Head over heels

It was their day out. Away from the confines of their offices, the creative directors of the ad agencies in Muscat were game for a bit of whacky stuff. Over a cup of coffee, a walk on the beach and a bit of gossip, they bonded.

Some were meeting for the first time, others after a long time. The camaraderie was instant and by the time they left two hours later they were plotting further get-togethers. It was also their day to be on the ‘other side of the camera’, that too in front of a resonably large group of curious onlookers on Qurm beach. “Man, don’t we look ugly,” was the gleeful response as they had a peep at their images on the camera’s LCD screen. Then it was time to talk – of an ad from their repertoire that they would rather forget

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It was their day out. Away from the confines of their offices, the creative directors of the ad agencies in Muscat were game for a bit of whacky stuff. Over a cup of coffee, a walk on the beach and a bit of gossip, they bonded.
Some were meeting for the first time, others after a long time. The camaraderie was instant and by the time they left two hours later they were plotting further get-togethers. It was also their day to be on the 'other side of the camera', that too in front of a resonably large group of curious onlookers on Qurm beach. Man, don't we look ugly," was the gleeful response as they had a peep at their images on the camera's LCD screen. Then it was time to talk - of an ad from their repertoire that they would rather forget.
Mahesh Anawekar
Creative director, DDB
This happened several years ago when I was working in India. There was one client who manufactured mattresses and wanted a 30-second spot for a sale promotion. We worked out a story board. The opening shot was to show hundreds of people running.
The closing shot would show the destination - the mattress shop. It was approved but there was a hitch - it was a huge production job and we didn't have the budget to hire so many people. Finally we worked out a plan. Seven of us from the agency went to a busy mall with two cameramen. The cameras were set up, one overhead and one on the ground - we knew we could have no retakes. We spread out into seven shops. Just as the mall became crowded we ran out as planned earlier saying "Bomb, bomb". There was utter panic and people started running out and we ran along with them urging them to run faster. We got our shots and by the time police arrived we had disappeared.
At that time I was kicked about the whole thing. Now when I look back I can think of what could have gone wrong. There could have been a stampede, someone could have got hurt. In retrospect this is one ad which I wish I hadn't done.

Jayant Jayakrishnan
Some work I wish I had never done was for a client at my first agency in India. He was this sleazy ex-Army guy who had a private detective agency. Walk into his office and you'd find all these unsavoury heavies who almost certainly carried knuckledusters to work rather than pens. I used to find it deeply disturbing that anything I did would bring in business for a set-up like that. At the end of the day I don't think we got paid for the work we did which served us right.
Over here there has been the occasional cringeworthy piece of work. The worst are bad hoardings. With print ads, bad work passes by fast. A few insertions in the press and it's over but outdoor work is in your face for a few weeks at the very least. There has been work which made me sink down in my seat as I drove by, but of course I can't name names. Usually there were other options presented but if we couldn't sell the better work we stand guilty as charged. Bala Krishnan
Creative head, Asha Advertising and Marketing
After being in the industry for several years, there are many ads, which with hindsight I feel could have been executed better - it is a progressive thing. But if I have to pick one advertisement it'll be one which I did for a Korean 4WD for an automobile dealer here about six years ago but I don't want to give any names. We had the brief that the 4WD wasn't doing well in the market, it came with some baggage of which one was its unconventional looks - either you loved it or hated it. We were very excited that we got to do the creative for a 4WD. We took it for a couple of test drives and came up with a wonderful creative. That generated a lot of interest in the market about this 'different looking' vehicle. The interest translated into sales but the vehicle and service did not live up to the expectations created by the ads. The product was pulled out of the market after a while. Looking back I do wonder whether we could have positioned it differently or may be even have chosen not to do the campaign. It was clearly a case of over promising and under delivering.Joao Almeida
Creative director, SABCO Art
Ask me about bad ads, I would say there are many I didn't like as a creative person. There are some ads which I did even though I didn't like the concept because the client wanted it in a particular way. I've done ads which I don't personally like because they are right for the target audience. They were successful but I don't keep them in my portfolio. But there is this particular ad for a Swiss herbal weight loss product which I did when I was a newcomer in the industry in Portugal. None of the seniors thought it was worth their time or effort and the copy was passed on to me. The catchline went something like 'Lose 25kg in 15 days'. It was an advertorial and all I had to do was make the copy look like the text of each publication the ad was put in. It was released in all the publications and got the agency a lot of money, but personally I count it as my low point.
Anand Bhandarkar
Creative director, Art, NPA
This was when I was working with Everest Advertising in Mumbai and I was asked to do a packaging design for a brand of hair dye. As usual it was a rush job, needed yesterday types, I did five options. The one which got selected was the one which I never expected and was bad as far as I was concerned. It got printed and marketed and was on the shelves of all the shops. I used to hate myself looking at it in the shops. The second was basically an outdoor, to be specific a triad design. Frankly speaking it was a leaflet and not a triad. I am sure nobody would have ever been able to read it. The true concept of outdoor was lost in it.

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Head over heels
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