The battle of the mediums!


So having been in advertising for two decades now, I looked back at the evolution of the industry from the point of insights, what works/worked concerning a particular range of communication exposed since 2000.
Interestingly, way back in the early 2000’s I was working on a notable MNC bank and had a fabulous, challenging environment thanks to the various segments and creating reasons why people should take a financial product, in many ways at it.
And cut to today, when I spend most of my time exploring categories and insights to a similar group. And I realised something exciting. The country in context is India. And I was amazed that while there are exciting ways in which technology employed and the route to connect to the customer has significantly changed. One thing remained the same. The talking points, the reasoning and the advertising. The talking points, the insights and what popular insurance or Mutual funds or lending companies were saying. Interestingly MF’s were getting people to understand Systematic Investment Plans in 2002, and they still are. Insurance talks about ELSS and coverage, and yes its even telling the same. Which brings me back to this discussion, while the products are the same and the insights are similar, most of the advertising and marketing looks the same. The thing about fashion repeating itself every decade or so may be the same reason? I don’t know but maybe if there are takers why not?

How this seems to be a standard in many categories and its impact on ‘advertising or communication’ is what I want to discuss. So you have a ‘Rin’ talking whiteness its entire life and ‘liril’ soap ads under waterfall till the end of humanity, creating brand salience or brand memorability or even fair and lovely will always get the woman married or get her that fancy job.
The discussion is for two reasons:
A) In a digital world, can a brand survive this, same insight, different day avatar and just execution relevance
B) Am I the only one feeling the lack of a twist in insights and thereof the execution spins merely the same ideas over and over again

Because in all trueness, marketing managers cannot just blame the agencies for not getting creative since you are circling the same insights, the same objective and possibly very similar product.

Interestingly, it probably does not seem to be a problem related to lack of new insights, cause in a country like India there is a whole ‘ billion’ continually pouring into this super consuming segment. And that is as they call it the “next billion” that is targeted by probably most of the household brands. The entire FMCG, white goods, travel, and a whole host of digital products concentrate on this segment.
The only issue is when these brands take on the digital bandwagon. Interestingly, the adaptation era is long over. Large agencies are holding insight intelligence on this, and that too is now evident in which direction that is heading.

So, yes I am looking out and waiting to see the battle of the creatives. Interestingly, one of the reasons India has adapted to a lot of ‘content led creation’ vs ‘Digital Social media Creative ideas’ seems to be a way to bypass the actual need to differentiate ‘digital creative excellence.’ But no sign of it shortly.
Amazing ideas offline, just an unfortunate portrayal of the same brand on its Facebook or Instagram.

So, as the title of this piece says, I feel it has to be the battle of the mediums. Unless marketers pitch one against the other and challenge the brief for mainline and for digital, I think its just going to continue in this manner, where digital creatives fall short, and we keep pressing the agency to get more creative on the digital front.
Just pushing the agency game is over, one needs to start showing them the money.
Simple, the new era of digitally aligned talent, are a young bunch that lack the years of creative experience, they probably get there soon. And the entire bunch of ultra-creative people keep focusing on Mainline when you can take it many notches up with their creativity in the digital space.

So, I am a firm believer in collaboration and only when the clients take the lead on identifying inspirational and passionate creative talent and spend as much on digital creations as they do on the mainline ones can you transcend this phase to greater glory.

And BTW, the latest buzzword on everyone talking is ‘social media marketing’ and ‘digital’. And to those mushrooming start-ups, who claim that they know everything on that subject, a humble and straightforward piece of advice: what works on SMM last week probably won’t work this week, and Marketing Managers I knew of are way too smart in knowing if you are who you claim to be.
Ok, coming to the video I have linked in this blog, its one of the more prominent films aired during the super bowl. An example of a main-line communication that is as ‘content-driven’ and a creative idea with a ‘digital Slant.’ ( for want of a better word, and will discuss more in an upcoming blog) that kept the audience rapt during Mainline exposure as well as ticks online. And no, its not just because it had all the ‘A’ List Celebrities.

So yes! all guns blazing, I am looking to be part of the battle myself!
So any takers, let’s get to War!

The Author is the CEO and Founder of BLU

Brand Leverage United (BLU), a Singapore based Brand and Communication Consultancy and a certified Personal Brand Strategist. She writes what touches her and what inspires her or something that is relevant to be taken note off. She focuses on Brands both products and people. All views are her own and do not represent any organization


fair use and content disclaimer

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