The online debacle of Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad and the constant criticism of fairness creams closer home, social media has the power to make and break brands overnight. Calling out brands on their insensitivity, racism and sexism in online outrages is a fairly common trend. At the recently concluded Pepper awards in Kochi, Advertising industry honchos Piyush Pandey and Prathap Suthan made a few comments on the trend of instant social media feedback on ads.
When Piyush Pandey, Co-executive Chairman and National Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mathers, was asked about how he copes with such situations, he said, “If you are met with public disapproval for something you created, you have to evaluate yourself because anybody can say anything online and all their voices become valid. Nobody deliberately tries to hurt peoples opinion. I believe in trends, patterns, insights and understanding human beings. I don’t believe in fashion and outdated research.”
Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner/Chief Creative Officer, Bang In The Middle, said that Social media is a wild animal. “No content is universally loved by all. There will always be someone who will question it and say ‘why was that cow standing there?’ or ‘why was that person looking over here?’ It’s like criticizing a film. Voices aren’t hidden anymore as everybody has a platform on social media. In India, everybody wants to be heard. If you appreciate something you are brandished a supporter with a negative connotation. It is also fashionable to take offence and dislike things. We are living in a country where people have issues with the national anthem!” he said.
According to a California based blogger and marketing analyst, Austin Gunter, most companies follow the ‘Engragement’ model of advertising. He said that ‘Engragement’ is ‘news and media designed to capture our attention and engage us by enraging us in order to drive ad revenue.’ With industries across the world using outrage to get attention to their products, what is the truth and what is a lie on social media?