Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Chances are…

There was a time in advertising, when a lot of ad copy started with ‘Chances are…’

And back when I was a junior trainee dogsbody in Lintas, my reporting boss, Cherian Varghese, reacted to copy we showed him with either ‘Chances are there’ or, more often, ‘Chances are lesssss.’

These things are important for context.

So, one night, we were all up late in Express Towers, finishing off stuff for the weekly meeting at our big client in Pune. Our creative director and the client servicing team would be at VT in the morning to catch the Deccan Queen to go present stuff to the client’s top brass. There was a lot of work, print ads, hoardings, TV scripts, and below-the-line stuff like leaflets.

Cherry kept bouncing our ideas, our headlines, body copy even. We heard ‘Chances are less’ many times that night. At some point, in one of the smaller items, one of us put dummy copy in the layout as a place-holder. Only, instead of the usual Lorem Ipsum, we filled up the available space with ‘Chances are less, chances are less, chances are less,’ and ended with ‘Chances are there.’ We were mighty amused with our wit.

We ordered dinner. The night wore on. We were tired. We took printouts, made mock-ups, packed envelopes with the creative that the junior AE would ferry to the station.

We forgot* to change the dummy text.

The next day, Adi Pocha, our CD, was presenting the creative. When it came to this leaflet, glancing down seeing copy starting with ‘Chances are,’ which, as I said, was a bit commonplace, he didn’t tell client that the layout had placeholder copy which would be worked out later, as he would have normally, and began to read.

The next day at the agency, Adi, to his credit, didn’t chew us out. He just said, ‘You bastards.’

* Or did we?

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