If you want your ads to make an impact on the local audience, merely dubbing them won't help. It is equally important to have an understanding of the kind of words and symbols that would actually appeal to them.
This seems to be the thinking behind advertising major Ogilvy & Mather's (O&M) newest initiative of setting up research centres for communicating in regional languages and local idiom.
The centres, initially planned for the Southern cities of Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, are expected to come up within six months, and function out of O&M offices there.
The specialised teams manning these centres will comprise sociologists and copywriters.
"They will involve themselves with specialised research, which would include detailed studies of the culture, lifestyle and language of each State," said Mr R. Krishna Mohan, Executive Director, O&M.
"The teams will also study the current knowledge and attitudes among a cross-section of the population and analyse differences. The research would be completely delinked from the brands," he said.
Mr Mohan said that this initiative would create much better empathy in communication and also help the agency get an edge in the marketplace.
The service would be offered to O&M's clients only, he said.
The agency, according to Mr Mohan, has always tried to give local flavour to all its regional campaigns instead of merely dubbing it.
"For instance, when we worked on the Meera Shikakai soap campaign years ago, we tried to bring out the significance of the Friday oil bath in a South Indian family. Our understanding of this tradition helped the campaign to become a great hit, as we were talking to a set of consumers who were used to readymade shikakai powders, and a shikakai soap was quite unheard of."
While the Chennai centre will focus on communication in Tamil and Malayalam, the Hyderabad and Bangalore offices would involve itself with Telugu and Kannada, respectively.