Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The one that makes it worthwhile

The Reason why I got into advertising in the first place is because I was inspired. It wasn’t the money (not that there is great amount of that anyway), It wasn’t the fame; It wasn’t a deep rooted love of marketing. I was exposed to a burst of great advertising and just fell in love with it.

I wanted to make ads like those the Johnnie Walker android commercial or the Harley Davidson live by it ad or even the BMW 5 series rocket car commercial.  They produced that moment of shock and awe, when you just wanted to hit rewind and watch it again.

Every time that I sit down to write an ad I try to create an idea that would evoke the same reaction that I experienced when I saw those great ads, It had to be the utmost superlative reaction  that would do and nothing else. I soon found out that it was quite difficult to induce shock and awe while trying to sell sanitary ware and even harder to do so with a client with a conventional approach to say the least.

All was lost. I began to look at every brief in a more cynical manner. No longer did I see how great an idea could be, I shrunk my canvas to the confines of the product. The work I chalked out reflect my cynicism. Then I stumbled upon the Widerow airline commercial . I was speechless  I kept looping the video just to grasp how simple and beautiful it was. An airline commercial that captured the magical essence of flight. It didn’t talk about cabin space, duration, in flight movies or exotic destinations.
It s an old man and his grandson in a field in the middle of Norway.  This is what I assume the leading lines of the creative team would have been while pitching this idea and in essence that is what it is a simple dialog between two people. The thing that makes this ad special is the way the scenario is played out. We are introduced to it smack dab in the middle, wondering what exactly is going on and then the final eight seconds of the ad just make you eyes go wide.

The reason why I am sharing this ad and talking about this is because in a way it changed my perspective about how to approach an ad. It’s now completely about big budgets and hours of production. At the end of the day I m in the business of making people connect with a product. And it made me realize that to do that I need to see the ad as a living breathing organism, something with a heart and soul. Then and only then it can truly connect with people.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tryst with (ad)estiny

My absence from this blog is proof that I had something better to do, now nursing a horrible hangover I can finally put things in perspective, when I started writing this blog I was a blue eyed optimist whose ideas of advertising was a rosy picture of six people in a smoke filled room belting out ideas that would make a clio committee rub onions in their eyes because their tear glands could not cope with shedding enough tears to justify the beautiful advertisement that they had just witnessed. But a year and a half does change the way you look at things especially when you are in an environment that is filled with people with different outlooks opinions and outlets for creativity.

Doing my masters in communication opened my eyes to an array of opinions of advertising. From the ones who considered it the work of the devil to those who appreciated it as art and that advertising lecturer who just kept stressing that there are not enough magi and amul advertisements on the air, I even had a scholarly encounter with advertising while spending a semester on my thesis which was about children’s advertising but the one thing that really gave me a wake up call was my baptism in advertising courtesy of origami creative concepts, an agency that was started by four friends straight out of college. What sounded like the perfect place for me and my two friends to get our feet wet in the industry turned out to be a wake up call. THE CLIENT OWNS YOUR ASS is the motto of advertising agencies. Brilliant ideas were just thrown into the bin because the client was just too afraid to try something different.

People who wish to have an advertisement made for their business need to understand that. They are buying a piece of a news paper or time on the air to make sure that the people who are glancing over it stop and pay attention to it. When Volkswagen wanted the beetle sales to improve in America post world war II they made the famous lemon advertisement that shocked the advertising world but changed the publics opinion about the car. Now you wouldn’t see TATA taking out a full page ad for the nano with the headline “fire hazard”. Creative advertising is not just bold advertising it is that droll copy lines packaged in a clever way, its using visuals that make people stare at it wondering what the hell are you trying to say. I would like to believe that the M T.V generation is a bit more lateral than the sun T.V generation. But the advertisement that is being designed for this generation doesn’t reflect a gap.

This article is a plea to advertisers rise up and convince your precious client that the idea you scribbled on a bar napkin at 12:00 A.M is better than the one that he wants a focus group to construct. While watching Mad men I came across a quote by don draper which should be the way advertisers look at clients "You are the product. You feeling something. That's what sells. Not them. Not sex. They can't do what we do and they hate us for it.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Darwin vs Kotler: The better marketing guru

As a marketing student the first thing that s fed into your head is the 4p's, Philip Kotlers breakthrough principle of marketing.After he published this theory in his book "Marketing management" in 1967, He was hailed as a marketing guru and his book is used a a standard reference for marketing graduates till date.Well all of this is quite a few feathers in Mr Kotlers cap, But in my eyes he s not much of a marketer. To begin with until i started research for this post i had no idea what he looked like, now how good a marketer could he be if he is nt recognizable, well lets ignore that quip and focus more on core marketing, the 4 P's,lets look at Google one of the worlds most successful companies till date,they don t really sell a product in fact its a service that facilitates giving you information that s not published by Google. The second P, Price Google offers its services to its customers for free,At this point Mr Kotler must be pulling whatever hair he has left.Now place,Google has no physical presence and exists online hence the place is the world wide web which if you think of it does nt really fit the bill to what Kotler intended. Finally Promotion, Google rarely advertises in any media and it has established its popularity by its sheer efficiency of service and not by advertising.well so much for the 4 P's.in today's business environment management and marketing principles need to be flexible as organizations have begun to function in dynamic ways.Now Charles Darwin got it right.Way back in 1831 when he was traveling across south America he formulated the theory of natural selection, Which stated that living beings made decisions based of viability and compatibility. This seems as a more appropriate principle for marketing as it can be universally applied as these two criteria focuses on the consumer and how he relates to the product which is overlooked by most marketing gurus,In modern marketing principles the pre determined mindset of the consumer is overlooked which Leeds to marketing strategies biting the dust, The irony of the whole situation is that a naturalist discovered the key to good marketing over a century before today's top marketing guru.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Did JWT invent the grilled cheese sandwich ?

Tall claim made by an Ad agency but its not far fetched, J. Walter Thompson has been handling Kraft food s account since the 1940 s and they realized the potential of emerging media in 1947, They were one of the first to harness the power of television, Kraft in collaboration with JWT launched the Kraft television theater which was an hour long program, this allowed easy product placement for Kraft and the end result was beyond Kraft's expectations as their product s kept flying off the shelves. JWT during the 60s decided to use "end dish" marketing which in essence promotes the dish the product ends up in.During that period JWT pioneered this form of marketing and Kraft became synonymous with the grilled cheese sandwich. their more recent "have a happy sandwich"campaign They continue to establish a bond with the customer expanding the horizon of the product and giving it a wider platform in popular culture by linking it with something of culinary significance.Even though JWT may not have invented the grilled cheese sandwich, But they have succeeded in making a brand synonymous with the dish which is something any advertiser strives to achieve.

Monday, October 19, 2009

blurring subliminal lines

Subliminal advertising has always been something close to my heart,Its proof that Darwin's theory of evolution exists even in the world of advertising,The FDA and broadcasting ministry may not want products like alcohol and tobacco advertised in mass media but this has driven ad agencies and producers of these products A.K.A merchants of death, to evolve and find a loop hole in the system to show bottles of vodka on billboards and boy oh boy have they done it.If you deconstruct a Jack Daniels ad or a fosters ad, in essence they have to advertise a product by saying "look i can t show you what it is or tell you what it is, but just buy it anyway" and the beauty of it all is ... it actually works i saw the new absolut campaign which bravely sports the tag line absolut subliminal, these are the lengths that agencies are willing to go to push their product. and the creativity in these ads really comes on to its own as the makers of these ad s have to work within strong constraints, but there is a flip side, a slap across the face of subliminal advertising which can be seen in kingfisher s new campaign which boldly displays a can of drought beer but the advertiser s can get away with it since it does nt mention the product is alcoholic or neither shows the beer.
This is an ad made by a lawyer and not by a creative director.the end result is mass appeal but at the cost of creativity, Constraints are brought about so ad makers can push the envelope and go beyond slapping their product on the centerfold of a magazine.so the next time you look up at a bill board and don t see a pint but still fancy a drink, know that some one somewhere did a damn good job.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The creative catastrophe

Creativity is often construed as a gift for those who hold their head high end attend tea parties wearing expensive tuxedos and speaking with an accent that begs an enema, but this not true these are the people that want to ape the creative bunch,creativity is a calling, its a state of mind, which is brought about by the will to be different. i m sure Beethoven thought he could do a better job than Mozart when he started composing his first symphony, creativity draws inspiration from something and then strives to make it better,and this is proof in advertising when i look at an ad i draw inspiration from it and constantly use that as a base to make it better.but creativity has taken a nosedive with advertising agencies rolling out identical insurance ad s where kotak mahendra looks the same as met life,creative ad s have become hard to find, with more advertisers moving to the rule of thumb "if all else fails put a puppy or M.S Dhoni in it.its a sorry state of affairs but lets hope and pray that some creative director somewhere is watching a fevicol ad and going hmmm i can make this better.