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Creativity finds greater comfort in cliches

10-March-2005
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Creativity finds greater comfort in cliches

Any brand of creativity must take into account the elasticity of acceptance of the target audience. How far is your target audience willing to go? And if you cross that line, then you have made a mistake. It is this particular factor that coaxes clients to hug clichés ever so tightly. From the creative person's viewpoint, it could get a little frustrating when your 'out of the box radical thought' is considered a little better than a paper airplane. More so, when it's rejected for a thought that has been recycled time and again.

HLL ice-cream division executive director JH Mehta, said, "It must be remembered that we are doing all this for the purpose of commerce. Somebody wants to sell something and somebody wants to buy something. Is your communication gelling with your product attributes and your target audience? Advertising is not primarily created, because somebody wants to vent his 'creative yet radical ideas.' It's created because somebody wants to sell a brand. If you just let the reins be determined by what's radical, rather than what's good for your product, the ads would tend to lose focus. An ad, say on switches, would concentrate more on other factors than its use or the product itself. That leaves you wondering: What is the product? Or rather, is this an ad for paints brand, or is it about a switch?"

Mehta said, "The bulk of our audience is middle class. We should be focusing on how to communicate with the domestic audience in an idiom they can understand. Typecasting something as 'cliché' when it could work as opposed to something radical which would just confuse the onlooker. Well, it just doesn't make sense."

Meanwhile, Prahlad Kakkar, CEO, Genesis, believes that there is always been a resistance to change, which is why most clients are averse to suggestions that are out of the box. He said, "If we have to move forward, we just can't live in the past. You recharge the learning that you have had. Exploring newer ways of doing advertising, so there is freshness. If you had done one thing yesterday, then that's done and over. You must create something today. For that you have to break some rules. The resistance is not just in advertising, but in life also. Nobody is ready to accept change because everyone wants to be comfortable. Forget advertisers, there have been inventors who have been hanged in the past."

Kakkar added, "So you see the same old vanilla faces, coaxing consumers to buy everything from toothbrushes to home theatres, and chips and cars. Similar faces, similar projections and similar situations."

Prasoon Joshi, National Creative Director, McCann, said that he respects the need for caution from the client's end. After all big bucks are at stake for every piece of communication that goes out. Joshi said, "The very reason why a marketer comes to an ad agency is because he wants some kind of a communication solution. And that particular communication solution comes with a price tag. I understand that marketers are under a great deal of pressure in the changing consumer landscape, and they can't afford to experiment with ideas that may or may not bear fruit. The consumer of today is extremely reactive to any piece of communication and if you pre-empt a certain kind of fatigue towards your kind of advertising, it's best to change it. Just because something's lasted for this long you can't carry on with it. Because it certainly isn't a guarantee for the future." Joshi added that while much of the communication for NDTV has been on an extremely serious note with the tag line 'Khabar Wohi Jo Sach Dikhaye,' the agency was brainstorming around a tongue in cheek piece of communication with the same tag line in mind.

With the onslaught of more companies, infidelity among consumers and increasing clutter on the media scene, it isn't always easy to arrive at the perfect advertising solution. In the bargain, some clichés might work far better for the client than what's radical and out of the box.

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