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Advertising, by definition, is meant to grab people’s attention. If a campaign goes un-noticed, it’s just waste of money. In that context, what has come to be known as ‘shockvertising’ – the attempt to deliberately shock or even offend people into noticing (and discussing) an ad has come into vogue. It is certainly not a new phenomenon. A common example of such an approach is the ‘United Colors of Benetton’ campaign featuring images which were…

If we meet someone who speaks well we tend to form a positive opinion of them: we equate articulation with intelligence. It is pretty similar to how we react to likeable ads – subconsciously we transfer this affinity to the brand. Similarly, we admire those who write well. As David Ogilvy said, ‘People who think well, write well’. When it comes to good writing, what gets our attention and keeps us engrossed could be anything…

The adage ‘ninety percent of everything is crap’ coined by Theodore Sturgeon an American science fiction author is relevant in the context of advertising where a majority of campaigns go unnoticed. Among the handful of great marketing campaigns which get noticed, recalled and loved there are even fewer number which stand the test of time. I wrote about one such campaign – ‘Live richly’ from Citi a while ago. Another brand which deserves accolades and…

Remember ’30-minutes or your money back’ as a promise for pizza delivery? It was at a time when mobile apps were not the norm and worked through web bookings mostly. It disrupted service delivery in the category and forced all the players to follow suit. What was the problem it was trying to solve? While the consumer may have not expressed the need to have pizza delivered in 30-minutes, the latent problem was one of…

A social media post caused a diplomatic incident recently after a severe social media backlash over a social media post from Hyundai’s dealer in Pakistan. A #BoycottHyundai hashtag also trended in India. As many Twitter users began tagging the official handle, the social media team at Hyundai India protected their tweets and apparently also blocked a few users to boot. The official statement released initially wasn’t much of a clarification and spoke how the company…

‘Oh, brilliant advertising, how I miss you so’ is an inspirational series of posts on LinkedIn, curated by Gregg Benedikt, a Creative Director/Copywriter. Over there, I stumbled upon a hoarding as part of a famous campaign from Citibank, ‘Live Richly’, created in the early 2000s. It triggered a thought to attempt a series of posts on great campaigns from the past (aside from my weekly compilations) – gleaned from my memories and reading up on…

Back during my advertising days, not jus the copywriters, even the Account Management folks had to ‘write’ a lot. Minutes of meetings, creative briefs, emails or memos, communication proposal documents were all part of the job. I don’t know what kind of writing is expected of the present day advertising or digital agency folks, but these tips on writing skills – gleaned from an old deck (perhaps from the early 2000s) could be of use:…

As consumers, how often have we experienced a situation where we remember elements of an ad (such as a key visual, a character or the story line) but are unable to recall the brand? Some marketers think the solution lies in placing the brand logo on the screen right from the first frame of a TV commercial, having the brand repeated many times in a radio spot or increasing the size of the logo in…

I wrote a long post about the basics of marketing communications and the recent controversies around festive ads in India – particularly those of FabIndia and Fem. Last year too, Diwali ads faced social media backlash. The media discussions on this issue continue. I came across a segment featuring adman Bharat Dabholkar in a news channel video discussing the recent ad controversies. I agree with him on a a few things while disagreeing on others.…

The fundamentals of marketing communications is believed to be the same, be it in the traditional media world or the ‘new’ digital world. Bill Bernbach, ad legend and founder of DDB said famously: ‘it is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own’. Such motivations are not going to change…