Raushni Bhagia

Goafest 2013: "I don't like to watch ads on TV": R S Sodhi, Amul

The Conclave at Goafest 2013 started with reactions from advertisers, who shared their experiences from agency interactions.

The call for the 'Time to Listen' started out with the address of Srinivasan Swamy, chairman, Goafest Advertising Conclave, who kick-started the festival by welcoming all advertising professionals. Arvind Sharma, president, AAAI then addressed the need of the theme (Time to Listen) and explained that it was tough to ask the advertisers (client-side) to come to 'our' platform and explain what frustrates them about advertising. He thanked the speakers while introducing them.

Goafest 2013: "I don't like to watch ads on TV": R S Sodhi, Amul
Goafest 2013: "I don't like to watch ads on TV": R S Sodhi, Amul
Goafest 2013: "I don't like to watch ads on TV": R S Sodhi, Amul
Goafest 2013: "I don't like to watch ads on TV": R S Sodhi, Amul
Goafest 2013: "I don't like to watch ads on TV": R S Sodhi, Amul
"Even I don't like to watch ads on TV these days," started R S Sodhi, MD, GCMMF (Amul). After a disclaimer to clarify that he wasn't talking about any particular agency, he explained several problems faced by advertisers in their interactions with agencies.

Sodhi charmed the audiences by picking out some extremely interesting and obvious 'Don'ts' for the agencies. The most interesting one that he mentioned was that the agencies should always sell the 'product' and not the 'creator of the campaign'. He stressed on the thought that awards were not required in the creative industry, since the most talked about ads (by the consumers) are the best ones.

Comparing the agency-client relationship with the institution of marriage, he said, "Since I (client) earn and the agency spends, I am the husband and the agency is the wife. However, we have two wives - DaCunha Communications and Draftfcb Ulka," he quipped.

Sodhi aggressively vouched for the importance of trust as an ingredient in the relationship. He said that as far as the Amul ads are concerned, "We, the client, and our customers see the ads together once they are up on the hoardings. But if things go wrong, we face the music together."

He advocated that the ad agencies should be handed over the complete custody of the client's budgets. "We have clearly assigned 1 per cent (of the annual turnover) as the advertising budget. It's rather come down to 0.8 per cent in the last three years. It's for the agency to take care that the annual turnover goes up, if the budgets are to increase."

An important aspect highlighted by Sodhi (and often missed by the agencies, he said) is that campaigns are not created for client approvals. The campaigns are created for the customers, and agencies need to understand the psyche of the TG and work accordingly.

After Sodhi, Arundhati Bhattacharya, MD, SBI Capital Markets expressed her views on the agency-client interaction as a public sector representative. She seconded Sodhi and added that the thing that bothers her most is the half page ads on the front pages of the newspapers as they interfere with reading. "If you wish to put it on the front page, please ask for a full-page ad," she exclaimed.

Bhattacharya started her session with a reference to Sodhi's description of the client-agency relationship, asserting that these days, even wives are earning! She explained that at the big public sector firms, managing 10 agencies' panel while maintaining consistency is all the more hectic.

She emphasised that the agencies must explain the quantity of work which they can deliver while the pitch is on, so that a correlation can be drawn between the fee and the output.

Suresh Bandi, deputy managing director, Panasonic India, at the end of the first half of the conclave stressed on the fact that value for money is what everyone is looking for and so are the advertisers. He stated that agencies can only grow if the clients stay longer with them and that will happen only when the clients get value for money.

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