Everyone’s Complaint Department: The Source

The ‘Everyone’s Complaint Department’ series of comic strips began as random doodles and reflection pieces of Alvin Teoh, ECD of Naga DDB Tribal. These little stories featured in MARKETING magazine were originally posted on Facebook and are an ongoing tribute to life in Adland. The comic depicts Alvin’s early days in the advertising industry and words from the Executive Creative Director (ECD) himself.

Some days, I walk into the agency and it is filled with noise. Teams are scattered everywhere, clustering around tables thinking stuff and it is nice. Other days, it feels like a funeral. People are demotivated, we get mistreated, feel tired, and everything looks dark. One of my worse times was being told I had to lead a very demoralised bunch who had the worse time running an insane account whose marketing head was infamous for being rude and unreasonable.

I was just made ACD and tadaaa, I inherited it all. I remember my first meeting with the team. I’ve seen happier people at a wake. But I was prepared. I told them not to change the way they looked. In fact, intensify it and walk around with your faces sweeping the floor.

And they’re like, what?

“It’s a pitch year. This account has a reputation for destroying souls. Magnify that reputation and no one will ask you to work on a pitch.

They didn’t expect that and I thought I caught half a smile. Then I covered the glass walls with paper. No one could see what we were doing and it gave the impression that we were suffering inside and everyone left us alone. That gave us time to recover, to rest, to think, to plan.

Next thing I said – some people in the industry don’t think much of bread and butter work. They over-worship award winning work. Screw that. We will spend our energy making bread and butter sexy. Let’s make people jealous. We’ve got nothing to lose. The client is already threatening us almost daily by sarcastically saying ‘let’s activate the other agency’. Fine, let’s act like we’ve already lost the account and do some crazy shit.

Well, this happened:
We had 9 pitches that year. My teams were spared from it and got the respite they needed.
I sold my first 2 scripts (that I actually liked) in the first round and the client loved it so much, he demanded for more work like that. Cool.

The teams relished 24-hour deadlines because I changed the narrative:
Short deadlines = no time to overthink things or change minds = less work = more time to think fun things. Within the year, the work drew the right kind of attention and people actually would call me and asked to join the team.  And when that ‘notorious’ client left for greener fields, I was actually sad. We had become friends.

I guess there is a little lesson here – we create our own opportunities. We don’t change the situation. We change the way we see the situation and the situation changes itself. And while it’s not 100% full proof, more often then not, fate obeys our will and rewards us.

MARKETING’s CMO Conference Returns with a Stellar Line-Up

Last year’s sold out conference is back! BIGGER, BETTER and with a NEW awards show to celebrate Malaysia’s best marketers.
Now in its 7th year, the Chief Marketing Officers Conference is a gathering of trailblazers in the Malaysian Marketing sphere. With a bold yet relevant theme of ‘Goodbye Marketing, Hello Engagement’ this year’s conference will bring you up to speed with what’s going on in the Malaysian marketplace.

The change makers who will take the stage on the 16th of November include:

• Damien Crittenden, VP Client Strategy, Xaxis
• Ben Mahmud, Head Strategy, Business Dev, Petronas Dagangan Bhd
• Dato’ Dr.Hussamuddin Hj. Yaacub, Chairman CEO & Group MD, Karangkraf Media Group
• Lim Imun, General Manager-Marketing Munchworld
• Juliana Chua, GM of Marketing, Pavilion KL
• Tai Kam Leong, Head of Branding & Partnership, Maxis
• Rishi Pahwa, Head of Marketing, Wipro Ginvera Marketing Ent Sdn Bhd
• Schrene Goh, Head of Marketing (Global Market) Malaysia Airlines
• Kenny Wong, CMO Sunrise Berhad ….and more!

The 7th Malaysian CMO Conference & Awards
Date:16th November 2018
Venue: The Grand Ballroom, Sime Darby Convention Centre

To book your seats, call Ruby on 03-77262588 or visit https://marketingmagazine.com.my/cmo2018/conference#register

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The Malaysian Marketing Conference & Festival 2024 at the Sime Darby Convention Centre is a TWO-day marketing event for all those in Marketing, Media, Advertising, PR, Digital, Data, and more….

The experience is on May 15 & 16, with Keynote Speakers, multiple tracks or Breakaway Sessions hosted by our booth partners who will show you the latest in the industry. 

Download Event PDF
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