Citibank TVC: “You. Powered by Citi.”

Picture this.

It’s 8.00 am on a cold Friday morning in Ireland about a week before Christmas. I’m happily snoring away,  enjoying one final lie-in before I have to fly back to Singapore the following day.

The phone rings. It’s my traffic manager.

“Sorry to disturb you but when will you be back in Singapore?”

“Sunday,” I reply, trying to sound more awake than I really am.

“Eh, you can’t come back any sooner?”

“Um, no. Do you know how far away Ireland is from Singapore? My return flight’s not until tomorrow.”

Heng.* Never mind. We’ll figure something else out.”

Less than 10 minutes later I get a text message from my art director partner.: “I’m really sorry to disturb you but…”

And that’s how I began working on Citibank Singapore’s first TV commercial in 7 years.

I spent the rest of the day trying to find an internet cafe (my dear mother has many wonderful qualities but being connected to the world wide web is not one of them) and then brainstorm via email with my partner. As you can imagine, my (far) better half was not particularly thrilled with this rude interruption to our last day in Ireland.

I managed to knock out 4 scripts on the flight back to Singapore which arrived about 4pm on Sunday. I went home, showered and was in the office by 5 pm. By 1.00 am Monday, the storyboards were ready and we actually had a script (sort of) approved by 11 am.

Oh well. At least I didn’t have time to suffer from jet lag.

* “Heng” is a Hokkien phrase meaning ‘fortunate’ – as in I was fortunate to be far enough away that I couldn’t be dragged into whatever drama was happening back in the office. Of course in the end I wasn’t really that fortunate.