Josy Paul, Chairman and NCD, BBDO India, is finding an interesting pattern that’s emerging from their work for the clients. He is of the opinion that if earlier it was language that ruled advertising, now it is about action or creating advertising that will create action. By action one doesn’t mean the act of getting people to buy products, but communication that prompts involvement of consumers.
In recent times, BBDO India has gone all out to embrace this working philosophy for their clients and has met with stupendous success. For instance, Aviva Life Insurance, where the brand thought of a concept called ‘Education is Insurance’. Taking this thought further, the agency created a wall in Delhi and urged Delhiites to come forward and cover the wall with old books, which were then donated to people who could make use of it. The agency collaborated with partners so that the books could reach the needy children.
The success of the initiative can be gauged from the fact that HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, too, joined the initiative and was the one to place the last book on the wall. Talking of the initiative, Paul said, “It is about creating advertising that creates action, and the brand benefits as one taps into the soul of the brand. It’s not that we don’t do traditional advertising, but where we are positioning ourselves is beyond the offering of a regular agency, and creating action thus becomes our differentiating factor.”
Similarly, for Gillette BBDO had put forward the concept of ‘Shave India movement’, which not only saw the participation of men, but also got the fairer sex involved in men’s grooming. For Quaker Oats, the agency has put together an interactive newsworthy site, which is supposed to be the first step towards being healthy heart conscious. The site was put together based on a news trigger, where a WHO study showed that 60 per cent of heart patients are from India. The site has registered huge hits since its launch.
Explaining the whys of adopting the stance of action-oriented communication, Paul said, “It is actually in response to the need of the nation. Today’s young people don’t want one-way communication, but want to be involved in communication. We are responding to that energy that we could sense in the nation. Besides, it’s incredibly cost effective.”
He added, “We didn’t start by saying this is how we are different, but yes, we tried to understand the pulse of the nation. We are finding through a series of different work that we are offering something different, and also our clients tell us we are different. All our clients are new, ranging from being 1-18 months old, but according to them, what we are offering is something unique.”
To create action, there is a need for collaborating with partners who are specialist, be it media, PR or even an NGO. Paul said, “We can just about be the source of an idea, but we can’t see that idea taking shape unless we have partners completely integrated to take the idea forward. It’s not a linear model, but requires a level of maturity. The toughest task in this process becomes of giving credit as we may be just the starting point of generating an idea, but to make it into action requires partners.”
“We have seen that even in history, people who have made a difference have been those who have matched their words with action. This is not similar to activation, as that has a limited sense, but action is a movement, which can be taken forward by other people. It’s an action virus and involves people fired by the idea and has a sense of belonging, promising a new experience to those involved,” he concluded.