Guy, a copywriter, and Rob, his art director are a creative team at Blake Browning Burns. They have just walked into the meeting room they call 'the cupboard' because it is small and intimate enough for closed-door meetings of two or three people. (It is generally suspected around the agency that such 'meetings' have also taken place after, or even during, Friday nights drinks.)
Craven, the account director, follows them into the room. Craven is tall with jet black lank hair, and has affectations, and wears loud suits. He looks like a character from a Raymond Chandler novel, possibly Lindsay Marriott from 'Farewell My Lovely'. 'Craven' is his surname but he uses it as his first name. It fits.
In the room, Craven throws a fat manila folder diagonally onto the table with a thump, slewing out a bunch of briefing notes.
GUY (DEADPAN): Guys what?
CRAVEN: I'm just saying 'Hello!'
ROB: No, you're not, you said 'Guys!'
CRAVEN: It means 'Hello'. It's shorthand for 'Hello, guys!' which sounds too stilted, so I just say 'Guys!'
GUY: I suppose you've worked out a way to avoid having to indulge in any actual small talk before having sex.
CRAVEN: That is an appalling slur, Guy. Shall we start? I've got something here that will blow your socks off.
ROB: I've heard that before.
CRAVEN DOESN'T REPLY, BUT OPENS THE MANILA FOLDER AND HOLDS UP A STAPLED DOCUMENT WITH 'HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL' STAMPED ON THE COVER.
CRAVEN: Guys, here is the brief for your very first two-client television commercial. You know the Buffalo Finance spot you're working on? Well, they're sharing the spot with another client.
SHOCKED SILENCE ENVELOPS THE ROOM
CRAVEN (SMILES INGENUOUSLY, OR EVEN DISINGENUOUSLY): What do you mean, 'what'? It's a two-client TV commercial. There's another client sharing the spot. And the cost.
ROB: I don't think I understand.
HE TURNS TO GUY
Do you understand, Guy?
GUY: I'm trying very hard not to, Rob, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I think I actually do.
CRAVEN: It's like this, guys: our strategy planners have been putting together a raft of innovative strategies ...
GUY: Well, they are strategists. It's their job. And why are strategies always innovative? Can't some of them be tried and true ones?
CRAVEN: Why? Because then, strategists wouldn't have jobs. They would just be ordinary account people doing normal account work. Don't interrupt.
HE OPENS UP THE 'HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL' DOCUMENT, AND CONTINUES SPEAKING
One of their innovative strategies has been to develop a time-sharing initiative to fight the rise of online advertising and web-based brand growth that is eating into mainstream TV and other media advertising, making it too cost-inefficient for many clients.
CRAVEN: And so, they have developed the world of advertising's very first Shared Advertising System - called, logically, SAS. Effectively, we write a TV commercial for two clients at once.
THERE IS A STUNNED SILENCE BROKEN ONLY BY ... BY NOTHING. IT IS TOTAL SILENCE, THE KIND OF SILENCE THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES.
BUT THE SILENCE IS SMASHED BY JUNE, THE TEA LADY, WHO ENTERS THE ROOM IN HER USUAL FASHION BY CRASHING HER TROLLEY THROUGH THE SLIGHTLY AJAR DOOR. SHE STARTS PICKING UP CUPS LEFT BEHIND AFTER A PREVIOUS MEETING.
JUNE: I wish you people would pick up your cups. It's not my job.
GUY: They're not ours, June.
JUNE BUSTLES OUT, TEACUPS RATTLING.
CRAVEN (AFTER AN UNCHARACTERISTIC PAUSE): Did she say it's not her job?
ROB (WONDERINGLY): Yes, she did.
ANOTHER DEAD SILENCE THAT SAYS A LOT, BUT ON A DIFFERENT SUBJECT TO THE LAST ONE.
CRAVEN: But she is the tea lady, isn't she?
TO BE CONTINUED.