Top Story


Home >> Cannes Lions 2011 >> Article

Dheeraj Sinha @ Cannes: Advertising Was Selfish, Engagement Is Social

Font Size   16
Dheeraj Sinha @ Cannes: Advertising Was Selfish, Engagement Is Social

The counter argument to the world of 24x7 connectivity is already taking shape. The once celebrated idea of the digital natives, living a life that’s always on, seems to be meeting with some protest. Crispin Porter Bogusky’s campaign for Window’s Mobile 7, titled ‘Really’ (, gives us a peek into the beginning of this trend.

It’s interesting to see a mobile phone brand take a stance against our submissive immersion to the gadget. The phone is positioned as - designed to get you in and out and back to life - and provokes people to live real over digital. ‘Be here now’ is the tagline. Love the idea and the execution, partly because we were onto a similar thinking sometime back for one of the brands, but the idea got jettisoned. But more importantly, because it reflects a larger shift in the way marketing and communication is moving. While advertising by definition was selfish about what it had to sell, today’s construct of engagement is more worried about what’s socially important. Even if it at times it goes against the logic of your own product.

The presentation by Dentsu’s Akira Kagami underlined this need for advertising to stand up to a social situation as that of Japan. The work that he shared did a brilliant job of helping people keep their calm and telling them the etiquettes during an emergency situation like this. To my mind, this was an example of advertising as a function putting the society above itself. The desire and its ability to bring larger meaning to the society is apparent in a lot of work that’s been put out by this industry in the recent times. This was also the sentiment in Crispin Porter Bogusky’s panel when they spoke about giving a larger mission to their brands.

The veteran of creativity, Edward De Bono in fact went on and blamed poor thinking for all the ills of today’s governance and society. As one of the examples, he spoke about the problem of parking in premium places. His solution was to create headlight-on parking zones. People who park in these zones would have to leave the headlight on. This would ensure that they would rush back to their cars as soon as they can, to prevent the battery from draining out. De Bono’s offer is that creative thinking can make this world a better place – not just help sell soaps and oil.

The new outward orientation of brand communications, the desire to find the culturally meaningful stuff, the desire to create engagement and not always a sales pitch can redeem advertising of its selfishness. There is evidence that people today are having conversations about brands in their lives far more than they ever did. And these conversations will neither be about the ‘key benefit’ nor the ‘reason to believe’ that our brand documents so obsess about. But they can surely be about some socially meaningful stuff that people care about.

(Dheeraj Sinha is the author of ‘Consumer India – Inside the Indian Mind and Wallet’ & Regional Planning Director, Bates141.)


Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend

There are some forces impacting the way our business works. The IT/ITeS sector has changed tremendously. Platforms like Twitter have made everyone journalists. Smartphones have made everyone a photographer. The trend that we are seeing is one of hyperdigitalization, which is causing the lines between product and services to blur. For example, <a href=

The OOH sector is among the fastest growing, globally. Brands and marketers have realized its potential and impact and begun to craft medium-specific adverts. Self-regulation is not only necessary but also essential to growth of the sector. The industry needs to exercise a certain level of this self-restraint to prove its commitment to maintaining the best standards in advertising.

<b>Clients are looking for experiential solutions beyond radio or print: Abraham Thomas, Radio City 91.1 FM</b><br><br> From entering new markets to launching large format events, Radio City 91.1FM has been on a roll. The radio channel recently announced the launch of India’s biggest singing talent hunt-Radio City Super Singer Season 8. Earlier this year, the channel set up its own creative-cum...

Under the watchful eye of Walt Disney, Bindass undergoes brand repackaging with a fresh new show ‘Dil Buffering’ simulcast across its linear and social media platforms on September 29 and will launch...

Apart from the mandate for the first project which is the Ashiana Town in Bhiwadi, Tomorrow and InterTwined will deliver brand solutions across film, print, radio, outdoor and activation besides provi...

Despite advertising picking up after a slow Q1, regional FM players still feel that the lingering effect of GST, RERA, demonetisation will still make its impact felt during the upcoming festive quarte...