Carlton D'Silva
Jun 15, 2011

Carlton's Blog: Loading Digital Craft ...

The answer to the eternal question- why digital craft suffers in India?

Carlton's Blog: Loading Digital Craft ...

If there is one topic of discussion I am constantly engaged in when I meet up with my peers it’s the lack of craft in Indian Digital Advertising. Though we eventually unanimously come to a conclusion of the reasons behind the same, the advertising fraternity at large are either ignorant of the problem or they really don’t care.

We know that there are brilliant designers in the digital space in India (I have had the privilege to work with some of them) and we know that there are some fantastic ideas too. So what is the problem?

Quite simply, it’s the cost and time dedicated to a digital campaign.

In a time when India has about 50% of the targeted base digitally connected, brands still set aside about 7% (if not less) of the advertising spends for the space.

Time is another factor that is detrimental to good craft. Somehow most brand custodians believe that the digital medium is the fastest to execute. Well, it is if you want to just put your TVC online. How often have those in the digital space come across this scenario - You need get the assets from the Agency ... they will take 10 days to deliver but I need the site up in 3 days!!!!!

I recently attended a digital awards ceremony where a lot of respectable creative geniuses from traditional agencies were invited. They were asked to say a few words on the digital medium. Almost all of them had something to say about the craft quality in the country on the digital domain. But, here is what they can do to help this area improve - reserve more than 3 slides for the medium in their pitch presentation.

Whilst I too believe that digital craft in India today is not at par with the rest of the world, I also believe that if time and money dedicated to the medium were the same as the rest of the world, I would not be writing this article.

Let me illustrate this with an example - Samsung wanted to promote the capabilities of its new camera, the Samsung NX100, in an innovative manner and the agency, Cheil Worldwide, took a rather unconventional route. Their premise was all about collaboration and co-creation of great ideas. They decided to tie-up with the popular indie-rock band OK GO to popularize the same with a video created with the help of the product itself. But how do you do a video to showcase the photo capabilities.

Create the video in stop-motion!

To make this promotion possible the team flew to the US to ideate with the band and to consult with the guys at MIT to get the technology ready for the project (laser printing, etc). The whole project took about 5 months to create (from brief to site launch). What turned out was the world’s first stop-motion video done completely on toast, 15 toasts per second to be precise (2430 toast pieces were used in total for the film). They even managed to plug a social connect into the website by enabling visitors to toast their profile pic and allowing them to tag themselves on concert pictures uploaded by the band at the various concerts taken by their Samsung NX100. The craft, as you will experience, is exceptional and most importantly something you would like to share with your friends (more than a million views and PR articles released). Made possible with a healthy budget and a good timeframe.


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Music video:

Having said that, Indian Digital Agencies do some great work too, but these projects, most of the time, are for clients outside the country . There have been instances where we have been able to see some good craft in the digital space in India too, however the 2D animated route is taken as it is substantially much cheaper than other slicker execution techniques like video. In both cases, cost plays a big role.

Video consumption is on the increase in India and as per the statistics that one can find on YouTube, Indians are more viewers than contributors. This also means that the infrastructure has improved enough for video viewing (or we are just patient people). Hence, brands need to cater to this need for video consumption and graduate to the same soon and stay with the times.

Good craft in any medium requires time and money to invest in the technique. Unfortunately, the Digital medium in India does not receive any of the above. Let’s hope that changes in the near future. 

Carlton D’Silva is the Creative Director at Hungama Digital Media and has spent over 15 years in the digital space. He takes insult when you call the digital medium new media…15 years should be old enough! Find him on twitter @TheWordOfGawd

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