If the baseline of a business channel is as powerful as 'Profit from it', the creative could rest assure that his job is almost done. But for the in-house communication team at business channel CNBC, this statement is merely the beginning of an endless creative journey. "The danger of being a business channel is that you can be seen as marginal; in other words, not so very critical in one's scheme of things. Which is why we emphasise on the business of life, implying that everything has a commercial undertone to it," asserts Zubin Driver, creative director, The Cell, a team of three comprising art director, Sweta Tejwaney and copywriter, Arun Iyer, apart from Driver who recently moved from ad agency, TBWAAnthem, to take charge of the channel's advertising and allied communication.
In fact, this very knowledge of being on shaky ground convinced the channel brass to take a long hard look at its positioning, which till two and a half years ago was essentially a "stocks channel".
The result is a brand new positioning that revolves around the heart and soul of business and economic activity. "We are a complete business channel," avers Driver. "And our appeal is that much wider now," he adds.
Programming time on the channel is divided into two prominent bands - the daytime market hours (9.30 am to 5.00 pm) and the evening prime band (7.00 pm to 11.00 pm). Layered over this primary offering are a series of in-house ground events such as the Managing India Brainstorm, Industry Vectors (sector-related), CNBC Auto Car Awards and Mutual Fund Awards. Global programming too takes up a fair amount of time on the channel, making for a very potent programming mix.
Now, if all these initiatives combine to make CNBC a very busy channel, the challenge for The Cell is that much tougher. "Appointment viewing is very high on the channel," claims Driver, implying that product and channel promos as well as advertising in allied media such as print and outdoor has to be a cut above the rest to arouse curiosity, steering clear of heavy jargon.
"The idea is to provoke the mind," claims Driver. "Tweak communication to give a strong message," which the team ensures by being an interface between editorial, marketing and sales. "That is the advantage we have of being part of a formal set-up. A dialogue sparks off an exchange of ideas, which only enhances the final creative product.
And dialogue does make a crucial difference. Sample these two print ads for the month-long industry special 'That's Entertainment' (telecast in December last year) for instance. The first one shows a man holding a radio set to his ears near a roadside tea stall oblivious to the world round him. The headline screams 'Runs a 15,000 crore industry'.
The second one has a man staring up at a huge billboard outside a theatre complex. The body copy in both cases emphasises the action 'backstage' (an obvious reference to the show) in simple language.
Take a third example. This print ad while announcing the launch of heath show, Good Life depicts a man in suit, deep in meditation. The headline declares 'Be Selfish. Breathe', a clear allusion to the hectic, stressed out lifestyle of working executives and the need to literally 'breathe' easy.
Apart from mainline advertising, direct marketing too forms an important component of The Cell's activities with the clincher being a sheer out-of-the-box solution. Some examples…. a box of chocolates, each representing a CNBC show with a little booklet for in depth details, a Storyboard umbrella sporting a 'definitive theory/short story' on 'umbrella brands', a table clock ensconced within the frame of a calendar on the occasion of New Year and of course, the familiar Storyboard brew served in a special mug at a Barista outlet as part of the advertising contest announced by the channel a few months ago.
"Our aim is to be consistent, push for a superior creative product, deliver honest solutions to augment the brand and yes, be accountable," claims Driver about The Cell's objectives.
The next phase of evolution will see The Cell brainstorming on behalf of other clients too. "Apart from having replaced the agency (TBWA), we do not rule out the possibility of working with new clients," he adds. Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!