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Our Brand Journey

There is an ethical line that we should not cross

Arpita Sarkar 28 June 2012

It is an ongoing debate – what is to blame for the growingly weak books of the diamond jewellery players in India? Players hold the ill-structured (Benign Assessment) tax procedure responsible. The government on the other hand, has no immediate cure to write off the complaints of the players. Under such circumstances, players like Tanishq are trying to work out an alternate solution. The company is experimenting with its very positioning strategy, a move which could provide some relief. In an interview with 4Ps B&M, Arun Iyer, NCD, Lowe Lintas & Partners, talks about Tanishq’s latest shot at trying to appeal to the Indian masses as a price leader. He also discusses how the ad-fraternity is adapting to the changed tastes of the consumers, how technology is influencing his creative clan, the need for a rule book in the ad world, and what Lowe Lintas plans for the rest of 2012. Interview excerpts:


Your agency created the most recent TVC from Tanishq (launched in April last). For the price-conscious diamond buyers in India, the tagline, ‘Now diamonds are man’s best friend too,’ is new. How did you go about conceptualising the TVC?
 See - the idea was very new. It still is. That diamonds are a girl’s best friend is common knowledge. But men aren’t supposed to be obsessed about diamonds. We made the TVC to change that perception. Also, over the past couple of years, the price of diamonds has sky-rocketed. It was keeping this in mind that Tanishq thought of launching a new range of affordable diamonds. When we were informed of the central idea behind the campaign, we felt that the idea of an affordable range of diamonds sounded good in a price-sensitive market. However, we could not afford the mistake of creating a wrong communication package that made this new strategy of Tanishq synonymous to an ‘end-of-season sale’ revenue-generating plan. Tanishq is a premium brand and this campaign is an attempt to make people believe that though the brand still stands for premium quality, its basket also has much to offer to the millions of middle-class husbands who would otherwise have had to pay higher sums for a piece of diamond jewellery. The connection seemed logical and all we did was add some humour in the execution of the advertisement.

There was a time when Colgate was synonymous for toothpaste, or say, a Bisleri for a bottle of packaged drinking water. There is a clutter out there now. It is true of the diamonds and jewellery segment too. How has the ad-industry adapted to this change?
 What has predominantly changed over the years is the medium of communication. Today, the way people interact has changed, but the fundamentals remain the same. Even today, word-of-mouth is an important driver of a brand’s equity, and all that has changed is that in the present times, word-of-mouth has got an official medium of communication. What however has not changed is the human emotion, which remains at the core of advertising. An emotional-laden commercial on a TV set in India would influence people in the past. It still does. There has however been a sea-change in lifestyle, and as an ad-maker, we have to keep a close eye on what really thrills our audience, almost on a daily basis. Emotions are good, but to break the clutter, TVCs need to be appealing.


And how about the truckloads of humour and sexual explicitness that are being served by the ad-makers to the consumers?
To say that humour is being widely used by ad-makers today is just a weak generalisation. Humour and wit have always been there in the world of TVCs for a long long time. There have been many commercials in the past which can prove my point. The Fevicol ads are one. Then there have been ads which were extremely emotional and made a mark without humour being added to them. I would say that it has been a mixed bag. But the truth is that any ad-maker, while creating any advertisement has to try and experiment with extremity – either your ad is laden with emotions, or it is extremely witty and humorous. You cannot stand in the middle of the road and expect a commercial or a campaign to make a good impact. On use of sexual elements to make ads more appealing, I will second that. Today, a lot more sexually explicit advertisements are being made. This was not the case earlier. The change has only come about because our society, the entertainment industry and the ad-making fraternity have all evolved by leaps.

What is your take on the debate over the regulations that should be imposed upon advertisers, ad-makers and advertisements?
There is an ethical line that we should not cross. This is true for TV channels and advertisers too. But the entire problem is born out of the fact that currently, there are no concrete rules and regulations that define clearly what is allowed in the world of ad-making and what is not. Everyone is deciding on their own. The acts of advertisers too are based on their own individualistic ethics. For instance, when we work on themes like sex, there has to be a clear line that divides what is ethical and what is not. So as long as there is no rule book made, this debate over regulations will continue.

 There has been a growing influence of technology on ad-making. These days, how much do creative directors rely on it?
While creating an advertisement specifically for digital media, it helps if you know technology. Many-a-time, we have had to stop mid-way during the process of ideation because we were unsure of whether we could pull-off the execution well. Look, this way, what you do is prevent your ideas from turning into reality because you do not know whether the execution can be perfected. Technology takes care of such hurdles, but only in collaboration with the technical department. When we initially think of an idea, we immediately check with the technical team whether the execution is possible. When we receive a positive response from the other side, we invest further time in giving shape to that particular idea. This way, we do not waste time working on ideas that aren’t possible to make reality.

 What are the upcoming campaigns of Lowe Lintas this year?
 There are many campaigns lined up this year. Though I cannot give out much detail, I could say that we have campaigns planned for Fastrack, Mircromax, Idea, Surf Excel and many more. In terms of formats, we would do everything from TVCs to social media marketing. So the months ahead will be interesting.

The Idea Cellular campaign which you launched a couple of months back has been received well. Which other campaigns of yours would you count amongst your favourites till date?
 I think when you are doing the work we do – with our final creation having a very short shelf-life and with us many-a-time getting bored of the work we do – it is always good to see your work winning appreciations. As far as my favourite recent campaigns are concerned, I would pick Idea Cellular, Surf Excel, Tanishq and Vodafone.


satya  on 09/08/2012

this is tes

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