A confederacy of dunces by Ravi Eshwar

I believe advertising awards are a pox. They strip us of all perspective. They have the buffoon vanity of nail salon technicians entering the Annual Podiatry Awards. (“And the award for best varnishing in the left pinkie category goes to…”) To advance this podiatric comparison, we in the ad business, are at best Commerce’s pedicurists. Sure, we can all drink the Kool Aid and profess to be the data-drenched insight-givers, the ideological partners of Big Business but really people, let’s jettison our folie de grandeur. It’s the puffery of pipsqueaks. Our area of influence relative to the surface area of Commerce is toenail-sized. Wake up and smell the acetone. Or the budgets, if you will. See, Business comes in to our salons, dusty and tired from its daylong march and puts its feet up, telling us it has 15 minutes before it takes its ten little piggies back to the market. And so our primary task is to scramble. To soak, scrub, slough the dead cells, smoothen the edges, lay on a fresh coat of varnish and make Businesses’ extremities socially acceptable. All before it strikes up the path again and resumes its long footslog. And so, just as, in the rough and tumble of Commerce’s march, the varnish eventually thins and fades and needs renewal, so too with ad campaigns. Let’s keep it that way. Let’s be the best darn nail technicians we can be. Let’s first learn to make them toes sparkle. Let’s learn to soak,  to buff, to exfoliate, to paint. Before attempting to find unasked cures for frost bites and Carpal Tunnel Syndromes, for that is far in excess of our brief and isn’t why we were hired, no matter what these advertising shitshows would have us believe. Let’s get real. Let's tend well to the ten postage stamp-sized zones we've been allotted.If we don’t get the varnishing act right, we become the vanishing act.

Ravi Eshwar


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