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CII Brand Summit: Consumer connect is no rocket science, says Balki

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 21, 2005
Balki illustrates his point by showcasing a series of Lowe commercials


It was the second and concluding day of the CII Brand Summit. Two days of fervent brainstorming, powerpoint presentations, statistics and a barrage of questions to find out the magic formula for connecting to the consumer. & #BANNER1 & #

It took Balki, executive creative director, Lowe, less than twenty minutes and a handful of TVCs to make his point.

"Connecting to the consumer is no rocket science," he declared. "We treat the consumer as some sort of an alien, a strange creature. But consumer connect is what 'we' do as people," he said.

Balki's presentation was short and simple. A series of commercials that Lowe has devised for various clients was used to demonstrate how some of the most successful campaigns, were born out of simple, everyday ideas that stare at our faces, but which is often overlooked.

He cited the example of the Fair and Lovely commercial which shows a girl aspiring to be a cricket commentator, and finally making it, with a little help from the fairness cream. "We have been working on Fair and Lovely for three-four years now, and we were fed up with doing commercials every year," he said. That fatigue factor inspired the agency to come up with the much-talked-about campaign. "At the end of the day, it is just a fairness cream. We didn't want to say that it performs miracles, but helped you a little in getting what you wanted," he explained.

The Balbir Pasha campaign was similarly borrowed from the truth that people don't like being talked to. "But the moment you tell them a story about what happened to someone else, they are all ears," he pointed out.

Balbir Pasha is a fictional character who has multiple sexual partners, and does not use condoms. He is used as a talking point, his life is fodder for gossip, and whether people with a similar lifestyle want to acknowledge it or not, Pasha makes them reconsider their decisions.

The award-winning Saint Gobain commercial was also inspired by the simple fact that people often bang into glass doors (as someone in the Lowe office actually did!). "Blowing into the glass is often a little game that we play and the campaign was just putting the two together," he said. Balki also showed the Lifebuoy, VIM and VIP 360 degree commercials to illustrate his point. "It is not really the brand, because honestly speaking, how important are these things to us? It is the core idea that connects to people," he said.

Later during the Q&A session, when a delegate asked whether such commercials were simply a showcase for creativity, Balki's repartee was, "No one pays us for creativity. That is what we only do at the end of the year, in the last week of December, with an eye on the Ad Club Awards."

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