’Hi, this is (insert the name of anyone in an advertising agency).

’Hi, this is (insert the name of anyone in an advertising


It’s Tuesday and I’m in the office all day but I can’t answer your call

at the moment. Please waste 30 seconds of your time leaving a message

that I will not only ignore today, but will ignore forever.’

This is the standard answering-machine message all ad agencies should

have on their phones because every time you leave a message on

Voicemail, it seems no-one bothers to call you back.

Unless, of course, you have something an ad person desperately wants

(lunch at the Ivy, or credits to be included in an awards annual or,

maybe, a job at a new agency that offers to double his or her salary


When that call comes in, they seem to remember how to use their hands to

operate that thing on their desk called a telephone.

Even the trend towards stating a person’s movements for the day on his

or her outgoing message is a waste of time. You often find yourself

listening to a message that is three, four and, sometimes, five days


It’s highly ironic that the condition of chronic phonaphobia seems to be

rife among people working in what is known as the communications


I mean, I was always under the impression that communication was the

exchange of words and ideas between two or more people, not one person

talking to himself on an answering service. Hasn’t it always been said

that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness? Well, I’ve found

that when people don’t return your calls it sends you insane pretty


So why don’t we all save our sanity and learn to return people’s phone

calls, whether it’s a message on your voicemail or a Post-It note on

your desk (oh no, don’t start me on Post-It notes ...).

I’m sure we’d get along better for some improved communication.

And I know I’m a wanker for even thinking of saying this, but maybe good

old Bob Hoskins was right: it’s good to talk!


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