The last resort
Dadagiri. Bhaigiri. Gandhigiri. Annagiri etc
Keeping with the trends of the times, we have witnessed a sudden rise of the suffix ‘giri’, added nowadays to any sort of behavior that is unusual, with a certain attitude.
These revolts have been synonymous, with being cool and trendy. Further glorified by the Indian film fraternity.
It’s a zig when the world zags, action, by revolting and rebelling - with style.
So Gandhigiri was when the father of the nation, chose non-violence over violence.
Dadagiri was when a group of thugs, did the exact opposite.
Followed by Bhaigiri, because ‘Dada’, sounded a tad older and the younger crop needed a fresher and more evergreen title.
Bhaigiri was much more evolved. They had brand ambassadors, led by some top bollywood faces, their own lingo, a signature attire, a swagger and what not. Bhaigiri soon became a brand to reckon with. You have to know a few in your area to get your work done.
Then came the reincarnation of the Mahatma, with Annagiri. A man who got his share of publicity. The masses and classes both loved him. Journalists were eating from his hands, which left him none to feed himself.
Till he finally realised that the trick worked brilliantly to garner TRP’s, and for a change got the opposing parties to show that they agree with each other.
No matter yeh kaise ‘giri’, there always is something for marketers to learn, ponder, and take references from their case studies. After all, each of them had their briefs, researches, challenges, big ideas and flawless executions.
Each of them got footfalls, eyeballs which is every marketing assignment’s end objective.
What was common between all these ‘giris’?
Gain Eyeballs, Footfalls
Embarrass the Target
Force action without forcing the target
Gandhigiri was all about thinking different, and they embarrassed the British, by not retaliating and the world took notice. Eventually winning freedom for the country.
Dada’s thought different again, and embarrassed the poor, by throwing their utensils out of the home, especially the ‘atta ka dabba’ which was full, no matter what the financial situation of the family. Making loud noises, enough to wake up the dead.
Bhai’s preferred to make a simple phone call to the rich and famous businessmen. Promptly covered on front pages, embarrassing them for their vulnerability, and finally giving in to their demands.
Now, being in advertising, the thought of connecting with a few bhai’s must have occurred to most agencywalas also, once a while.
Why? You may ask.
Well it’s simple. Any kind of business, no matter what it is in, has one universal concern - Collections.
Collections, not like hafta, but your own money which needs to be paid as a remuneration for your services and products.
You slogged nights and weekends, sacrificed lunch and make-did with sandwiches for dinner. You managed to finally get the project done in the nick of time. You send the bill, feeling bad about the amount you estimated and negotiated for, realizing it was far less for the amount of time and effort it took.
The client is travelling.
Stuck in important meetings.
Phone is unreachable.
Extension is busy.
If they do ring, they refuse to accept your calls, and somehow mysteriously claim that the umpteen texts and reminder emails 'never reach' them.
To make matters worse, the new Point of Taxation Rules 2011 under Service Tax, require advertising agencies to pay the tax as soon as soon as the invoice is raised, irrespective of payment collection. This service tax must be paid within a stipulated time after providing service.
The nail in the coffin is the industry’s credit period norms that vary from 60 days to 90 days. If you have been in the business for even a small while, you will know that this means that they finally ‘look’ at your bill on the 90th day and point an error in the amount, or worse - Negotiate.
Which means on the day you were expecting the monies, all you get is a returned bill, and you’ve lost the service tax amount you paid well in advance!
Then the some unknown manager steps in, and points out that the accepted rate card is now changed. Accepted? Who accepted? A bunch of people who have no clue how the an advertising agency works? Comparing two agency strategies, and creative outputs, like they compare two photocopier vendors!
It's sad when a purchase manager calls the agency, and asks what is 'so different' in what they are offering, not understanding a clue of what the S of strategy means. Yet, has enough power to cut his bill by half.
Unfortunately, agencies have to survive in this industry. They have to deal with the same people, time and again, and if not him - his boss, his colleague, his neighbor or maybe his assistant, who will one day become a client himself.
So the Bhai idea is ruled out, most of the times.
Agencies need to start their own rebel system- Agencygiri!
Advertising Agencies, need a more sustainable solution to collect their dues. My recommendation is an in-between road that has the assertiveness of Gandhigiri, and the aggressiveness of Bhaigiri. Yet is sophisticated and well thought of.
The Agencygiri Protest Fundamentals
Who. Where. Why. When. How.
We understand that we can’t reach their phones. Emails aren’t acknowledged. So the only option left is, go to their offices and meet them personally.
Unfortunately, their extensions just keep ringing, and if the receptionist does get through, they’ll keep us waiting endlessly. By chance, if they do come out and meet, they’ll be rushing or pretend to be rushing, from one meeting to another, and will casually tell you that they will call you that very evening. Yeah right!
But one thing is clear.
This is one place they can be contacted.
One would think that this is an obvious answer. Who are we targeting? We have to target the client, company, department or division at fault. But aren’t we doing exactly the same thing, and failing.
So we take a Rule No. 1 of giris - Dont Zig - Zag.
The uniqueness of Agencygiri starts with Who.
Most of our clients have nice elaborate reception areas. Frequently seen here are the client's valuable partners, their own clients, other business owners, traders, suppliers and vendors and many a times you might just spot a client you know from another company, who is now waiting for his interview call here.
So we target these guys, with nothing much to do here. Sitting and grabbing newspapers, their mobiles, simply staring at the receptionist, or reading the company values, out of sheer boredom. Or anything they can get their hands or eyes on.
These guys? Why?
Let me explain why.
The reception is the face of the company. It’s flashy, clean and quiet.
More like an attractive web banner, leading you to the virus inside.
Everyone comes to the office reception...
From potential candidates, to international delegates.
From secretaries, to signatories.
From the fresh chic interns, to the sales returns.
So visibility is guaranteed.
Media Planners - take notice of the award winning product and promotion placement.
Prime time is important.
Let’s catch them when the rush is maximum. Taking a cue from our predecessors- footfalls, eyeballs are important. Only then it’s got the potential of a succesful ‘giri’.
So we target the morning hours. Right when everyone is trailing in the office.
So here we are. At the client’s reception, early in the morning, targeting everyone but the client.
But what are we going to be doing here? Can someone please explain what are we going to do, or say? Simon go back???
Well Simon, please go back to your agency studio department, one day prior to the protest.
And here is the Big Idea.
Get your own accounts department introduced to your creative department.
They probably have never met.
An office boy waits for the client to walk in the next morning, leisurely.
The boy tells the client, that the banner he asked for is ready.
Puzzled as he will be, his reaction will be – What banner?
Open our nice big banner, in the center of the reception.
‘The enlarged pending bill printed to the size of 6 feet x 4 feet'
And then the boy wraps it up back in a jiffy, ensuring that none of the people waiting at the reception get a real good look, but the client gets a clear view of the enlarged bill with subject and amount.
With a red status stamp, that reads - Overdue.
Oops, Sorry Sir, wrong artwork got printed, and walks away.
Effects (and side effects):
Client calls (and he will), tell him it was a mistake.
Clarify that it was a banner printed for the accounts team offsite training happening today, and it was sent to him because of some misunderstanding.
Apologize and promptly follow up for the payment status.
End the call using your best comic timing, saying you will send the large print, if he needs a copy.
Evil Laugh Huhehahahaha.
The client will rush to his desk and process your bill, no questions asked.
He might even appreciate that you didn’t escalate the issue by going to his boss, because he might realize that you could have.
This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
No one was harmed during the writing or researching this blog.
We have never tried this. So positive results aren't guaranteed.
Stunts have to be performed by professionals. Don't try this at offices, unless guided by expert supervision.
But I hope, simply reading this will end the strife caused to any agency from this Chu***giri.
Luckily we have a beautiful bunch of clients that have been built more on trust and relationship, where we don't ever need to resort to such tricks, and we simply call the client and tell them we are in need of the monies. That probably is the best way to sustain in business and keep your business afloat.
We also proudly say that, No vendor has tried it on us, and hopefully won't.
Forward the link, at your own risk. If it works for you, let me know.