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Don't try to surf a wall of treacherous waves.


When I was 13, or therea- bouts, my family and I went on holiday to Brittany. I can't remember the name of the place, the cottage we stayed in, or the people we met, but I do remember the beaches. They were long, sandy affairs, often break- ing onto rocks at high tide or swelling into unswimmable oceans. Al- though fun, they were treacherous.

One particular beach had a nasty undertow and, along certain stretches, rip currents that would pull you seawards. I've never worked out whether it was a strong undertow or a rip current that we experienced one afternoon, but an orange flag had been raised, meaning you went into the sea at your own risk.

To give you an idea of the strength of the un- dertow/rip current, the outgoing sea had the ability to sweep away your legs, sucking you into the oncoming waves. However, because of the strength of the outgoing sea, those on- coming waves were effectively stopped in their tracks, leaving successive waves to pile up on top of each other. When the surge of water returning seaward eased sufficiently, that wall of waves would break and hurtle to- wards you at an alarming pace, flattening all in its path, including my father. We eventually saw him again, legs pointing skywards, gasping for air as he disappeared down the beach.

If you managed to get past the wall of waves you faced further difficulties. For example, if you misjudged a surf run and flew off the wall of waves, you'd be sucked right back in by the undertow and be- come stuck in a seaside spin cycle. The most disconcerting, however, was the illusion of tranquility. When the water was calm and apparently motion- less, a touch of your toe on the seabed would indicate that you were in fact moving at signifi- cant speeds along the beach.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this, but it's for the analogies that I men-tion this story. One is the wall of waves; the other is the illusion of tranquility.

There are a lot of pitch wins in this issue, and with an increase in pitches comes the return of undercutting. Not so long ago, undercutting was the bane of everyone's life, and yet it serves no purpose other than to undermine an agency's own well-being. Undercutting leads to loss-making accounts.And loss-making ac-counts build up like a wall of waves. Soon they break and bowl you over.

And then there's the illu- sion of tranquility. It's not mentioned in this magazine, but a recent Twitter hashtag called for a local newspaper to be banned simply because it had an opinion.The illusion of freedom hides undercur- rents of intolerance. And in- tolerance is not a good breed-ing ground for creativity. For anything in fact.

Loss-making accounts build up like a wall of waves. Soon they will break and bowl you over. Destroy you even

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Publication:Campaign Middle East
Article Type:Travel narrative
Date:Sep 16, 2012
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