Feature | Today's advertising isn't about building brands, it's about building Ad campaigns; Adgully finds the truth quotient!

Over the years, companies have evolved in their products and services and so has the way these products and service are advertised. Advertising veteran Alyque Padamsee once said, "Today advertising isn't about building brands, it's about building Ad campaigns". To a large extent it is true, that today brands are recognised by their Ad campaigns and thus at times, it becomes challenging for agencies to come up with all new creative and different campaigns every time. Brand is like a promise which builds an expectation by advertising and the products or services performances.

Alyque Padamsee mentioned in a book 'adkatha' written by Anand Halve and Anita Sarkar, that what happened to brands like Liril and MRF, Hamara Bajaj and Lalitaji? According to him, at times, in a rush of getting their work noticed, ad people simply go from one ad to the next, focusing on that ad not the brand. There are around 10,000 brands being advertised and not even 100 of them have a real strength or proper Image. If you look back and recollect brand campaigns like Nirma, Amul etc are still remembered because of their appealing campaigns. And it is a matter of fact 'A' in advertising stands for 'Appeal'.

We at Adgully, took it as a task to brain storm the 'creative heads' of the ad world and know what they have to say on the point in question.

Sonal Dabhral, Managing Partner, India and Head of Creative for Asia, Bates, said, "'What' is conveyed in an advertisement today has been empowered with 'How' it has been conveyed. Medium has become the message as brands are personalising their communication according to the audiences, therefore promoting themselves in line with the psychology of their consumers."

"Having said that," he added, "it is also important to reckon that 'Integrated' is the it word these days, with most of the brands leveraging their message across all mediums, be it new media, outdoor or television. Moreover, these are intertwined at some level to bring across the holistic appeal of the brand."

Adding further,he said, "Secondly, with the upsurge in digital medium, interactivity has also added to the consumer experience at the level of advertising itself. The level of engagement has increased between the audiences and the offerings, adding to the necessary zing. Unlike the past Advertising now is all about engagement.

Santosh Padhi, Chief Creative officer & Co-Founder, Taproot India, said, ""I think things have changed in past 5/6 years drastically , the way brands use to approach the market is very different than the way brands are being marketed today, it far more competitive and aggressive now, like in olden days a campaign use o run for at least 4/6 weeks to arrive to the decision if its doing well for the brand or no, today they decide in 4/6 days, we are living in a very fast moving world, consumers have a very short span of time for this medium as they have plenty of other things to do in life."Further explaining his point, he said, "whatever is happening to brands are because of our behaviour have changed in last few years, like 12/15 years back most of them would spend good amount of time with family/at home, that has been reduced now by half, and whenever we are at home either we are on phone or laptop, people are multitasking these days, so are the brands in form of ads, i would say in olden days test matches use to drive 60/80 thousand crowd in a ground like eden gardens today things have change the same number comes for 20/20 as that's the life style they lead and that's what they like, the market have demands brands to be like T20 format and brands as being build through this format versus the test match way which was 15 years back"

Jagdish Acharya, Founder and creative head, Cut the Crap, shared his thoughts on the subject, saying, "The biggest change in advertising has been in its sensibilities. The questions you need to ask remain the same (what's the consumer benefit) but they demand to be answered a whole lot differently. neither do-good nor feel-good are good enough. Ad campaigns are getting polarised at two ends : imagination and insight. Also, advertising is becoming the only feature of a product that has the power to stay differentiated. In the past sales would go up when the campaign is on and drop when it is off. Simply today it soars with one campaign and dips with another.

In other words what was always said of creative people can be said of brands today : you are as good as your last campaign."

Subhash Kamath, Managing Partner, BBH India holds a different stand. He says, "I'm not quite sure in what context Alyque has said what he's said. But to me, it'll always be about building brands. Sure, the way we communicate may be changing. There's a lot more emphasis on creating 'conversations' and engagement with consumers today, and not just one-sided communication. But it's still brand building that we we're here for. Ultimately what you still need is a big Brand Idea that is relevant and motivating. That certainly hasn't changed and it never will."

Anindya Banerjee as ECD, Scarecrow, compared the two scenarios of advertising then and now. He said, "Earlier, Advertising was a monologue. The brand delivered its message, and got out. Thanks to its design, the brand manager and the agency were in complete control of the campaign. He would pour in enormous sums of money and prayed the campaign would work. Sometimes, there would be a pre-campaign and a post-campaign research to judge reactions. In short, a pretty clinical process for a discipline that's so intuitive. Whereas now, the world has turned more social, more and more people are talking to each other through various media. And unless, a brand can become a part of this conversation, it has no hope.

"I was fortunate enough to be a part of one such campaign - Me and Meri Maggi in 2009-2010. I soon realised that it was like being the creative director of hundreds and thousands of consumers. It was a conversation in which the consumer was an equal participant. And increasingly flexing his/her muscles to control it as well. Expectedly, they were delighted to be a part of the process."

Adding further Banerjee said, "Fast forward to 2011 and you have the un-hate campaign. Not only the brand has a POV, it even invites its consumer to express their POV. Expectedly, world leaders were slamming the campaign while the consumers were merrily "viralling' it away and uploading their pictures on the kiss-wall."

"The result? Advertising has becoming more real, more contagious and more measurable," he added.

So all-in-all, it still is very interesting to solve the curious case of building a brand and communicate it through the best and most creative and innovative ad campaigns. | By Aanchal Kohli [aanchal(at)adgully.com]

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