Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Not an ad mad world anymore

This week we had advertising agencies ‘pitching’ for our product launch in some markets abroad.

Going through each presentation, I noticed something striking. Most of the creatives presented were similar. The thoughts were similar and the approach was similar. Not a single agency impressed me. There was not a single out-of-the-box kind of thinking anywhere. I cursed the time I had wasted sitting through the patronizing presentations, the loud laughs at the weakest joke that my boss made and the ingratiating attitude to please.

Nothing much has changed I realized. People still trying to pass off shitty work with well worn platitudes and hyped up PPT presentations. In fact the hype is so arranged that when they reach the part where they show the creatives or the ads, you feel so let down…..like when you open those promisingly puffy Lays packet and find two and a half pieces of potato wafers. In plain words, crap packaged in glitzy materials.

Where have all the copywriters gone? In my team of seven, all seven of us are ex-copywriters. Someone rightly called the drain of advertising talent to IT companies as, ‘talent hemorrhage’.

At present there is no panacea to stop the hemorrhage. Hope the morrow brings better news for the Indian advertising scene. Till then the 'talent hemorrhage' will go on unabated.


b v n said...

why dont your company put up a banner on your blog,not at all a bad idea i wud say,atleast some of us will buy whatever it is they sell.some of my colleagues wud be better off in advertising or atleast somewhere else, than cultivating bacteria around here :)..this post is too technical...what is 'creative' and 'copyrighter'

Alexis Leon said...

Why not do the product launch in-house? You and your team will get a chance to go abroad :-) Talent hemorrhage--nice word.

neihal said...

"like when you open those promisingly puffy Lays packet and find two and a half pieces of potato wafers"
I can relate most to this line...rest of the post..ummmm...all i can say is there are some superb advert in both print and media and some really awful. Like the print campaign for Mumbai mirror, "not yet one and already two" I wanted to reach the board and throw it on the face of the person who came up with such a stupid line.

silverine said...

b v n: Creatives is the ads and copywriter is the person who thinks up these ads. The Indian ad scene is a dicey proposition as a profession hence talented people do not take up copywriting. We have the talent to sweep the Cannes but we get only a few such awards :)

Alexis: It is a huge exercise and we don't have the time nor the resources. It would involve coordinating with agencies/vendors abroad, event management companies etc. I did a road show in South East Asia during my first year of joining work and swore off work such for ever. I had to sit and arrange the hotels, the Audio Equipment, the Banners, invites everything on my own!!! We were staying at this lovely hotel but I got to see the room only for a few hours in the night :)) On the other hand ad agencies have tie ups and hence they can carry out these tasks with a fraction of the effort and cost that we will have to put in if we were to take it up.

Niehal: There are good ads, but we have the capability of making many more good ads. But youngsters wil not take up copywriting as a profession because there is no job security in it. As long as you can churn the ideas, you have a job, and when the ideas dry up you find yourself out in the cold. At present copywriting is a viable profesion in a freelance position only.

Mind Curry said...

have you heard of "physician transfusion"? or "nurse digestion"? well..its happening in the healthcare industry too. or for that matter in any industry. i think its cross-cultural, multi-platform experience and talent thats hot now. but in the race for everyone to be everything, quality can get affected if you are not careful i suppose.

hmm..random thoughts..i dunno if that made any sense :) perhaps not..

silverine said...

mind curry: You always make sense doc :)
These are new terms to me. The ad world is facing a talent drain becasue it is not a viable job proposition for the 'creative' people unlike the marketing people. Unless one is able to keep churning great ideas. But in your profession you can keep practising till you drop :)

Dhanush said...

Well... err ... mmm .. is there a chance for an amateur photographer there ;) Software Sucks !!

Well. Talent Haemmorage - I cant agree with that, looking at the ads that are coming up. Did yu see that Happy Dent Ad ?

Nice thoughts though :)

silverine said...

dhanush: That particular ad has been copied from a foreign ad. There is good work being done, but if the people behind these ads are not consistently brilliant, they soon become redundant in their own industry and outside as your thirties is no time to be starting a new career.

mathew said...

Oh..i seriously wish u go back to copywriting!!..Software is not the place to be creative..
Have u seen the ads by "spark"..the one that makes ads for kerala tourism..Love em!!

Mind Curry said...

@ silverine - But in your profession you can keep practising till you drop
yes, only we are dropping too soon :)

@ mathew - thats stark. they are great i agree, and internationally acclaimed, though not well known within india. i interact with them for my office quite often.

mathew said...

oops..that was a typo..sorry..
Awesome ads they make ..really.
Got that old hamara bajaj ad video as a fwd..Its still so beautiful!!

ABC of XYZ said...

There is an old saying in advertising:
Every client gets what he deserves.
May be it's working in your case.It's easy to rubbish all teh ad agencies , partcularly by the ex agency types. Today, indian advertising is being looked upon by the world.

Problem with the client is that they SEE their advertising in a certain way and if it doesn't fit in, then it gets rubbished.

silverine said...

Mathew: Grass is green on the other side.This is not a profession you can take up full time :)

Mind Curry: LOl
Stark is very good, it's nice to see such agencies amidst the clutter.

ABC of XYZ: I am not ex agency type my dear, still doing work for my old agencies I left behind, because of some good friends and colleagues I can't say no to. So I am in a position to be critical. If you can say the same then lets talk. This post is not about how good or bad agencies are, but about the sad fact that copywriting is not attracting talent anymore, except in the mainstream agencies. Most agencies are struggling without copywriters and this shows in their work. Lets not make this a agency versus client kind of spat.

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