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IAA Debate: Industry honchos debate on whether quality of print advertising is affecting the medium's efficacy

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IAA Debate: Industry honchos debate on whether quality of print advertising is affecting the medium's efficacy

exchange4media celebrated the best work done in newspaper advertising over the course of last year at the annual Dainik Bhaskar INK awards. This year’s edition of the awards was held at ITC Grand Central, Mumbai on Wednesday evening.

The gala ceremony kick started with a debate session in association with IAA on the topic - ‘The quality of creativity in print advertising today is adversely impacting the efficacy of the Print Medium’.

Speaking in favour were Mitrajit Bhattacharya, President & Publisher, Chitralekha Group and Sandip Tarkas, CEO, (Sports, Media & Special Projects) Future Group. Rana Barua, CEO, Contract India and Kamal Basu, Marketing & PR Head, Volkswagen presented their views against the motion. The session was moderated by Nandini Dias, CEO, Lodestar UM.

Bhattacharya believed that lack of interest and creativity in print advertising today is indeed impacting the worth of the medium. “Print industry is huge; infact by the KPMG FICCI report, it is the largest medium logging in Rs 18,900 crore ad revenue. Even the Pitch Madison report pegs print revenues close to Rs 17,000 crore. How come then we don’t remember any good print ad? The reason being, good print ads today are meant to win only awards and not to solve the marketing problems of the brands. Also the truth remains that in spite of high spends in print, lack of interest and vigour is making print ads not deliver the results as effectively as ideally they should be doing,” he reasoned.

Tarkas from Future Group pointed, “Creativity is declining when you need it the most and in print media it is happening the maximum. Having four newspaper jackets surely doesn’t help; it is infact a sign of the terrible problem which we are facing today. Today IQs are on the rise, but Creative Quotient has been declining.”

Basu, however, was of the opinion that print communication will always be innovative. “Today as a marketer, we fight clutter and compete to catch consumer’s attention and grab eyeballs. The only way to fight is by creativity and by innovation. Any innovation done by brands can earn a print magazine or a newspaper up to 200% regular advertising rates, therefore, they can’t say no to innovation. It is a revenue generator for them. Innovation can be as limiting as your own imagination. So for me, print communication will always be innovative. Infact, when the birth of TV was happening, there was a lot of hue and cry that print will die, but it withstood the onslaught by innovation. I feel innovation is here to stay, if you are not doing adequate innovation, choose your partners carefully,” he said.

Barua cited, “The world has changed and a lot of brands are advertising on a daily basis, like FMCG, automobile, e-commerce on print.  All of them are trying to give a message in the most effective way, which both the creative agency and the client are working together. All these brands are advertising, not to change your life, but to sell a brand in the most effective way. If you look at the efficacy of the medium and say if print ad is getting into some kind of a quality check, then I don’t think there would be so many clients looking at the medium. I feel the medium is dictating the creative and not vice-versa and we are doing it very effectively.”

Summing up the discussion, Basu said, “It is obvious that for print medium, creativity is essential for its survival. It has withstood the worst in terms of onslaught from other medium and it has come out on top. We cannot imagine creativity dying and it is here to stay.”

Presenting an optimistic view, Tarkas said, “Print is the largest medium and it deserves better creativity. Creativity in general has taken a dip not only for this medium, but for all the other mediums as well. There is a Creative Ignore and Creative Apathy; for the other mediums, it happened in their adolescent stage, when they had the resources to overcome the problem and come out strongly. Unfortunately for print, it has happened, when it doesn’t have those many innovation resources available in front of it. I am an optimist and I feel that the best ones can still find a solution to the problem, just that the systematic issues need to be addressed. But I am confident that we will have bigger resources to deal with the problem together.”

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