I’m sitting at the kitchen table, reading the Saturday paper.

At the same time, I’m on the laptop checking for emails.

At the same time, I’ve got the radio on in the background.

At the same time, my wife is talking to me.

SFX: Ring ring….ring ring……

Me: “Hello?”

Voice: “Hellothisisvishnaspeakingfromthenhshealthtrustincamdenwould


Me: “Sorry I didn’t get that.”

Voice: “Thisisvishnaspeakingfromthenhshealthtrustincamdenwould


Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t understand a word you’re saying.

Could you say it again more slowly please?”

Voice: (Sighs, as if speaking to an idiot) “This is Vishna speaking from the NHS Health Trust in Camden. Would you be willing to answer a few questions please?”

Me: “Sure, okay, go ahead.”

And we start going through the telephone survey.

Notice how much time was wasted.

Hethoughthewasbeingefficientbysayingeverythingasfastashecouldwithoutleaving agapforbreathorpunctuation.

(He thought he was being efficient, by saying everything as fast as he could, without leaving a gap for breath or punctuation.)


(The problem with that is you have to say everything twice, because that’s not how ordinary people talk.)


(You should concentrate on the effectiveness of the way you’re being heard, rather than just on the efficiency of the way you’re speaking.)

It’s literally a waste of time.

In our terms, a waste of media.

But that’s how it is.

Everyone is on broadcast rather than receive.

Agencies and clients only think of how they want themselves to be seen.

Rather than on what the consumer will take out of it.

I’m sure that in his call-centre training room Vishna got a very good grade for his phone communication skills .

Everyone was quiet, everyone knew the script he was going to deliver.

It was just a matter of getting it all out as fast as possible with no mistakes.

That’s a little different to the way it works in real life.

But it’s just like advertising.

Where everyone sits in the meeting room waiting for the first showing of the finished ad.

They all know the script.

They’ve all been to the pre-production meeting.

They’ve all seen the animatic.

They’ve all seen the rough cut.

They’ve all heard the suggested music track and approved the voice over.

Now they’re dying to see what great little subtle touches the director has added.

How he’s moved the idea on.

“Has everyone got teas and coffees?

Okay, all ready? We’ll play it straight through, three times, and then we’ll discuss it.”

Doesn’t that sound exactly like the environment it’s got to work in?

Where everyone will be sitting on the ege of their sofas, carefully watching the TV, waiting for the ad, so they can discuss the subtleties of the cut?

It doesn’t. Well I’m shocked.

But then maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that all those subtle little award winning pieces of film don’t cut through in the ordinary environment.

Maybe that’s why they have to have two or three times the amount of media spent on them to be effective.

Just the way the call-centre monologue takes three times more airtime to get its message across.

Do you suppose that could be the reason most advertising works about as well as a call centre monologue?

Do you suppose it could be that most advertising is only done for other people that work in advertising to judge?

Not for ordinary people.

Just the way most call-centre operators learn to speak the way other call-centre operators speak?

Not the way ordinary people speak.

See, here’s what I think.

I think the ordinary people, the punters, the consumers, with their dull grubby little uninteresting lives, have been left out of the loop.