Monday, May 30, 2005

little things

One of the things I do for clients in my primary business is the conceptualization, execution and implementation of sales promotions for their products. by law, all of these promos need to be approved by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and that is usually the most time-consuming and frustrating step.

Time-consuming because the sheer number of ad agencies wanting materials approved overwhelms the understaffed DTI office. If you decide to just go there, you will never get served, as the line is absurdly long. Whenever I need to go to the DTI for approval, I make sure - like today - that I'm there by 6:30AM. That's the only way to get one of the first few priority numbers. When the office opens at 8AM, I'm first in line. Today I spent my waiting time playing Bejewelled on my Xda II, trying not to fall asleep. Then I got hungry and grabbed some sausages, eggs, coffee and orange juice at one of the nearby restos, eating quickly while keeping a bleary eye on the time.

It's frustrating because you will never get things approved in one visit. The DTI will insist on some corrections to your copy, promo mechanics, duration, artwork or some other detail that will entail you having to redo all your documents and come back the next day, and perhaps even the day after that. To a certain degree, we agency folk know what they want, but no one has precise knowledge of the little things.

The DTI is important, of course. If they do not do their job by making sure early on that these promos are fair to the consumer, then they will be deluged by complaints from the same consumers down the line. And the people at the DTI are actually very kind and helpful - just not very efficient in terms of time. I just wish there was a better system to getting this part of the process down. It's my least favorite part.

Except when they challenge me by saying something like "This is not a promo. There is no benefit to the consumer." That kind of thing wakes me up, gets my blood pumping, and my brain kicks into gear. I flash a smile and proceed to defend my poor beleaguered promo. One of the best things about owning your own business is being able to make command decisions then and there, so I can be flexible if I need to be.

But still, I'd really rather not wake up at the crack of dawn just to line up. But in my business, little things like that are part of the package so I'll just have to stumble through the rest of the day.


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