Inside Humour Me: What it is really like to work in a new-age advertising agency

After working at Humour Me for over two years now and explaining what we do multiple times, I am still frequently asked this question - “But what exactly do you do?” 

This is what prompted me to start this journal.

My name is Aradhana Mathews, and I am the Creative Manager at Humour Me. In this journal, I will not explain our value proposition or go into detail about our strategy. For that, watch our ‘About Us’ film - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8P_6k6DoZk (don’t miss me looking productive in the background) Instead, I’m here to tell you what it is like to work in a company like ours and what our day to day lives are like, i.e., what it is we actually do.

This week began with our CEO holding a meeting to talk about a detailed strategy on how we should approach creating content for ourselves. The meeting lasted for two hours (the average length of most meetings at Humour Me) after which our CEO concluded by asking for a volunteer to manage this new work. The response he was met with is best explained by this meme –

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Our Senior Creative Manager was probably the only one whose less-than-enthusiastic response could be justified. In the recent storms that wreaked havoc in Delhi, a tree branch fell on his car and his laptop was stolen from inside it.

The rest of us had no excuse.

But the Senior Creative Manager was not the only one who was under strain. There was a lot of work to be completed by the end of the week, and we were racing against time.

A leading smart phone brand had approached us and told us that they would like us to create and execute an enormous campaign for us. We had worked with that brand multiple times before, so we did not think that conceptualization of a campaign for the upcoming pitch would be too difficult.

However, creative inspiration is frustratingly fickle-minded. On some occasions, ideas flood one’s mind in a second, and on others, no amount of brainstorming will produce any effect. Unfortunately, this occasion belonged to the latter category. The creative team thought and thought, but nothing we came up with seemed good enough.

Our lack of ideas was not entirely without cause. We were simultaneously handling the launch of a new backpack brand called Arctic Fox. By the end of the week we were supposed to complete and present their first ever brand film. But we were definitely not ready. A lot of edit work was left, the music was not complete (I was creating an original score for the film), and we still needed to find a voice over actor. For a while we toyed with the idea of using a celebrity, but decided against it, since the celebrity might overshadow the brand (not an ideal scenario for a brand’s first ever piece of communication).  

Eventually, we managed to finish the film, or at least a presentable version of it. We were mildly anxious about how the film would be received, but we were glad that we at least met the timeline.

Unfortunately this came at a price. While we did manage to come up with ideas for the smart phone brand, we had to push the pitch to a later date so that we could be truly ready before presenting said ideas. We considered this a defeat, since we didn’t meet our internal timelines.

In an advertising agency one learns to be prepared for lots of ups and downs, often at the same time. While we were feeling disappointed in ourselves, I got a call from our CEO who had gone to Bangalore and presented the film. Thankfully, he had good news. I rushed to tell the team, only to find that the CEO had also called our Senior Creative Manager and shared the news with him. After a brief tussle for who would share this good news with the team, we told them what our CEO had told us – Arctic Fox liked the film.  

Relief was the predominant emotion in the room.

This week brought with it both victory and defeat. Emotions ran high and stress levels peaked. But at least we managed to create a film that we were proud of, and that’s what matters most.

See you next week!

P.S. – Check out the Arctic Fox film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQsJK-LUIAQ&t=68s

 

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