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Mohammed Khan triggers off AAAI endeavour to break creative block

30-March-2004
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Mohammed Khan triggers off AAAI endeavour to break creative block

A fine Saturday morning. Young creatives from a number of ad agencies. And Mohammed Khan. And when Khan talks, you listen. The session was gripping and it was apparent from the way the audience hung on to every word that he spoke. He created the right environment.

And, that is the first thing that Khan suggested: “You have to create an environment where everyone believes in the creative product.” A very important ingredient for good advertising is a good brief and a good brief is the one that is sharply focused.

Next of Khan’s suggestions was “Don’t go it alone”. He stated: “All of us can’t have knowledge of everything that happens in the world. It’s impossible.” He questioned, “How long does it take to ask? We feel ashamed to ask.” Khan expressed that it was always better to be working with the ‘masters in their respective field’. He stated, “There is a joy in learning. In working with the people who are masters in their own craft.”

Khan advised that before really getting on to work it is very important to ‘Soak in the facts’. As per him, it is important to segregate chaff from wheat – and go after the facts. “To extract a good brief, you have to extract facts. Great advertising is most often based on facts,” he stated.

Then came the issue of ‘Rating ones advertising’ and the best way as per Khan is to benchmark it, “Think of the best that has happened in the world in the category.” He also reflected upon the importance of keeping the ads away from complexity. As per him, “One of the biggest hallmarks of great advertising is to keep it simple”. And, then of course, there is ‘Likeability’ factor. “This is the most important quality of advertising. The commercials that do their job have this sterling quality. They are likeable,” stated he, comparing it to human relationships, “If you don’t like each other, relationship doesn’t really go beyond that.”

He also stressed on the fact that ‘Nobody is the sole keeper of an agency’s conscience’ and combined effort was the best effort.

Khan then moved on to the ‘two epidemics plaguing the industry’: computers and Cannes. Computers have moved the art people away from the physical feel of the placement of various elements in an ad. Which is damaging for advertising. Cannes, he said, “Is a very bad signal because of the kind of work that is being awarded.”

Talking about the importance of execution, Khan said, “Great idea is a must for a good ad, but equally important is impeccable execution. One is incomplete without the other. It should be an ad that people like to read or watch again and again.” Scripts, he exhorted, “should convert into excellent films — and it should happen by design and, not by accident.”

He, then, came to the last two questions that one should ask himself or herself. One, ‘Do I want to see this film a hundred times?’ and if the answer is no, you should throw the script out of the window. He argued, “Magic word today is GRPs. But isn’t it better to be seen once, than be ignored three times? GRPs are about how many times you run an ad, and not about how many people are watching.”

Last question you should ask yourself, as per Khan, is ‘What is wrong with this ad?’ If you would look for flaws, you would find them. “If your advertising makes people ask for more, you have obtained your objective,” he concluded.

The session was dotted with a number of examples in the form of print ads and commercials. All this was a very interesting start to the series of 10 sessions — The Block, The Triple A Creative Workshop.

Next session would be addressed by Prasoon Joshi, on Friday, April 16. Other names in the faculty are Piyush Pandey, Deepa Kakkar, Namita Roy Ghose, Subir Chatterjee, R Balakrishnan, Prasoon Pandey, Sumantra Ghosal, Preeti Vyas Giannetti and Alok Nanda.

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