Friday, October 10, 2008

Advertising Workshop

Advertisements are all around us, in the print media, television and now on the internet. We have always been fascinated by great Ads, which are compelling enough not just to sell a product, but a concept, a dream.

So when Mr. Ramesh Kumar, VP Strategic Planning, O&M came calling to share his views on good Ad-making, the student community was all ears. Addressing a packed house, Mr. Kumar laid out certain maxims which Ad-makers should keep in mind to be more effective. Much of what he said can be laid out in terms of the following truisms:

a) The consumer is not a moron – The customer is getting savvier by the day, with better product knowledge than before. In such times, it’s necessary that advertisements do not seem too artificial and forceful. It’s better to strike an emotional chord with the consumer. The Asian Paints campaign with its ‘har ghar kuchh kehta hai’ tagline is a good example.

b) Create great work that works - Effectiveness is the hallmark of a great Ad. And to ensure that one needs to take care of the communication medium, the target audience, the message sent across and also its entertainment quotient.

c) Less is more. In simplicity resides genius - The iconic Hutch Ad with the pug following the kid is a good example of how a simple message (Good network coverage) is conveyed even more simply. And that is what made the Ad so convincing and appealing.

d) Converse, don’t communicate – In today’s times when we are bombarded by promotional messages from all sides, an effective strategy would be to involve the customer in a dialogue. Dove did this very successfully through their campaign to celebrate ‘true beauty’ in which they engaged the buyer through photo-exhibitions and even a real-time voting system.

e) Status Quo is death – Always try to question status quo and encourage the consumer to ‘go beyond’. Allen Solly tried promoting their casual wear in 1995 through a series of hard-hitting Ads to great effect.

To emphasize what had been said, an Ad-making contest was held to give students a chance to come up with interesting Ads of their own which would be judged by Ramesh himself. Three topics were floated, and teams could choose one amongst them to prepare their pitch.

a) How do you sell a penthouse worth 25 crores?

b) Sell cattle insurance to farmers to insure their cows and buffaloes

c) Convince authorities to keep Bangalore open after 11.30

The teams, up to 14 members each came up with some great stuff which was duly appreciated, both by the audience and Ramesh. And the worthy winner was the team selling cattle insurance. They proposed a combination of radio and print medium to convey the importance of insurance safety, with a healthy dose of humor. The campaign not only chose the apt message, but engaged the audience too – something which good Ad-making is all about.

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