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WFA/ISA – Global Advertiser Conference: ‘Marketers have been becoming slaves of tools’

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WFA/ISA – Global Advertiser Conference: ‘Marketers have been becoming slaves of tools’

World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) jointly held the Global Advertiser Conference in Mumbai on March 5, 2008. With the theme of ‘Effective Consumer Engagement’, the Conference had eminent speakers from marketing and advertising fraternity discuss ways to effectively engage the new age consumer. Present at the event were well-known faces like Bernhard Glock from WFA, R Gopalkrishnan from Tata Sons, and Prasoon Joshi of McCann Erickson, among others.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, Bharat Patel, Chairman, ISA, and Procter & Gamble, Hygiene and Health Care Ltd, took the audience through the history of ISA, and its role in maintaining the ethics in advertising. He said, “ISA was founded 52 years ago and since then, it has been taking care of the ethics in Indian advertising and protecting the interests of advertisers in India. ISA’s media committee also takes care of monitoring and measuring media and its audience.”

Following Patel’s keynote address, Glock gave a short introduction to WFA and its operations. He said, “WFA as an industry not only champions the role and value of advertising, but also helps in bridging the gap between public affairs and marketing to manage emerging threats and opportunities. In many markets and sections of the society, trust in marketing and corporations continue to decline, and that is where I think the marketers should focus.”

Speaking in the session on ‘Role of Intuition in Consumer Engagement’, Gopalkrishnan explained, “Marketers have been becoming slaves of tools, instead of tools becoming slaves of marketers. This phenomenon is a great enemy of consumer intimacy, and now is the time to restore the balance – the balance between intuition and analytics – and restore the much-required empathy in marketing. Tools and analytics are not bad, but I think intuitions work better for marketers in understanding the consumer and in engaging them in a better way.”

Joshi in his presentation said that awards were only a by-product of good work and that the advertisers’ target should only be to win the hearts of consumers and not metals at advertising awards. “We don’t choose ideas, rather I believe that ideas choose us. As good advertisers, our job is to craft the best of the ideas in the best possible way,” he added.

Joshi also emphasised on the need to give due importance to the power of one rather than just going for 360-degree campaigns. “People talk of great 360-degree campaigns. I have a point here. I feel we are forgetting the power of one – it could be in the form of one great poem, one great line or an extraordinary idea. It is amazing how one single idea can be converted into other mediums and explored to greater heights. Our Happy Dent White is an example of an idea of this kind – it saw an increase in sales by 103 per cent in just seven days,” pointed out Joshi.


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