Anant Rangaswami
Nov 09, 2010

Anant’s blog: Lessons from Obama’s trip

And why 24X7 does not demand instant authority

Anant’s blog: Lessons from Obama’s trip

We’ve seen advertising change dramatically thanks to the use of technology. Three decades ago, a simple print ad could take as much as a week to turn around.

There were many components to a simple print ad:

a) Decoding the brief

b) Debating various solutions that addressed the brief, within the agency

c) Discussing the shortlisted solutions with the client

d) Reworking on the briefs based on the discussions with the client

e) Arriving at a final solution

f) Presenting rough layouts and copy to the client

g) Agreement on the layout and copy

h) Putting the ad to art (including ordering types, cutting and pasting elements, shooting, etc). 

Today, all the elements except the last one remain, yet, as all of us know, clients believe that technology would, miraculously, allow agencies to present finished work in less than a day. 

And, in most instances when solutions are presented in less than a day, the client rejects the work, the agency goes back to the drawing board, more time is allotted, a better solution is found. The time available is miraculously extended, and a great solution is found. 

Ah, if only the client had given you more time right at the outset. In all likelihood, the ‘great’ solution would have taken less time than it finally took. 

The simple truth is, the time taken to think, to brainstorm, to debate, remains the same, technology or no technology. 

The same is true for news television.
Technology allows you the power to broadcast and report live; something unthinkable a few decades ago.
It has not, however, made your brain process faster or better. It has not allowed you to crunch the thinking time, the analysis time. 

Yet, for some reasons, all of our English news media (I didn’t watch the other news media), decided, for reasons best known to them, that they could corral a few ‘experts’ into the studio and analyse and interpret each sentence that Obama uttered before he could complete the next. 

So they all did, on Saturday and Sunday, and the consensus seemed to be that Obama was a moron and that India was a sucker and the whole visit was a waste of time. 

By the time Obama finished his address in Parliament (no channel dared to interrupt the live broadcast for interpretations and analyses), Obama was a best-friend-for-life. He was India’s friend, even if he wasn’t quite Pakistan’s enemy. No one mentioned H1 visas on the post-Parliament address; it was about the strategic relationships. Those who differed and dared to differ, like Lord Megnad Desai, were laughed out of the studios. 

Perhaps, if the news channels had waited till the last word was spoken, we would have had a more pleasant and less unhappy Saturday and Sunday, and a far happier Monday evening as well. 

The audio and video were live; there was no need for the analysis for this to be so as well. 

The thinking time doesn’t shrink. Whatever the technology at your disposal. Chew on that…

Campaign India