O.R. Radhakrishnan
Guest Article

CRED… not everyone gets it: A copywriter's take

An adman and writer gushes about the CRED ads – and tells us why it holds a mirror to both, agencies and their clients.

Ok, so let’s talk about the ads for CRED. Not everyone gets it - that’s the baseline. However, I feel the baseline should be, not everyone gets it so bang on! From idea to execution, they just nailed it.

Generally, in celebrity endorsed ads, the celebrities tend to over-shadow the brand they’re advertising. In other words, those ads sell them –the celebs, that is – rather than the brand or the product in question. In fact, it’s not uncommon that we often remember the celeb but forget the brand itself.

But this one, nah. What makes these set of ads by CRED special is that the brand is bigger than the celebs. Much, much bigger.

Kudos to those who managed to sell these ads. And I have huge respect for the celebs who took it up. In the last 20 years that I have been in advertising, if there is one common conversation that I have heard in all the agencies that I have worked at, especially with respect to ads with celebs in them, is, “They won’t agree to this kind of script dude”. Well, this one puts that question to rest once and for all. It’s all about how good you are with your selling skills. And to be honest, being in an ad agency, selling your own product – the ad that you believed in, namely – shouldn’t be difficult, right?

Another thing that made me sit up and notice this campaign, was the approach. And this where I would like to give full credit to the client. I have always been a believer of the idea that best pieces of work in our industry are only born out of instinctive gut feel and not research and analysis. And this campaign proves me right yet again. It clearly looks like a one-line brief from the client, given straight to a creative, with all PPTs, planning, research, quali, quanti, aunty, all weeded out. I may be wrong, but that’s what it looks like to me. It takes a lot of guts to do it this way. Because there is only yourself to blame if it doesn’t work. And thankfully, on this one, their conviction paid off.

Now, let’s talk about the ad agency that made this stunning campaign come alive. Errr…what? This isn’t done by any ad agency? Oh, ouch!

Honestly, that hurts me. Because, here is one campaign that I really loved after a long, long time and it is not the work of any fellow members of my community. Come on, isn’t this is the kind of work every advertising agency wants to do? I have been in many. I can vouch for it. But if such creatively inclined clients are prefering to look beyond agencies for their creative solutions, it is a serious cause of concern. It reflects the way clients have started perceiving ‘an agency’.

Now, having said that, it also makes me feel good at some level. Because this is a great wake-up call for ad agencies. This is their playground. Their time to reclaim what is rightfully theirs; they need to up their game. They should let maths take the backseat and start to back their gut feel and conviction a whole lot more.

Maybe, while talking to clients, it’s time for them to push back, when, under the pretext of research and analysis, they are forced to make glorified and expensive PPTs masquerading as ads.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not against reasearch and analysis. It’s a great tool when used well. But more often than not, they are used as the Bible by clients to ruin worthy creative work. Probably, this is where agencies need to stand up, put their foot down and tell clients to start believing in the creative minds they have hired.

Finally, thank you Tanmay Bhat for such a lovely campaign.

(The author is a creative consultant and screenplay writer, with two decades of copywriting experience.)