e4m Webinar: The badge of honour is that you can make an ad film without meeting people
Creative minds such as Agnello Dias, Tarun Rai, Hemant Shringy & Rohit Ohri share insights on how the industry can navigate the current COVID-19 crisis
Agencies are finding new ways to create magic in isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a grave impact on the advertising ecosystem. With marketing budgets putting a dent in advertising spends. At the moment the situation of the virus looks a bit uncertain which has led to the human race seeing renewed solidarity and everyone is working towards putting this behind us.
The webinar titled: ‘Solidarity in the time of Adversity-Creative Industry Speaks’ was moderated by Neeta Nair, Assistant Editor, Impact Magazine. The panel consisted of prominent Ad Industry experts like Agnello Dias, Creative Chairman, Dentsu India, Tarun Rai, Chairman & Group CEO, Wunderman Thompson South Asia, Hemant Shringy, CCO, BBDO, and Rohit Ohri, Group Chairman, CEO, FCB India.
Lockdown- Its repercussions
Starting off the webinar session, Rai, shared, “All the tools existed for us but nobody at work was using them as frequently as they could. In terms of the adoption of digital technology, I think we have compressed two years of adoption into two weeks. I was surprised at how quickly we adapted to working from home and the team has been fantastic. Now, we are innovative enough to shoot four proper TVC’s.”
Even Dentsu conceptualised a VIVO ad in a weeks time during the lockdown. Dias shared, “When a catastrophe of this kind happens, the immediate first phase will be that we can produce something in remote locations. The greater badge of honour is that you can produce a film without having to meet people. We will still have to value an ad for an Ad’s sake because eventually, consumers are not going to buy into something because of the mitigating circumstances under which we created the ad. However, we will still have to evaluate this process once the normal processes resume.”
According to Shringy, “We grew, We found out a lot of hidden talents in our team working from home. Whether it was editing or voice over or acting. There is a lot of interesting things in the making.”
Ohri remarked, “The virus is not going to go away. It’s not that on the 4th of May we are going to rush out of our homes to our offices and life will come back to normal. What is the new normal going to be like? Is what we are getting ready for. So, XP&D really helps us look at offline experiences online. We have done a fair amount of work already. Today, we launched our partnership with Networkbay looking at retail. In the new world, there is going to be a fair degree of social distancing. It is going to carry on and it will be interesting to see the impact on retail. Understanding that and building capabilities around that is what we are looking at.”
Production of Ads
Dias stated, “Traditionally creativity in advertising was built on the two parameters of affinity and behaviour. Creativity made people think in a certain way and put their money in a certain place. Creativity in advertising can influence the behaviour of consumers. Brands and products will look at sales post COVID-19 otherwise there won’t be any funds to build affinity.”
Rai commented, “Even though we have seen a crisis before like 2008, we haven’t seen a crisis and the speed at which it has come on us. Also, there is a lot of uncertainty. For our clients, the situation is almost looking at two different lenses short term and long term. We don’t know what the new normal is going to be like So if you don’t have a scenario planning tool it is going to be difficult to actually be ready for the velocity bounce back. The brands that have added value in the consumer’s life during the crisis they are going to benefit and gain market share post-COVID-19.”
Dias feels, “Agencies will renegotiate costs because we are all in this together. I haven't heard of a brand wanting to switch an agency during these uncertain times.”
Shringy believes that we will come out of this lockdown with stronger client-agency relations. He says, “All of us know our limitations at a time like this, not just a client but even viewers. The message of ads is going to play a very strong role than the execution.”
Rai says, “The second half of the year is the most important year for sales because of the festival season. However, we don’t know how things are going to pan out but according to the news we are getting from the European markets as soon as the lockdown is going to get relaxed people are expecting the economy to bounce back rather quickly. There is going to be great demand and I’m hopeful that by the time Diwali comes around the situation will be better and the clients will, therefore, be more bullish about achieving their seasonal festival targets.”
Learnings from the Lockdown
For Dias, the learning has been that sooner or later, every ad will be shot from home but eventually it will be the better ad that will stay in the minds of consumers. “I think the importance of behaviour as compared to an affinity for a brand is something that we have learned as an agency”, he shares.
Shringy remarked, “One learning from the lockdown is that, ‘I hope everything is well with you?’ is not a formality but a genuine question. Hope we continue caring for people when we come out of this.”
“WFH has been miraculous learning and honestly I was quite sceptical about it. We have such a young workforce, I was really surprised, the productivity is phenomenal”, concluded Ohri.
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