been here a couple weeks longer and already they’d turned sour, as if lightning was striking twice – a day- and they were all made of milk.

At least I had my own office, in that a space was set aside for me. For some reason there was a ‘no blinds’ policy, rumour was there’d been some sexual harassment issues. I got to feel like a goldfish, except these pricks wouldn’t feed me anything unless it was poison. My phone rang. McLaren4 was here. I turned and looked into a small mirror on the back of the faux oak door. Tie straight, corners of the mouth free of food. ‘Would I lie to you?’ I mouthed looking straight into my bloodshot eyes.

After the usual handshakes and schmoozing I corralled Mr. Timson in our second best meeting room. Arnold was one of the main PR guys and was meant to be there too. After delaying as much as possible I had to start. All I knew about McLaren4 was what I could glean from an internet search. Did I know what the product was they were looking to sell? Did I hell.

‘So, Mr. Timson I understand you are growing anxious to see the latest shoot for your product. I can assure you that you will be delighted with what we have developed but we are adding the finishing touches as I speak. With the investment you have made in us, I can assure you your… ‘ Had an outside observer been listening in they’d have needed at least one sick bag.

Timson sat nodding, facing the window with views of another tower block, then turned. ‘I’m hearing all the right things, give me something else. How about…an actual preview of the finished ad? And why isn’t Putner here? He’s always here and I get champagne treatment.’ He swirled a tumbler of Perrier in disgust, yet continued to drink it.

‘I understand Mr. Timson. We hired one of the best directors and photographers for the shoot, so you know the finished product will be of a top quality standard and aesthetic in line with your brief. I can only apologise for the lack of champagne, and might I add cigars. Sadly there was a misunderstanding and the champagne that was ordered was not put on ice – I didn’t want to offer you an impostor instead of the real thing – secretaries…’

Somehow I managed to yak sugary nothings and multisyllabic words long enough to tire Mr.Timson out. He wanted a copy of the finished shoot yesterday, I promised him it within the week. For all I knew it wasn’t even being shot.

Later on I had a team meeting. There’s no ‘I’ in team but there is an ‘A’. We had to sit through reels of the months latest creations – it was like watching TV except your program never came on after the break. Naturally I drifted off. I seemed to enter some sort of parallel universe day dream. For every advert that vaguely registered on my conscious I created honest ones. Next thing I knew I was the head of the HAA: The Honest Ad Agency with the freshest copy…

The brand new Mercedes only available at your local dealer. Hurry! A one off special payment of £35,999 means you can drive a beautiful car away today.

After the glazed look from your neighbours? Do you need double glazing? Repeat after me, ‘I need double glazing.’ ‘I need double glazing’. Whether its your porch, basement, or soul we have the right glass for you!

ParcelSlug – delivering your items safely and securely. It’ll get there eventually.

1 out of 10 would not recommend our product.

Controversial but ethical pianos. Ivory. A renewable resource – fact!

13 percent of customers thought our product was pointless – can 87% be wrong?

New improved recipe! Admittedly, the previous recipe wasn’t very good.

Another pointless movie tie in, but look, shiny new packaging! With holograms! Kids fucking love them!

Pineapple: the beer of fruit juice. And the mistress will love it!

Why have plastic when you can have leather? It’s what the animals would want.

Self loathing snapped me back to reality. I realise I’d scribbled these thoughts down somewhat illegibly. Leaving this in the boardroom was either the worst or greatest thing I ever did.

Shortly after someone had read it and thought it was hilarious. Next thing you know it’s a staff email getting swapped about. Hard stares softened. People replied when I spoke – sometimes. The ivory idea was actually looked into: elephant farms, breeding and logistics. They were to a man and woman, too stupid to realise the humour pointed at them, poking with a sharp stick made from their horrific dead but money rich souls.

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