Take My Pulse

Entry by: SquintyMcGee

3rd September 2015
Some things are not sexy. Death – not sexy. Medical insurance – not sexy. Troublesome explosive bowel movements – not sexy. Most of this is easily agreed on outside of various low-traffic corners of the internet. I’d happily agree just how unsexy each of these things are - only that’s not my job.
My job is to overcome your reaction to these things. Your aversion. Your repulsion. Your indifference. To contradict what you know. To take that initial facial grimace and twist it into slack-mouthed fascination. It’s a different way of seeing things. Blinkers to the truth, because “Everything is sexy”. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the marvellous world of advertising. Only sex sells.
Do you know something else that isn’t sexy?

Since qualifying I’ve scored my first brief, courtesy of the International Legume Society. The package they’ve put together is titled “Take my pulse” and gives me a mandate to raise the profile and consumption of pulses across Britain. There’s a commercial and agricultural industry eager to grow, and government health initiatives backing them. I’ve got to make my preliminary presentation to them in about an hour. I should know that it’s fine already, because I spent my last week putting every waking hour into it. Research, storyboards, concepts and fact-checks. Vid-reels and sales-spiels. Heart and soul. After this much investment, one last check is irresistible. You have to see your work in action; one last press of play on the laptop.
The advert begins with a single pulse; the second half of a heartbeat. “Dum” throbs once while you stare at a black screen. Then “d-dum”, “d-dum”, getting louder, quicker; shorter gaps between beats mimicking a raise in heart-rate.
Then visuals come in as single white words, spoken in rhythym to the soundtrack. One word for each heartbeat, vocals coming in alongside them…
The drums and bass drop in after, FX squealing in the background. Images flash onscreen now; legumes made exciting.
A rapper narrates the images, appearing in tandem with his words.

“Kid -(uh)- ney; have you bean kidding me?
Where you bean all my life? Get it into me…

Pin-to. ‘s What I’m in-to.
Butterbean on the scene – Get it in me.

Lentils. Going Mentals.
And m’ chick she’s with me – Chickpea.”

Then the music stops for a slowed explosion to go off. “Buh – koooosh”
And another voice poses “Oi-Oiiiiii?” (Question?)
“Puy- Puyyyyy!” (Response)

The advert finishes with the campaign slogan “What you bean missin’?” across the screen and the work is done. Which only leaves them to respond to it…

“Well Jason, that’s quite something you’ve put together for us there.” Suit one says.
“Thanks” I give back, cautious in response.
“Did you get the initial brief?”
“Take my pulse, yeah.”
“But you used ‘check’ my pulse in the video?” emphasis on the word.
“Yeah,” I say slightly stumbling, “it’s more urban-street isn’t it? ‘Check it’” Adding my own emphasis to the words. I’ve inadvertently made pistols with both hands in accompaniment, as though aiming to shoot my groin off. “Check it ouuut” I add.
“The brief was ‘take my pulse’ though wasn’t it?”
“Errm, yeah. Do you not think it’s suitable?”
Suit two weighs in. “Sorry Jason, we thought it was clear to everyone. We used ‘take’ quite intentionally.”
“You did?”
“Yeah, and the pulse.”
“Oh, okay.” I wasn’t sure what else to say. Large silence filled the small room. I swallowed. Hoped the floor would do the same for me.
“We shouldn’t have done this for your first brief, I hope you’ll forgive us.”
“For what?”
“Taking the pea.”
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