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Planning a creative compound in client’s backyard

17-June-2004
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Planning a creative compound in client’s backyard

When it comes to the media planning and buying, you have a media department at the client’s end that works in tandem with the agency in question. Why can't the same be applied to the creative arena as well? You have brands that sweat it out on television, only to suffer on account of a mediocre creative idea. A half-hearted brief…a miscommunication of sorts…a misinterpretation of strategy…the anomalies that exist between the client and the agency are numerous and many fold.

The answer to all these ambiguities lies in the brief. Like the wise ones say, a creative brief is like a road map. A good brief leads to imaginative and persuasive ads, and gets you to your destination in a jiffy. A bad brief sets you off in a wrong direction and in all probability to a town called Bad Adsville. Unfortunately, a lot lies on interpretation too.

“You say tomatoes…I say ToMMAtoes” could very well sum up the relationship, between most agencies and brands.

So the brand gets up one morning and sets out for a pitch …the agency in question hides its head in a paper bag…newcomers throng by the door lapping at the account….and the process of communication begins all over again!

Can a solution to the entire affair lie in an in-house ‘creative’ department at the client’s end that takes care of the entire business of communication? After all, who understands the nuances of the brand better than the client himself? Or perhaps, the creative compartment could function side by side with the agency in order to furnish the right creative product.

Says Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Joint Managing Director, Kinetic Engineering, “A great deal of miscommunication does occur between the client and the creative agency, but I am not sure if the answer lies in an in-house creative department. For one, it’s not a scientific field and it requires a creative and an imaginative bend of mind. With media, everything is quantifiable and there is a method to the madness, which enables an in-house media department to co-exist with the media agency.”

She adds, “With the creative campaign, it’s all about tactical and strategic thinking coupled with talent, not to mention, the technological inputs. The client already has too much on his plate and can’t possibly develop expertise in these areas too. So the creative business is best left to the agency, with the client assuming the role of the supervisor.”

N Gangadhar (General Manager, Marketing, Siyaram) believes that in due course of time, the concept of in-house creative compartments will definitely evolve. He states, “I think that the relationship between most brands and their respective agencies has reached a point of deterioration. Most brands ask for a certain type of creative product and they are saddled with another. It makes sense to have one particular department in-house that works in close tandem with the creative agency and monitors all possible arenas of filmmaking and communication. Perhaps there would be a day when almost everything would be done in-house…which would lead to a lot less complications.”

Harit Nagpal, Vice President (Marketing), Hutch, believes that the proposition is far from the realm of possibility and is not going to materialise anytime in the near future. He states, “Honestly, that would mean the end of all ad agencies. When the client has an in- house creative department, why would he rely on an external ad agency anyway? Such a scenario seems improbable, as the client is pressed with a million other responsibilities without having to take on this additional responsibility as well. With media, it’s a different ball game. Everything is about statistics or numbers, which is why, a co-coordinated effort is a practical solution.”

What holds good for media is apparently not good enough for creative. As more and more brands go fishing for new custodians, in-house creative departments are still ‘outside the realm of possibility.’

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