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Guest Column: The big fat digital cliché

31-January-2013
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Guest Column: The big fat digital cliché

Digital is the future. Yes, we've all read that and the projected statistics give credence to that prediction. What we’re not realising is that we’re building that future right now as we tweet.

This is a good time to take stock and maybe question if we’re falling prey to advertising clichés, albeit in a digital space. We are collectively evolving digital trends so it’s our duty to ensure that ten years from now we don’t cringe at the things we did and instead evoke nostalgia for the good old days of digital advertising.

Here are some interesting clichés that incidentally seem to be inspired by traditional advertising:

Jo biwi se kare pyaar, woh mere brand ko kaise kare inkaar?
Hit like if you love your wife/dog/friends/neighbour’s cat/whatever

Brands on Facebook that don’t have a content strategy put in place to fulfil clear long-term objectives need to realise that pop solutions do nothing for the brand except get them a like here and a share there. So, even though people love the pictures you’ve posted of puppies, cats and Hrithik Roshan, ensure you give them a slightly more substantial reason to like you and relate to your brand. 

“The consumer is not an idiot. She's your wife.”  - Ogilvy
The influencer is not an idiot. It's your teenager.

The youth forms the highest percentage of the online demographic; they spend maximum time on the internet/mobile and are very active on social platforms. Therefore, every brand must leverage these influencers to talk about their brand and build buzz.

Erm, not if you’re selling an Osteoarthritis gel. That doesn’t mean that you cannot talk to them but the objective should be defined by the brand and not by the latest digital trend. Educate the youth and help them make informed choices but don’t coerce them to talk about a product that is in no way relevant to them.

Just like every brand has a purpose and every medium has its unique advantage; every consumer has a choice. It’s better to have a meaningful conversation with a smaller percentage of relevant users than lose the message to the medium.

Free! Hurry! Limited offer!
Like this page and win an iPad!

Surely we can do better than this. Every new brand or product launch promises its users goodies for liking their page.  While contests are the biggest reason users like brand pages, it shouldn’t be a substitute for an idea. A simple question to ask is, “Would users still participate for fun and get the relevant brand message if I wasn’t offering them an iPad?”

On a side note, there is no dearth of fresh, talented copywriters but if they’re only trained with the easiest way to attract the TG then we will have no one but ourselves to blame for not realising the potential of social media advertising.
 
But the biggest cliché unique only to digital is:
Make a viral/Make it go viral

The reason this is unique to digital is because one cannot imagine a brief where the objective states the TVC be watched by as many people as possible. 

That would be a brief for the media agency now, wouldn’t it?
 
Viral by definition is content that is circulated rapidly on the internet. With seven billion people online creating and sharing content, the question you should be asking is what can I brief the agency so that they can make my brand stand out?

Unfortunately, ‘Do something like Rajni’ is not doing justice to your brand, your agency and your consumer. The onus of explaining this to a client and striving for better creative output is ours. It might mean saying no to incomplete viral-briefs, going beyond mainline adapts and pushing the client as much as your own team.

Are we ready to take that chance and rock this smoothly-sailing boat for a better digital future? While you ponder over that question, please LIKE this piece so that your influencer friends can finally make me go viral. #osteoarthritisbuzz

The author is Creative Director, Webchutney

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