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Points of View: Should Advertising Simplify Technology?

By Ashee Sharma , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 13, 2015
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As products and services become increasingly tech-heavy, how important is it for advertising to convey the message while 'keeping it short and simple'?

Amit Akali, managing partner and creative head, What's Your Problem

Amit Akali

The more complicated the product or technology, the simpler should be the advertising. Advertising should just try to focus on bringing alive the consumer benefit. Clients should explain the product to the agency by whatever means possible.

Thereafter, it is the agency's responsibility to get into the consumer's head, figure out what role the product is playing in his life and communicate that in the simplest of words. A good creative person should be able to understand any product.

The solution lies in the media mix. Television should be used for reach and to create a need for the product in the consumer's life. The call-to-action can then bring them to the website or other information sources, where the technology can actually be explained. If you try to do too much with the TVC, you'll end up doing nothing.

Ashish Virmani, AVP - marketing, FreeCharge

Ashish Virmani

The first step in the brand building journey is education. Awareness alone is unlikely to drive intent for the brand. It is the responsibility of the client and agency to crisply articulate their assumptions about the customer's knowledge of the category and their expectations from the product first. The agency's team should make an effort to understand the product better, how it works and what problem it solves for customers. They should also do enough customer interaction to verify if the brand's assumptions about its audience hold true.

In India, TV is still indispensable for building a mass brand. But, now that digital is becoming prominent, brands can come up with long-form explainer videos that can be amplified on digital channels at lower costs. Print ads can also carry detailed info, but as the medium is high on cost, it should first be used for experimenting and validating.

Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult

Rajiv Dingra

Technicalities are not easy to explain in a 30-seconder. Moreover, an advertisement's main purpose is to communicate consumer benefit, not the technology behind a product. Once the core benefit is understood, it gives an impulse to sample it.

Digital finds relevance here. Its relevance extends beyond product positioning because, in addition to creating awareness, it allows more detailing compared to a TVC or a single print ad.

The agency and client share the responsibility of simplifying the product for the consumer. But digital spends of most brands hover at 10-20 per cent. Since the client has to take care of the larger budgets, details are lost. The challenge for the agency is to ask the right questions and get relevant information.

Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults

Harish Bijoor

It is certainly important for advertising to make technology customer friendly. The moment people find it as easy as breathing and are able to seamlessly interact with it, things will work. That said, most cases of advertising are actually teaser trailers to the product.

A TVC is like a page-turner, it is an encouragement to find out more. If looking at it excites you, you might also want to explore what's there on digital. Tomorrow there might be an even more detailed message that comes on your phone via WhatsApp! Hence, a multimedia approach is important.

Although advertising language needs to evolve along with the trend, it is primarily the client's responsibility to ensure that a customer is kept hooked beyond the initial excitement. Advertisements are essentially meant to begin a conversation, they do not tell the complete story.

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