Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fishing Lesson

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

Had the opportunity to this twice this month- one was a writing gig for a foundation that works with public schools to promote and build a love for reading in children, and another was for my own organization which I originally wrote about here. 

What I love about these events is that even if I'm part of the support team and not a participant, I am always inspired. I find myself learning a little bit more about myself and the world and its realities.

The writing gig was awesome as I've never given much though to pre-school education before; had no idea that there was so much science and philosophy behind it! It was also really great seeing the public school teachers acknowledged and seeing their excited about learning something that they wanted to apply in their classrooms immediately.

The work I do with my organization has been a challenge recently. It's always a bit of chore getting a project off the ground, and it can get some what cumbersome if you have a day job to worry. But that always changes the minute the schools come together and you see them happily mingling, while getting some great renovation work done at the school.

My dream at one point was to work for a big developmental-type organization, but while that hasn't happened yet, I'll keep myself busy with these types of projects in the meantime.

Friday, September 24, 2010

5 Weddings and a Camera

My level of desire rises and falls depending on what's currently going on in my life, but the deep seeded obsession longing is always there. It's been an unhealthy fixation I must admit.

This post obviously means that I am nearing neurosis... once again.

I'm still mulling over whether or not I want to start with a great point and shoot or a dslr. Lumix or canon?! Canon or Nikon?! Quiapo, Hong Kong or Singapore?

Parallel to that.. when (and where!) do I squeeze it into my financials? Can I even free up some money in my budget?

Speaking of budget , to date I have 5 weddings within the next 365 days that I'd like to attend, all in different pockets of the world.

Now would be a good time to find me a pot of gold.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Masochist AE

So I don't work in an advertising agency exactly, nor am I an AE by title.

Technicalities and nuances aside though, being an AE in an advertising agency is very close to what I do and where I work.

I was forwarded the below from a co-worker. Found it amusing because it very closely describes my experiences with work so far. After my initial amusement, I found it a little scary that I could relate to this (me?! A masochist?!). Overall though, it was light-heartening to know that while at times you feel alone in what you do.. you are reminded that you are never really alone in your experiences.



I truly believe that people who enter the esoteric (read: misunderstood, misconstrued, or in layman's terms, because most people don't really know what it is exactly) world of advertising are the
truly insane.

Those who leave the industry have VERY good common sense and a sound sense of self- worth; those who leave and come back are certified nuts; and those who stay forever (and do not even entertain the
thought of shifting into another field) -- or for a long, long time, at least -- are the ones who love to suffer.

But the inherent, unarguably 100% purebred masochists are the ones advertising people call the AEs. They are the Account Executives, the so- called unsung heroes of product launches and successful market performances since time immemorial, or, to quote a recent essay on a similar subject, the quintessential advertising person.

The AE has a thousand definitions to his name, but allow me to narrow them down into five:

1. Your parents do not understand your job description. 

Excerpt from a real-life dialogue between an AE and her mother:

AE: Hey, that's my TVC!
Mom: Really? You mean ikaw ang nag-isip ng idea for that commercial?
AE: Uh, not exactly.
Mom: But you did write the script, didn't you, anak? Idea mo lahat 'yon diba?
AE: Erm...well, it was more like I orchestrated the entire production, Ma.
Mom: Honey, I don't understand. Ano ba talaga ang ginagawa mo?

In a nutshell, parents don't understand that advertising is more than just being a creative.

2. You are the sounding board of everyone. (Euphemism: Everyone yells at you.) 

Your client yells at you. Your creative yells at you. Your boss yells at you. Hell, kulang na lang that even the company driver yells at you for making him drive all the way to Bicutan and then to Marikina, AND THEN back to Makati.

In actuality, they all yell at you because you are their connecting vein. You are the DNA of the system. You are the air trafficker who decides which plane goes in which direction to avoid an airborne accident. Take heart: Without you, all of them can't function properly. (Shempre kailangan ng JO!)

3. You are supposed to exercise your (I quote) considerable powers of PR (Read: kaplastikan). 

No matter how much you hate your support groups, you'll always have to be nice to them even if your insides are producing enough acid to burn your digestive system. This is because you need them (and they, in turn, need you -- though they refuse to acknowledge such. After all, without you, where else would they get their salaries --through sidelines?).

4. You are a VERY high-paid maid of Clients. 

The common perception of other advertising people is that the AE is a Client's yes-man. "The customer is always right," goes the saying after all. This is because creatives see AEs as the Clients' sidekicks when in the agency. I've actually heard one co-AE say despairingly, "Prostitutes are better off. They can say no if they're tired and want to call it a night." Not the AE. Even though you're having a bad hair day, experiencing extremely painful menstrual cramps, not to mention having to deal with spoiled creatives, you have to make sure your Client gets his deliverables, which were needed "yesterday." (Sounds familiar?)

But, in defense of the AE, they do not say yes to Client all the time: it just seems that way. The AE, in relation to her kaplastikan prowess as discussed in point #3, has to do a lot of verbal ballroom dancing in order to make the Client see his or her view. In fact, the general rule among AEs is (paraphrased though): You cannot just say no just because.

In line with the advertising motto that all campaigns must have a strategy, so do the AE when it comes to dealing with Clients. As most Clients are sensitive about being brutally rebuffed, AEs have to massage their egos if they disagree with them. And on that note, notice how, in advertising, the word "client" is spelled as "Client?" With a capital C? Isn't that equating "Client" with "God?"

God forbid.

5. You are...McGyver. 

Resourcefulness is your middle name. Advertising urban legends claim that AEs have gone through hell to make sure both Clients and creatives (and to a lesser degree, your other support groups) are appeased: sitting in the broom closet until the creatives finish the compre for a print ad, hiring a kalesa's horse to ride through traffic in order to present a storyboard to Client, even bribing a DTI representative to give you a DTI number for a promo poster.

These are not myths. They have actually happened.

In the same vein, AEs learn how to be jacks-of-all-trades and masters of disguise and deception, because they know that at the end of the day, managing to deliver (and deliver right) is what matters. The AE is a celebrated case study for borderline personality or schizophrenia because all sorts of persuasion and coercion methods have been exercised by him or her: the use of charm, tears, and cleavage exposure are patented trademarks of an AE who knows how to get what she wants.

It may sound as if the AE is a person to be pitied, but no. Because while AEs love to whine about their dismal existence, they know, in the deepest recesses of their beings, that they feel like comic superheroes at the immense agony they have gone through and will be going through.

If you listen carefully enough, you'll hear the pride between the angst, the complaints, the sighs. They know they are strong people and while not a lot may be able to understand and appreciate that, they have each other to turn to for a metaphysical sense of empathy.

And, even if, an advertisement will merit awards for the creatives and the brand manager gets a raise for a product's market performance, the AE knows that she (or he) was the one who did it all.

And that unspoken truth is the reason why the AE is deemed a masochist.