Shephali Bhatt
Jun 06, 2012

“Sir, I have a question”

Shephali Bhatt plays intermediary for young advertising aspirants on the sidelines of Portfolio Night 10; gets veteran adlanders to answer their queries

“Sir, I have a question”

Ninad Gahwankar, junior copywriter, Kaleido

Dear Aggie Sir
How does one make advertising sound and look less like advertising? 
Nobody wants to open their TV sets or their magazines to see ads. The later in the ad that it is revealed that it is an ad, the better it is for the product. Once that is revealed, the faster you reveal what product it is, the better it is. By the time the reader/viewer realises it is an ad, you should quickly get the brand name in his head. Because of the media clutter, it is all the more critical that you don’t right away signal at the start that you are offering an ad because even though he might not actually switch, he is mentally switched off. 

Agnello Dias, chairman and co-founder, Taproot India

Shalaka Haldankar

Dear Sonal Sir, 
Often we are told by our seniors or the client itself that our ideas are too intelligent for the Indian consumer. Does that mean that we aren’t supposed to think intelligent ideas? 
Of course you are supposed to come up with intelligent ideas. But I wouldn’t call them just intelligent ideas. The ideas should be relevant to the product and its target audience. Every time we are solving a problem, we are talking to a different audience. The target audience that reads The Economist will be different from the one that reads a Meri Saheli or a Grihashobha. The target audience varies on the basis of demography, in terms of the sheer background. Ideas have to be in sync with what would appeal to the target consumer. Having said that, it doesn’t mean our ideas have to dumb down everything. We have to make ads that make people think. Unless it makes them think, surprises them and engages them, it won’t work. There are times when you’ll hear your CDs and clients say that “it’s too intelligent for the consumer,” and they might be dead wrong. If somebody tells something like this to you again, you should ask them to prove it. 
Sonal Dabral, chairman, chief creative officer, DDB Mudra Group
Rahul Pai, Student, J J Institute of Applied Arts
Dear Balki Sir, 
To get into the film production space, which route should one take? Should it be via advertising or via a production house? Why?
It took me 20 years to realise that I had a film in me. If you know there’s a film in you already, don’t waste your time in advertising. Just go and join a production house. It will clearly help. You will get in touch with people from the industry. So when you write a script, it will have more chances of reaching the right people faster.
R Balki, chairman and chief creative officer, Lowe Lintas & Partners

Nehal Tiwari, Junior copywriter, Kaleido

Dear Joseph Sir, 
In terms of giving back to the society, have you found advertising to be a hollow profession? 
It depends on what’s your definition of giving back to the society. If somebody wants to upgrade to a better lifestyle, advertising actually allows you to make a right choice, to decide how you want to do that. There are many examples in which advertising has helped in changing people’s perspectives towards life. If you ask anybody on the street about their wish-list, you would find keywords like ‘better car’, ‘better house’, and ‘better stuff to give their children’. We are actually aiding in his decision-making process. Isn’t that some form of giving back to the society?

Joseph George, chief executive officer, Lowe Lintas & Partners

Priyank Bhadkamkar, Student, J J Institute of Applied Arts
Dear Rajiv Sir,
What works better for a creative director? Moving from one agency to another or staying put in one place for a long time? 
It all depends on where you are and what kind of opportunities you are getting. The question arises when you are not getting the right opportunities. One would want to move if he is not able to do what he wants to do in his current agency. That’s when you should think of moving on. But don’t just keep moving from agency to agency because everyone else seems to be doing that. You have to think about yourself. Decide whether what you are doing is the best you can do at your current place of work, whether that place is giving you the best of opportunities. There could be people who might think that nothing is happening in their current work profile but for all you know, they might just be lazy. I believe that if you are talented then you will shine irrespective of the agency you work with. Then if you want to take a bigger leap, please go ahead and move on. 

Rajiv Rao, national creative director, Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai

Vaibhav Paradkar, Visualiser, Tonic Media
Dear Chax Sir, 
What is your stance on ads that are inspired from award winning global work that end up winning awards and appreciation at the local/national level awards? 
As an industry we are often eager to trash good work. In my opinion, 70 per cent of these plagiarism allegations might be true. But 30 per cent of them are genuine coincidences. As an industry, it is pathetic that we always prefer to jump to the wrong conclusion. Indians are the most net savvy people in the world. Everybody knows that if an idea has been done earlier and it has won, you’ll be caught if you copy it. At least 30 per cent of the people will be intelligent enough to know that; which means that it could be an honest mistake. The tragedy is that I have never met anybody who is willing to acknowledge that it was a coincidence. I don’t think it’s an issue for people making such ads. It’s an industry problem. We are warped. We insist on trashing. 

K S Chakravarthy, national creative director, Draftfcb Ulka

Nikita Virdi
Dear Sagar Sir,
What should I not forget while approaching my job as a copywriter? Should I make it an aggressive copy or a balance between art and copy? 
It depends on what brief you are working on and that brief allows you to make that decision. It could be a visual idea, it could be a TVC, and it could be a long copy ad or even an activation idea. Don’t get stuck into the writing v/s art direction area. Think of a big idea and whichever media you choose for your campaign, try and do justice to that. While writing, be yourself. Don’t try to copy anybody else’s style. 

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, national creative director, Bates India


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