Dear MxM by Jaisurya Das: Have the overall standards of talent in adsales dipped considerably?

22 Dec,2016

By Jaisurya Das


And it’s Christmas week…! Ladies and Gentleman, welcome back to India’s premier counselling platform, Dear MxM!

One more month and India will celebrate its 67th Republic Day at the ramparts of the Red Fort, Delhi.  This day will also in all probability see the launch of Arnab’s Goswami’s new independent news channel, Republic.

Now this is hazarding a guess but with a name such, it would make marketing sense to pile on to the 26th January coverage for instant traction. What happens post that is anybody’s guess. After all, media isn’t an easy business, independent or otherwise.

It would be interesting though to sit on the fence and watch all the action pan out. I am particularly keen on figuring how this new independent , or independent (?)  channel will get marketed. On one hand, we have Rahul Shivshankar ( Formerly in NewsX )  who has quietly moved in to Times Now, and on the other, we have this behemoth of sorts, Arnab with this new offering.

Mohandas Pai and Chandrasekhar are both people that have been able to significantly change that way business works, They are now rumoured to be the force behind Goswami and his Republic. Now, this is really independence of the highest order. I wonder what will become of their political ideologies when they power an independent media house. Hmmm, yet another interesting scenario to watch..


For now, the scenario we need to focus on are our esteemed reader concerns. This time around from the cities of Jaipur, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad…


I can understand if government organisations have such archaic rules, but why do private media companies also adopt rules which force people to take their leaves by the end of the calendar year else they lapse?

It’s not really archaic. It’s just practical and also helps companies rationalise staffing. Encashing leave has long gone now and most companies do not offer this facility any more. The few who do, allow this only when you are leaving the services of the company or retiring from service. This also comes with a maximum number of days you can accumulate which in most cases — 90 at best. For the record, Indian companies are among the few across the world who give so much of leave in a given year ranging from casual leave, medical leave and earned/privilege leave.

Most international firms offer only earned leave of around three weeks in a given calendar year and there is no other leave permitted. Medical leave is given in cases where there is prolonged leave that is necessitated by a prevalent medical condition with the concerned employee.

Moreover, efficiency is known to be optimal when you take your annual breaks without fail and hence discerning employee friendly companies encourage taking a break once a year. Often the misuse of the other leaves lead to major discontent and any excuse is used to take a day off. One of the reasons companies introduced WFM (work from home) with logins etc was to circumvent these frequent short breaks that employees took.


Sir, my brother works as head of marketing at a leading organisation and he keeps cribbing that save a few exceptions, the overall standards of talent in adsales has dipped considerably. Fair assessment?

I have reason to agree with your brother on this. It’s often very depressing to see the current breed of ad sales professionals going out into the market without being equipped with skills or proficiency with the subject.

As I have said, several times over in my columns, mentors have long gone out of the system and today’s leaders are more concerned about protecting their own chair over employee performance. The young breed one meets today have several gap areas starting from basic communication, presentation skills to domain knowledge. They rarely get any training and are sent out with their sales kits to bring in the revenue. One sharp question and they have no answers to offer.

Soon all of them can be seen visiting only the ‘comfort stations’ as I call them, where questions are replaced with a chai and discussions on everything that circumnavigates the globe!

Pity really, but this is the reality. I seriously wonder where these young kids will go as the years go by and the revenue pie shrinks in favour of dynamic mediums who require almost no sales intervention…


What according to you is the necessary qualification to be a copywriter?

Passion for writing above all. The ability to see things in a different light and the observation skills of a leopard going in for the kill.

To me, these are the most important skills and very little will change this  imminent skill set. The rest can be taught and learnt with ease.


Sir, why is it that our standalone digital agencies aren’t able to measure up to the creative agencies  when I comes to creative work?

I don’t think that is entirely true. I have seen some excellent creative work being done by digital agencies. Quite recently, I was on the jury of the Big Bang Awards at Bangalore and had the honour of judging some phenomenal work in digital among other things.

It’s just that the mainline creative agencies are better known. They spend more on marketing themselves while the digital agencies are immersed in their work. It’s important to rememberer that the digital agencies are most often small and have less manpower in comparison and hence there is little time spent on effective marketing or branding of their own property.


To me, it’s not about creativity as much as ‘shouting from the rooftops’ on the quality of creative. Give these small agencies a chance to grow and am sure you will see much more out there in terms of super creative campaigns.



Till we meet next, here’s wishing all my readers a Heavenly Christmas !

Make the most of it, ladies and gentleman, enjoy yourselves to the hilt but don’t drink and drive!

Sayonara and God Bless.


Jaisurya Das, maverick and media evangelist, eats, sleeps and makes love to brands. His consulting interventions are aimed at making brands powerful and sustainable. He is also the Contributing Editor of MxM India and Co-Founder of For more on his work, visit


The views expressed in this column are his own.

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