In his maiden appearance at an advertising conference, RS Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, spoke about the changes he would like to see in the advertising industry, at the Goafest 2013 Advertising Conclave on 4 April.
He began by asking for stability in the core team at both the client and advertising ends and compared the relationship between the two to a Hindu marriage. “Amul has never divorced anybody (advertising agency). Throughout the brand’s journey we have only been involved with four agencies. The reason we parted ways with two were because they shut down”, said Sodhi.
He cited another important factor for the marriage to work: trust. He said, “Amul sees creatives only when consumers see it. Our agency has never taken approval before releasing our ads, nor have we asked for it. We’ve faced certain problems because of it, but we’ve faced these problems together.”
One such problem was the ad creating during the time Jagmohan Dalmiya controversy in 1999-2000. Dalmiya sued Amul for five crore rupees.
The agency responded to this ad by creating another ad, which said, “Daal mein sach mein kuch kaala hai”.
He also asked for consistency in strategising and execution. He spoke about how Amul’s identity, the Amul Girl, has remained the same since 1956, while remaining contemporary, fresh and relevant to society. He also spoke about the Taste of India campaign, which was first introduced in 1994 and has been running since then with different messages, with the core idea remaining the same.
Another point made by him, was that agencies should never underestimate or try to cheat the consumer. He said, “Consumers are smart and can easily see through gimmicks. The day a consumer sees that she’s receiving 950 ml of milk instead of the 1 litre promised, she’ll lose trust and in turn interest in the brand.”
He also spoke of how advertising should ‘look to sell the product and not the creator of the campaign’.
Sodhi called for advertising agencies to put themselves into the shoes of a consumer. “Genuine research for consumer insights must be put forward. There must be transparency and avoid doctored research”, said Sodhi.
He urged ad agencies to be custodians of ad budgets, and look at increasing clients’ business to increase this - given that it will otherwise remain a constant at 1 per cent of turnover.
He concluded his session with a recommendation: “I would want to do away with advertising awards (in their current form). They are evaluated by advertising agencies and are presented by the advertising fraternity. I would rather see them evaluated by clients.”