Scam ads and the role of clients

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The debate on scam ads continues. Sreekant Khandekar, the editor of agencyfaqs has articulated his views extremely well. Clients too have joined the debate and have disowned scam ads and the resultant awards.

Client opinion on awards and scams come in different shades. There are those who mistakenly equate any creative award with ineffective advertising. For them, safe advertising is the best option out and they justify the work that they approve by saying ‘Hey, this may not win awards but it helped me increase share by 0.7%’. Paradoxically, they will also be the ones who will point to a rival brand’s advertising or a popular ad and say, ‘tum log hamare liye aise ad kyon nahi banate?’. The Brand Managers in these organizations are the ones who secretly wish they could also do some fundoo stuff but are either not empowered to take the decision or simply scared of risks.

The love for awards and recognition for the advertising that they have approved is universal. Clients may not admit it, but they love it when their advertising is spoken about in glowing terms in a cocktail party or by friends & family. If they work with a roster of agencies, usually one is set off against the other.

And then there are these rotating Brand Managers. Those who last an average of 2-3 years in a company. Their main objective, naturally, in those years would be to launch a new brand or a campaign and thus earn their spurs. In this eagerness, lot of pressure is put on agencies to churn out new stuff – sometimes giving up on a property or an idea already built.

But the biggest influencer (albeit indirectly) of scam ads is the client who plays safe and is clueless to boot. When the client is unclear in his head it invariably leads to iterations in creative. And if the client is risk averse, then the problem is compounded. This leads to amazing levels of frustration in the agency. Even seasoned, mature blokes tend to get frazzled. The juniors then see scam ads as a possible channel for unfettered creative ideas.

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