Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Good News - Mass Media Advertising Still Works!

I know there are a lot of people who go around sounding the death knell for mass media advertising. Digital is in, they say. Few among them are likely to have done a digital campaign on their own. Their opinion is often skimmed off reports compiled by others who just quote some others. It works for them because they get invited for seminars where they can continue the masquerade. If you see another digital media expert munching a microphone, I have a simple tip for you. Visit the website of his firm. Most often there isn’t one. Or if there is a URL, it is likely to be under construction. And in the rare event there is a website, it’s likely to be a web version of a brochure. What’s my point? There is a Digital revolution happening out there. A few pioneers are creating the trends. But the larger crowd of trend-watchers is killing it by prematurely exaggerating its prowess. The fact is, in a country like India, it’s just too early to expect too much from digital.

Meanwhile mass media advertising is still the most effective way ramp up the recall and reputation of a brand.

Else, why would one of the world’s largest brands, a digital one, spend tens of crores in mass media, on re-launching itself in India? Yes, I am referring to Yahoo! While the jury is still out on whether the campaign is working for Yahoo! I would have liked it if there was a more tangible product difference stitched into the effort.

Which is what Tata Docomo has done.

A few months ago nobody knew them. Today they are literally on the nation’s lips. With a real innovation called One Second Billing, and a creative idea that builds on this, they have achieved national fame in no time. This is mass media advertising at its best.

Of course, a great creative idea can also make an old product difference look new.

Quick replacement of lost credit cards is not necessarily a breakthrough claim for a bank. But ING Vysya’s new commercial makes it look like they just invented it. A man runs after a pickpocket who has just stolen his wallet. Not able to keep up the chase, he gives up, only to see a postman beside him with a replacement card. That’s ING Vysya’s speed of response! There are two other executions — one... for quick delivery of cheque books and another for quick transfer of funds. All of them make ING Vysya look like they are the most happening bank today even though every other bank probably offers the same service. Bravo! The screenplay, the casting, the editing, and the sound design are top notch. Ram, a young director at Nirvana Films in Bangalore, has directed the films. Now, Nirvana is one production house (run by Prakash Verma and Sneha Iype) that never ceases to amaze me.

From this wellspring of passion we have seen campaigns that have consistently caught the nation’s fancy. The Hutch “Pug” film is legendary. The Zoozoos are more popular than most celebrities in ads. Their newest film for Saint Juice took my breath away. Never have I seen this level of attention to detail in an Indian commercial. Scripted by Creativeland Asia, the film marks a refreshing change from the usual mom-kid routine. World-class time lapse cinematography and animation by The Mill in London makes this film a joy to watch each time. Music by Rupert (who did the Hutch song) is a masterpiece in minimalism. Then again, do you know what the best part of the commercial is? It makes you thirst for the stuff.

This is how great advertising works. It makes you want the product. And, done well, mass media advertising is still the best way to achieve that.

Extracted from an article by Thomas in Financial Express.

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