Copywriting is all about being word wise

In February 1977, I met K. Kurian, founder and chairman of Radeus Advertising, for the first time. He was interviewing me for the post of Hindi copywriter in the agency. 

He said, “Before I ask you any question, I want you to look at our existing Hindi advertisements and give your comments”. 

Then he called for all his clients’ guard books. I don’t think today’s advertising professionals would know what guard books are. A guard book is an advertising agency’s internal archive of work done for a particular client. 

First, the guard book was for Firestone Tyres

In the first ad, in its first two sentences itself, I could spot errors. I asked him, “May I please get a pencil, Mr Kurian?”

He was amused and wondered, and rightly so. “Why do would need a pencil?” was his question. 

I replied, “To mark spelling errors, first.”

Mr Kurian shot back, “You mean to say our published ads have spelling errors?” 

Well, yes, they had. But he was gracious enough not to get offended, and that’s how I bagged my copywriting job at Radeus.  

Today, spelling errors ain’t a great deal because “sab chalta hai dude.” 😀😀😀

I wish if I could…

I have a wish to make at least 4 more good advertising professionals before I leave this world. I have been a teacher and would love to pass on whatever little I know to a few eager-to-learn bunch of advertising newbies. It will be a small group so that I can respond to queries, and give individual attention. The takeaway would be an opportunity to learn the nuances of media planning.
Unfortunately, today most of the advertising agencies are owned by “Foreigners” who have made every employee, including CEOs to earn “Profits” for them. With the account type individuals, training, professional development has taken a back seat.
Even professional associations, etc., too have mediocre people at the helm of affairs. If any one is offended with my remark, I invite them to debate with me on a public forum.
Looking at the situation, I’ve now decided to conduct my Creative Workshop for students, once again.
Would you want to join?

भाषाएं कहीं महज बोलियों में न बदल जाएं

भाषाएं कहीं महज बोलियों में न बदल जाएं जमील गुलरेज पाकिस्तान से पिछले दिनों उर्दू को लेकर एक खबर सामने आई। खबर कुछ यूं थी, ‘पाक सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने उर्दू को लेकर इमरान खान को लगाई फटकार।’ खबर को
— Read on epaper.navbharattimes.com/imageview_54126_58375_4_13_04-10-2021_14_i_1_sf.html

The Audio Medium

https://www.freepressjournal.in/weekend/from-clubhouse-to-twitter-spaces-audio-platforms-are-offering-a-break-from-video-overdose-amid-the-pandemic

Nostalgia reloaded | My thoughts on Clubhouse in The Free Press Journal

The audio medium has always been music to former adman and Urdu connoisseur Jameel Gulrays’ ears. Having worked extensively in the field of aural communication during his advertising days, he is a firm believer in reading through one’s ears. 

“A voice playing on any device serves as the perfect background to many activities. A listener can interpret a voice visually, just the way they want,” he says, talking about how his six-year-old read-aloud stories’ project Katha Kathan has found a new home on Clubhouse. But unlike the Youtube and SoundCloud uploads, he finds storytelling sessions on Clubhouse more interactive and engaging. 

“Everything in writing begins with language. Language begins with listening. We give these storytelling sessions a feel of the radio play. I also get to speak to the audience, clear their doubts, discuss the story and get their feedback in real-time,” he says.

Gulrays and his Team Kathan perform dramatised readings of the lesser-known stories of Premchand on Saturdays at 10 pm as part of Jashn-e-Premchand and those of Saadat Hasan Manto on Sundays at 10 pm for The Other Side of Manto.  Gulrays’ storytelling sessions on Clubhouse has listeners across the world joining in.

The Other Side of Manto and Jashn-e-Premchand evoke nostalgia, reminding me of the good old days of the popular radio show Hawa Mahal.

An avid attendee from London, who grew up listening to the show on radio during her early years in Bhopal.

There’s a huge uptick in the user base of these platforms because as Gulrays says, “After all, you can truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”