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Guest Column: How ad land fared in 2015: Suresh Eriyat

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Guest Column: How ad land fared in 2015: Suresh Eriyat

As 2015 has been an action packed year, what is it that ad land can expect of 2016? Will the leap year bring luck or luck out for brands as considered otherwise? Increased competition within the various sectors will definitely bring marketers back to the drawing board culling out new ideas to reach out to the consumer, writes Suresh Eriyat, Founder and Creative Director of Eeksaurus

As we kickstart 2016, it is time for creative and advertising agencies to question their own thought process and decide whether innovation is reaching a plateau in Indian advertising.  

Marketing and ad land has definitely undergone a wave of change, seeing mergers, brand acquisition and the rise and fall of some of the biggest brands in 2015. Here is a short overview of ad land in 2015.

Storytelling rules-

 If the concept of storytelling caught up in mid- 2014, 2015 saw it getting its biggest boost. From FMCG and manufacturing and what not, the thought process in 2015 has undergone an intense revamp in becoming increasingly conversation led with a design centric approach. Though not wholly as of yet, the design centric approach allows for the design to take precedence first and then let the rest fit in. In terms of advertising for products such as vehicles especially, if you look through 2014, the focus has increased largely on working with differently styles together to end up in one beautiful sum up of the product and its advantages.

From Unknown to Unforgettable
If I were to ask you, which was your favorite Bollywood flick of 2015, I am sure you will give me more than one example. If your favorite actor/actress came on the big screen more than once this year; it’s probably a dream come true sort of situation for you. When it comes to ad campaigns however, we may remember the celebrity brand ambassadors regularly receiving flak for the choices even beyond the brand. How about the people in ads who have touched your heart through quirky expressions? Take for example, with the happy-go-lucky guy that had to leave his rented apartment when the other’s girlfriend comes a-knocking? And the cute little girl from HDFC who brightened your day with her calls of ‘Hello Uncle’? I also read somewhere that the Airtel girl on the other hand featured around 54,406 times in ads this year. Yes, the smaller faces have also made a great impact for brands, catching eyeballs and intertwining emotions all together! Choosing the right cast therefore, has become all the more important for brands in order to build recall in the mind of the consumer.

Start-Up Talkies
With investments flowing in and the quest of the next round of funding, a variety of start-ups have gone big in terms of investing in television ad spends. Move over big time brands, start-ups are ruling the airspace! Coupled with A-list celebrity endorsements and compelling story lines, start-ups have left no stone unturned when it came to creating brand recall. While the bigger brands have always had the liberty to roll out ad campaigns as part of the yearly marketing calendar, start-ups on the other hand had to become smart in giving out a clear cut message within their limited resources. Working in this space therefore has forced creative agencies to think beyond just out of the box. It doesn’t end here though! Bigger brands such as Titan and HP were also seen using stories on starting up afresh as part of their ad campaigns speaking of the tremendous change in outlook in India Inc.

Advertising Online
Are a 1000 likes better than a 1000 shares? In the quest for going viral, brands have understood the magic of online advertising  can be used as a perfect platform share their stories without being bound by the 30 second bracket. Virality increases when the issues focused within the ad campaign are relatable as well as timed right in terms of the Indian moods and festivities. But can this medium be used to build brands? Don’t get carried away!

Innovation Reaching Plateau
While we saw a lot of ads that touched us emotionally, many others followed the stereotypical/predictable routes and some others created new, yet mildly conservative formats of storytelling, but overall we haven’t done/seen anything spectacular this year. Whether it is Van Damme doing the epic split (In some sort of a way, that stunt can be well connected to a Bollywood stunt as well. It is just that they made it that big before us!) or the Lifepaint for Volvo; the West constantly involve in creating path breaking new formats of story engagement and brand connects. In India we still tend to engage ourselves in safer and predictable innovations! The constraints could be varied. Client’s conservative stand is normally the first one, but maybe it is time we questioned our own thought process! 

If we have to break the moulds and do outstanding original work, we have to look at inspirations from our own surroundings rather than looking for inspirations and trends from the West. The Fevicol campaign was our original idea and that had and still has a far reaching impact. The ‘You and I’ campaign for Hutch was simple yet brilliant. Maybe it will never work in the West, but it worked brilliantly in India. Even the Amaron battery ads that were done way back in 2002 were path breaking. For a battery maker to go for animation as central idea for a campaign calls for a lot of courage and the agency who stood by them with such an idea also has to be mighty brave! Till date clients think that animation is for kids! I believe, whenever we do extreme innovation, rooted in our culture and traditions along with bold usage of mediums, it surely has to work. Not just for the creative team but also for the client!

As 2015 has been an action packed year, what is it that ad land can expect of 2016? Will the leap year bring luck or luck out for brands as considered otherwise? Increased competition within the various sectors will definitely bring marketers back to the drawing board culling out new ideas to reach out to the consumer. With ‘consumer engagement’ becoming the new buzz word, brands will begin to look beyond flashing of website links and hashtags to a more in-depth approach of making the consumer a hero while focusing on the product line as well! As India’s glory with ad film making gains heightened recognition abroad, it is time to look beyond the issues and stereotypes that hold us down and work towards the new goals of development and brilliance. 

Tags Suresh Eriyat Marketing

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