Points of View: Does Good Packaging Help Win Awards?

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 13, 2015
India does not lack creative talent, but lags behind when it comes to presentations during international awards. We find out how important this aspect is when it comes to winning awards.

India doesn't lack creative talent. Several campaigns churned out by Indian agencies are high on effectiveness and recall. While India's creative campaigns have often been applauded, not many awards have come her way.

India's metal tally at international awards has not increased substantially. Which makes us wonder if we, as a country, lack presentation skills? And, if so, what are the basic factors one must keep in mind before sending a case video to the jury, which comprises people from different regions and cultures. We asked experts their take on the matter, now that they are on the other side of the table, judging.

Santosh Padhi, co-founder, Taproot

Santosh Padhi

A great debate has been brewing on the international jury scene - that of the making of an idea. People invest time, effort and money to create 'the making'. Then, the jury is left wondering: do we judge the idea or how the idea has been brought out?

For example, a campaign from Tropicana had wires connecting real oranges to a neon sign, which signified the energy it gives. This won at Cannes for not just Ambient, but also in the Films category. So much effort goes in the storytelling that an average idea also looks wonderful.

I, personally, am in favour of the idea and not how we tell the idea. No matter how great an idea, you can always put it on a Post-It. As far as local context goes, just explain it and tell your story like you tell the consumers. At times, over-explaining and over-analysis makes the jury lose interest.

Amer Jaleel, NCD, Lowe Lintas

Amer Jaleel

When presenting to an international jury, you have to keep in mind the cultural nuances. For example, in the case of our 'Gondappa' (Lifebuoy) film, if the jury had not understood the concept of 'mannat', it would have been trashed. Then, it would just look like an insane move to walk around on your hands.

Many people complain that the AV has a time limit. But, if we can tell a tale, make a pitch and make people buy in 30 seconds, then why can't we - in a two-minute case video - make the jury understand a cultural context?

Singularity of an idea is important. People tend to crowd challenges and hurdles in order to impress. Identifying a singular idea of what is needed is very effective.

Amit Akali, managing partner and creative head, WYP

Amit Akali

Among international awards, Cannes is a slightly different ball game. Firstly, the Cannes jury is the most diverse in the world. For each category, there are 20-25 jury members, from 20-25 different countries and not all of them are equally comfortable with English. In such a scenario, it helps to use simpler words. Subtitles help.

The cultural background needs to be explained. It helps if there are a lot of visuals, shots of the background story, of the consumers. Secondly, it is important to catch the jury's attention in the first 15 seconds. Come to the idea quickly.

Good crafting helps - catchy graphics, well written headlines - the rules of writing a good script or creating a good print ad, apply to AV as well. But, at the end of the day, the best AV in the world can't make an ordinary idea or execution win.

Vipul Salvi, NCD, Geometry Global India

Vipul Salvi

It is not just the packaging. When we start working, we often think about awards. The work that wins big is the one that is genuine and path-breaking. Again, if we are entering six different categories, we need six different edits and six different ways to write.

Another factor is the production value of films. While we spend a lot on shooting an ad film, often travelling to exotic locations, we pay only a little for an activation film. Obviously, it falls flat. We have to treat activation and documenting as an art and not as a last-minute thing.

Moreover, you have to seed your work well. Have a robust digital plan consisting of PR, media spends, digital and social.

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