Abhishek Chanda
Advertising

<span class="htext1">How advertising has changed:</span> The instinct to herd still exists, now it's in electronic media: Gullu Sen

In the context of advertising, the message unlike the past is no longer a one-way process. Public opinion is far more mobilised, has immediate platforms for expression, thus adding a dynamic variable to the life of a brand

The past ten years have been an incredible journey for Indians and the world as a whole. From the 'war on terrorism' to single party dominance in the parliament to an unbelievable bullish market to a devastating meltdown to the emergence of young political leaders to niche films (Dil Chahta Hai, Kaminey) to Saas-Bahu serials to reality TV to India winning the T20 World Cup to Article 377, from email and the internet (iPods, Facebook, Orkut, ebooks, virtual gaming) to the mobile explosion; the graph looks like a wild roller coaster ride.

To top it all, the age of 75 per cent of India's population is below 36. What does it mean? A new order? A shakedown of the old value systems perhaps? Exuberance with a touch of insecurity, probably with a dash of cynicism? Today, seeing is believing. The choices we make today are not necessarily always driven by idealism but for more practical reasons. Exit the era of ideal romanticism.

<span class="htext1">How advertising has changed:</span> The instinct to herd still exists, now it's in electronic media: Gullu Sen
The archetypal loner is dead. The instinct to herd still exists, now it manifests itself in the electronic medium. Social networking is the raison d'etre. From gibberish to self-expression to opinions; self-representation has found an alternative platform changing social, interpersonal, professional relationships and their dynamics forever.

In the context of advertising, the message unlike the past is no longer a one-way process. Public opinion is far more mobilised, has immediate platforms for expression, thus adding a dynamic variable to the life of a brand. However, in the heartland the old traditional mediums continue to rule although the mobile revolution has managed to make inroads across these spaces. Polarity between the urban lifestyle and the semi urban/rural lifestyle cannot allow a single homogenised message. Different strokes for different folks.

I have always believed that the creativity in advertising could never exist in isolation without a context. The success of the final product completely depends on empathy and the relevance of the message it intends to deliver. The trigger for ideas and insights must necessarily come from the environment. The tone and manner of advertising is moving towards realism. There is an effort to connect at a very realistic level even at the cost of being a little irreverent, for instance, the Virgin mobile phone ads. Notwithstanding the discomfort of some people, situations in those films reflect real insights. I don't know much about the impact but it has started something. I see a shade of it in many other brands. Large brands are trying, more and more, to appropriate the current popular sentiments for their own brand - for instance, Tata Tea's Jaago Re. Ownership of generic property seems to be the order of the day. How long they can hold on to this platform is debatable, as the life of an advertising message doesn't seem to last more than four weeks. Fatigue is setting in quicker and faster. Consumer patience has become short and is seeking quicker gratification. Choices are many.

As per the role of a creative person, he/she is most often the face of his/her agency. From being a backend facilitator, he/she is now the impresario as far as the client is concerned. The orientation towards media has changed. It's not just TV/ print anymore, but also digital, BTL and ambient media.

The creative person has to be articulate, market-savvy, technologically skilled/armed, attuned to the current changes and patterns of the environment. All the while, the hunger for awards is increasing with time. India's presence is felt in most overseas award shows. Fifteen minutes of fame or building a brand or both? Film and music production has become at par with the world - sleek, smart and sharp. Having said all that the big idea still remains as elusive as ever.