Warning: This piece may read like a diatribe and on some levels, it certainly is. So read with caution and enjoy yourself if you can in the comfort that somebody out there agrees with you or prepare thy words if you disagree. Because, I mean to have some.

After having spent four short years as a strategist in media and advertising in the Middle East, I have come to the one major conclusion:

Most brands in the region really just want to hook up with their consumers, not marry them.

And that extends from a lengthy argument that all started from the oft repeated word in the industry – tactical. In all honesty, we’re all just playing a game of tactics. Or rather experiments. Or shots in the dark. Or some other similar term that would express the apparent need for affection.

Most brands on social, behave like introverts at a bar. They observe from a distance. They’ll watch and see how others are faring. And with subsequent visits back to the bar, they’ll work on little fixes to themselves that should hopefully help them score. They’ll fix their hair, get a nice watch, put on their fancy chinos, top it all off with a jacket, throw in a pocket square and then walk in and try to mingle in hoping to grab attention. Because, in their heads they believe that once they have it, they’ll do just fine.

However, its not that simple. And then, they’ll just pick the attractive ones. The ones that they think (and probably know) they should never have are the ones they’ll go right after, ignoring the multitudes of smarter and equally stimulating conversations and trajectories in the process.

And sometimes, just sometimes, they get really lucky in their endeavor. And the morning after, both their apparent victory and themselves, dust each other off and walk away never to exchange words with each other. This man will try to reconnect multiple times again keeping his distance or get too close but the deal was done and the case was long closed. And either side would want to recount the horrors of how wrong it went. Or right. The conclusion: it ends right there.

Think about it for a moment and its exactly as dirty as it sounds.

And that is exactly why I abhor ‘tactical’ initiatives by brands. For it seems like nothing but a one-night-stand. There is no continuance. It’s meant to retrieve some benefit from either end on the receipt of which, the either side never talks to each other again and we both go on our merry ways. Think about it for a moment and its exactly as dirty as it sounds.

Where is the wooing, the charming, the conversation and the stroll down the waterfront? It seems strange that with all the smattering of romantic cinema, the plethora of mind-numbing rom-coms on TV and the spew-inducing trashy weekly mags toting on what men want, somehow, just somehow, the basic need for attention and affection that the world thrusts into our box-offices on our precious paper every day has somehow not yet been put into play between brands and their consumers.

Why are so few of them out here trying to build something that lasts the test of time? If you present the theory that we’re an expat driven market and we’re all just hovering around a four year retention period then that’s no excuse to not building something longer.

*deep breath*

*voice – Mayank, its the world of business. We make our money off the fact that people buy our products and its a cut-throat world where we need to do just that – make money.*

I get that. I get that wholeheartedly. But if you’re going to stand there and get too racy on me and change your persona to something you’re not just so you can have me for the night and forget me in the morning, then I would ask you to f*** off.

Hell, I’m not that kind of a person.

So seriously, dear brands. Take one hard look at yourself and see who you really are. Are you really the douche you’re pretending to be or deep within you lies an ethos and a product truth that is more crucial to the people that shop for you. Think about that before you step out into the social space. And then use that, and not the same staid platforms that every other competitor of yours uses to get down with your consumer.

If they remember to have breakfast with you in the morning, that’s when you would have won.