Remember when every Sunday your eyes would ignore the big bold font of the headline but search for the little Amul girl hiding somewhere in the corner of the newspaper, making jokes about the headline you ignored? Remember how the whole house welcomed the breadwinner of the family on the first of every month, with ‘khush hai zamaana aaj peheli taareekh hai’? Do you remember the time when you wanted to be a Complan Girl and a Complan Boy? These ads formed the golden age of advertising.
Art and Advertising have been like Amar and Prem, co-existing amidst the rise and fall of capitalist systems. The golden era of advertising made its way through the very basic of mediums and yet served us with the most memorable ads. Television was a hub for brands to connect to people until the emergence of its biggest foe - the internet.
The World Wide Web spread like wildfire and changed the face of advertising. The number game became the ultimate goal for brands as well as advertisers. Amidst this chaos, content took a back-seat. Celebrities, flashy lights and pop-ups took the centre stage, whereas the brand narrative was left in the dark. Art and advertising slowly seemed to part ways, until a few years back when Google presented us with a story about two estranged friends reuniting, and Paper Boat made us believe that they were not selling just drinks, but nostalgia packed in paper bottles.
Advertisements need to humanise brands and furnish them with the power to connect with the audience. The first step towards the future of advertising should be looking at it as a form of entertainment and not merely marketing. Don’t make me hear an annoying voice before I play Coldplay on YouTube. Don’t make advertisement about numbers; don’t make it about TRPs and views. Make it about the idea, the story and the vision of the brand.
Let’s not throw the word ’content’ around without properly understanding it. Let’s bring back artists to create experiences and tell stories, and not suffocate them with marketing restrictions. Let’s make stories that touch lives.
It’s time to take the next step forward and advertise by building life-changing stories and powerful narratives. It’s time to let go of age old traditions and create branded content for the new generation.