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Brands need to remain truthful in their communication approach, say Dorab Sopariwala and Sumeet Vohra

11-June-2010
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Brands need to remain truthful in their communication approach, say Dorab Sopariwala and Sumeet Vohra

It’s not often that marketers tend to get into a brush with the law but when they do, the consequences of the move could be dramatic. Presenting examples of ads that faced the wrath of the regulatory bodies for flouting norms, Dorab Sopariwala of ASCI picked up selective examples that were engaging in unfair practices and spelt out measures to tackle the menace. He was joined in discussion by Sumeet Vohra, CMO – Asia, P&G who presented the marketers perspective on how the communication could be effectively put across to the audience while not tampering with the truth that defines the brand.

Sopariwala and Vohra spoke at the session on ‘Truthfulness in Marketing’ at ASCI’s 25th anniversary event that was themed ‘Marketing Responsibly’. The session was moderated by Sanjay Pugalia, Editor-in-chief, CNBC AWAAZ.

Sopariwala began by presenting certain tenets that marketers needed to specifically keep in mind when it came to advertising their products. “It is important that clients follow some standard of decency and refrain from engaging in anything vulgar, repulsive or that which is not viewer-friendly. Such an act could cause grave repercussions on the society at large and also harm the reputation of the brand in question.” Sopariwala slammed the makers of the Amul Macho ad that went completely overboard with its advertisement.

Sopariwala also called upon advertisers to stop plagiarising their ads and questioned the motive behind brands engaging in surrogate advertising.

“The Government of India is contemplating whether to allow airing of ads of alcohol companies beyond 11pm. What companies need to do now was stop resorting to doing ads that are surrogate in nature.” Kingfisher was the prime example of a brand that used its name and fame to promote its other companies including Kingfisher Airlines, Kingfisher bottled water, etc.

Sumeet Vohra presented P&G’s formula for marketing their several products and how they were doing it tactfully. “We have realised the essence of playing an integral role in the lives of consumers and that’s the reason we have gone away from just marketing our products to actually servicing the consumer. In today’s day and age, consumers want products that have more to offer in terms of values and promises.”

Vohra cited case-study examples of Whisper that dared to break the myth surrounding women and their dealing with menstruation, specifically in the B-towns and rural areas. According to Vohra, P&G’s mantra has always been to touch lives of people and that would be the premise on which the FMCG majors should move forward.

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