31 Dec 2009

See y'all next year

Why killing a 'creative' is just plain wrong

For one, 'creative' is not a noun. It's an adjective. A reference to an ingenious or unexpectedly resourceful quality. And it is more suggestive of function than form.

But somewhere along the way, chiefly in Advertising parlance, 'creative' became a noun. A tangible thing. An end in itself. Eventually, the creators of 'creatives' too were labelled 'creative'. It now represented, not an attribute but a designation!

This creative-by-default situation has one potentially self-defeating side-effect. We lose sight of the real yardstick for creativity: The end result.

The onus is back on the Advertising industry to equate 'creative' with originality, imagination, and a productive outcome. Who in their right minds would want to kill that?

29 Dec 2009

Online Advertising, Direct Marketing and POS are not 'Media'

Online Advertising is currently viewed as just another 'medium' in the over-ambitious media mix - just as Direct Marketing is. Or Point-of-Sale for that matter.

And more often than not, the one-way 'big idea' cracked for TV or print doesn't translate directly. Online Advertising, Direct Marketing and POS require distinctly different approaches.

Because here, you want the audience to respond!

The idea has to be completely stripped back down to the central objective. And the communication re-built to garner the response!

The easy way out is 'adapting'. Editing the content. Re-size the layout to standard envelope-size. The copywriter throwing-in a 'Dear Customer' attempt at personalising the communication. And for going online, it may involve animated graphics! Or even ludicrous attempts at 'engaging' the audience.

As with most easy ways, they don't work very well!

I think the best test for an idea that requires action, is to ask onself: "Would I do what I expect audience to do?" Even if it's a 'maybe', I strongly recommend you drop that idea, and move on to the next.

28 Dec 2009

Why online? What online?

Online is not a panacea. And there is no panacea online - not Facebook, not Youtube. And definitely not Twitter.

ADVERTISERS need to be very clear about what they wish to accomplish by being online.

AD AGENCIES need to be better aware of specific online tools and the unique communication (and business) opportunities they offer. Selection of applications and tools must necessarily be based on the communication objective. Not fads.

Also, looking at the potential growth of online advertising, investing in domain knowledge via a core team might be cheaper today than tomorrow.

WEB SOLUTIONS PROVIDERS tend to be the joker in the pack. And increasingly, they're seen by agencies as competitors aiming at a bigger share of the advertising pie!

They are uniformly good with charts, graphs and jargon. But rather less consistent in delivering tangible results.

All of us need to make up for deficiencies, and better utilise each another's expertise if we are to see less online campaigns that make us go: "What were they thinking?"

13 Dec 2009

Welcome to the changing world...

In today's world, nothing is static.

Business. Culture. Science. Technology. Even what we perceive as 'change' is evolving. And evolving fast.

In advertising, staying ahead of the curve demands an intellectual capacity to continuously learn and reinvent oneself. It needs a mind-set that can effortlessly let-go of long-held points-of-view. And it requires an ability to instinctively look at any challenge from multiple perspectives.

After 12 years in Advertising and Marketing, these are I believe the only 'Rules' worth keeping:
- Put the brand's interest foremost
- To motivate a team, inspire them
- Always remain outside the proverbial box considering the big picture
- Harness the 360-degree potential in every idea
- Don't just ride the latest communication wave, try and create it
- Hone your instincts to pick up views, nuances and trends - especially among young people
- Observe and learn from everyone around