Indian advertising is changing

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | December 26, 2005
At a seminar conducted in Mumbai recently, ad veterans such as Ajay Chandwani, Josy Paul and Anant Kurien spoke on Indian culture in advertising, emerging new media, challenges faced by Indian advertising due to globalisation and lots more

It is already happening

abroad. Whether it is catching up in India, is the question.

As per a survey conducted by a news portal a few months ago, 87 per cent of visitors felt that admen should use 'real women' in advertising. In fact, in North America, women themselves were getting fed up with watching the stereotypical anorexic women that were shown in ads for soaps and beauty products.

As a brand, Dove decided to take up the challenge, and launched a campaign around 6-7 months ago, showing 'real' women - women who are not ashamed of the imperfections in their bodies - posing in bikinis.

"So, with this example, one can clearly make out that advertising is being influenced more and more by reality," said Ajay Chandwani, CEO, Percept H, at 'Prime Time 2005', a seminar on advertising, marketing and media organised by HR College, Mumbai on 'The Future of Advertising'.

Josy Paul, national chairman, David, spoke about the emergence of viral marketing as a new media tool. "It is a popular saying that 'the medium is the message'. Never has it been truer," said Paul. "For instance, if someone puts out a message on the internet, it influences others, and shapes opinions. The Dove example is perfect, where the 'viral' factor helped in changing the content of advertising."

Chandwani of Percept H also added that mobile phones, in addition to the internet, are the tools for the future. "There is great convergence happening in media, at a fast rate. For example, one can watch television on his/her mobile phone. Things will no longer be limited to the term, 'mass media'. Personalised media is the way to go as far as advertising is concerned."

Talking about Indian culture and its effect on advertising, Paul said, "As Indians, we haven't fully explored our own culture and the possibilities it holds. The start of the cultural push in advertising, according to me, happened with the Femina 'Generation W' commercial, which showed the woman making the first move on the wedding night."

Ad filmmaker Anant Kurien spoke about creative Indian minds making their mark abroad as well. He cited an example for an Ariel ad shot a few years ago, where the challenge was to show the sequence of dirt getting off a cloth after washing it with Ariel. "We dipped the cloth in a chemical, by which the dirt went off too quickly. We therefore, used crushed thermocol and made it look like the colour of dirt. We then stuck it on the cloth, and dipped it in the solution. The dirt came off rather naturally then," Kurien said.

Kurien said that this nugget, which originated in India, was filed away in Procter & Gamble's 'Book of Learning' - a reference point for P&G, globally.

Paul, too, cited the example of an ad done for Perfetti's Alpenliebe in Italy, for which the creative idea originated in Ogilvy & Mather, India.

Commenting on the challenges faced by Indian advertising due to globalisation, Chandwani said, "In the case of certain brands, there is a worldwide positioning which is thrust upon all countries. But we are lucky at other times, when we get to formulate our own strategies. That is where the challenge for India lies: standing up for itself and making ads that work here."

"Also, we need to come up with ideas that will work across 10-12 languages. Something in Marathi may not work for another regional Indian language. Balancing all these is again another challenge," added Chandwani.

Paul cited Unilever's campaign for Persil, 'Dirt is Good', saying, "Here is one example of adapting an idea so well in India. Lowe has done an excellent job with Surf Excel and 'Daag Achhe Hain' by adding the whole kids' angle."

Chandwani concluded by saying that the new buzzword for Indian advertising is 'Glocal', which is a combination of global ideas, and local insights.

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