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Guest Times: Hiring The Assassin

The Chairman of Equus has always been a maverick. But there are times when he outdoes his wickedness. Like his strategy at the start of 2017 to win pitches. Read on…

Swapan Seth | Delhi | January 9, 2017

Swapan Seth Swapan Seth

Agencies are mostly myopic and largely lazy.

A pitch means cobbling together some great minds in the agency, doing some sub-standard research and largely safe, client-pleasing creative and a few fattened trucks of them.

Well, mostly.

I have never believed in 44 options.

My formative years were in Trikaya Grey and we exuded great cool when clients asked us for options. We would say, "That is our sister agency."

Which is true. Trikaya had a division called Options.

I have approached different pitches differently.

Many years ago we pitched for a bank brand only to lose it to an agency that ferried the client to their office in sultry sedans, presented in a cinema hall and then had a grand dinner.

That is not my style. I aspire to win a pitch on the back of the cunning incite. The large landscaped idea.

And I don't go with an army. Just two or three of us are good.

My pitches vary from five to twenty minutes. Because I have very little to say and even less to show.

I have had one slide presentations. I have had no creative work shown at presentations. I also don't like to pitch any more. It is exhausting and demoralising.

Nowadays, I ask people who else they are inviting.

If you are calling agencies based on the size of the hammer we do not merit inclusion. We are just one crappy, sharp nail.

If you are calling a bunch of sweet sized agencies with terrible creative credentials, excuse us.

But in 2017, I have pounced on a great pitch idea.

And I am happy to share it because agencies would never get clearances to hire an outside gun. Plus most don't even know where to find the guy or girl.

In 2017, I am focussing on The Assassin. A category and domain marksman who is magnificent and a mercenary. A brutal strategist sharpshooter who has pierced categories.

I hire the mercenary for a week. If he kills it, he gets paid.

If he doesn't, he doesn't.

The skills of such a marksman change the entire thinking of the agency. From poise they are introduced to pierce. The Assassin communicates at night. When the rest of the agency is asleep. The plot is hatched at midnight.

While I am definitively democratic, I sometime get away with nonsense vis-a-vis my colleagues.

But The Assassin is cold-hearted. He will kill me to get his way. He is shooting for the target. And nothing can come in the way of that.

Advertising has to change. It has to outsource the outstanding. We need dissent. We need disruption (I detest the word though).

Our fees can only longer fatten us. We have to invest in the incredible and invite him to the table of our clients.

We are paid for that.

This year, I am determined to be fierce and fabulous

With that, here is to a wonderful 2017.

Let's kill Bill.

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