Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong, three of the greatest villains the world has seen, effortlessly flaunt their badass badness and make you beg for more. The commercial transforms evilness into a desirable and sexy quality. Gone are the heroes, who made you weak in the knees; the villain is the new hero. Ah! It is good to be bad.

Cut to an Indian automobile advertisement. Add a Bollywood star and a femme fatale. Paint the backdrop to replicate the rough terrains of Ladakh. Set it to a painful track, and there you have it: a glitzy, irrelevant commercial. This does not make you want to buy the car; in fact, it makes you staunchly make a promise to yourself to never buy it.

This comparison does not aim to undermine what we produce in India, but focuses on highlighting what we lack and the distance that has to be covered to overcome this disparity.

There is a constant tussle among Indian brands and the international ones that have slowly paved their way into the nation’s market. Home grown brands must strive consciously to meet the growing maturity of the consumers.

The Indian brand market today is suffering from an acute paucity of genuine storytelling, which is cultivated beautifully in the West. If you were asked to recall all the advertisements you saw in the past couple of hours, you would hardly remember any at all. This is where the difference lies. What makes an impact on you, what moves you and what stays with you!

Speaking of industry norms, a 2016 survey by PSFK unearthed that around 50% of brands feel that while advertising is important, ad-campaigns have lost their efficacy. Most advertising agencies today work with the same old ideals and follow the same outdated rule book. While a few do produce magic, imagination and creativity are, for the most part, not being challenged. This is killing the advertisement industry. More and more people from the audience pool resort to using ‘ad blockers’ because all they see is the same pattern of monotony and a lack of compelling ideas.

What India needs is a diversion from the rundown path. We need to be different, create out-of-the-box content, and use a wide variety platforms to unleash our creativity.

Standing out from the crowd is the key here.

The Martin Agency (an American advertising agency) broke records when they attempted the extraordinary. They revolutionized what we call "the unskippable ad." Consumers were not only not skipping the GEICO pre-roll ad but also often opted to see the full version. Now that is simply bizarre and fantastically concocted.

If you scan the Indian field, there is a scarcity of brands actually seizing all these varied opportunities. Very few names pop up that are relevant to this discussion. Paper Boat is one of the few brands in the country that has tapped into the power of storytelling by using branded entertainment to successfully tell their tale. With its heartwarming, well-scripted and synchronized pieces of content that not only captured the essence of the product but also created an impact, Paper Boat has paved the way for others to learn about and explore this opportunity.

There is no dearth of storytellers in this country. We marvel over a shared history of storytelling. It is time to break the monotony and dare to try something new. Engage the audience.

Toshiba and Intel beautifully captured our imagination with their series titled 'The Beauty Inside.' It is a subtle yet magnificent way to draw in and engage with the audience, by just shifting the focus and the camera.

From rewards, utility, and loyalty to entertainment, novelty, status and convenience; Indian advertisers fail to flirt with everything that may lure a consumer.

Flirting, we have heard, is good for health. 

 

 

CHHAYA DABAS, AAKANKSHA PESHAWARIA, PRATISHTHA NANGIA & DEVKI NEHRA

3 Comments