Advertising is one profession which needs new ideas non-stop.
|Harsh Shahani,senior copywriter,Dattaram, was very unhappy with the state of affairs.The BIG IDEA was eluding him.The Ted Lapidus brief with all the paraphernalia that went with it sorrounded him.He looked at it hard,waiting fort something to happen. Nothing did. Finally, he put on his thinking cap. in this case, the Ted Lapidus shopping bag.
Rahul Dhaimade, visualiser, came into the room and found Harsh wearing the bag. Unfazed, she took a good look around and suggested, 'Why not fill the bag with the Beatles, naked?' After all, Ted Lapidus was the brand patronised by the Beatles in their hey-day. Voila, harsh had his big idea.
Just what is this big idea? Ask Govind Sajnani, industry veteran, and he comes back another five questions. "Is it a thought?'Is it an emotion deeply buried in the product? is it a theme revolutionary in concept? Is it a value traditional in garb? Is it something that already exists or is it something created anew?' Then the profound answer:'It is all this and more.'
In essence, a big idea is something that wheedles its way into the mind of its prospect, and nestles there,sweet and simple, and quietly keeps working on the sub-concious.
Take a look, there are plenty of them going around. In recent times, SurfUltra's Dhoondte Reh Jaoge, which describes effect, Raymonds' Complete Man Campaign that gives the suiting the personality of the wearer, the Essar graphic mnemonic of 'I' to suggest the positive attitude of the company.
There always has to be a single BIG IDEA behind any single advertisement.
Ivan Arthur, executive vice president and national creative director of HTA, agrees.'There ought to be a single big idea in any advertising for the paradoxical reason that most advertising is not singleminded in intention. Advertisements are always trying to say as many things about their products as possible.
'For instance, while doing the Godrej Campaign, we wanted to tell the customer that Godrej refrigerators were strong and sturdy and durable and reliable and had the latest technology; that they were termite proof, kept in the coolness longer, saved electricity, were more compact, better looking and very, very modern. We also knew that the customer couldn't absorb all of that in one go. So we created Puf. He wasn't just polyurethane foam. He stood for a multiplicity of refrigerating virtues.'
In effect, a big idea is like a doctor's capsule.It contains a lot of things, neatly packaged, which you can have in one neat swallow.See what a capsule the Ted Lapidus shopping bag turned out to be! It established the pionering spirit of the brand.It provided the idea for some very interesting headlines and visuals.It provided the creative vehicle that carried the local marketing strategy concerned with brand awareness through. In Harsh Shahani's words,'Ted Lapidus who? became Ted Lapidus wow.!'
Obviousely the harbinger of the big idea is put on a pedestal. Gangadharan, creative consultant, Mudra,describes him as 'The life of an agency.'
Arthur in his own inimitable way, asks,'Well, how important is the father in the birth of a child? How important is the mother? And how important are the midwife, the nurse, the dietician? Effective, distinctive advertising happens with the help of midwives,nurses, dieticians. But the idea is fathered by a brilliant copywriter together with a brilliant art director.'
And what about the TV producers, directors, account planners and others who play midwife to a big idea? Gangadharan explains the creative process very scientifically.
'Distil a brief into a single-minded thought. Think of ideas to communicate that proposition.Then think of words that go with the ideas.'
Nalesh Patil, another creative consultant with Mudra, explains the visual and verbal balance in advertising with the help of three of the agency's campaigns. The Hong kong bank campaign created by Narayan Kumar and Sachin Bavkar, both creative consultants. Here, the copy element predominates. Also, the bright red background seems to command you to stop and read.
Second,the E-square campaign, created by Zaheer Mirza and Albert Bardon. Here there is a 50-50 mix of the verbal and the visual. The task set for the creative team was to launch a magazine for a workaholic executive orentrepreneur.The creative idea called for an interplay of business jargon with a visual, set in unexpected situations.
Third, the Indian Seamless Groupm campaign, where the visual element clearly predominates. the same headline fits perfectly with a different visual each time. Patil and Ganagadharan call it a 'dream of a campaign that grows on you.'
According to the latter, this verbal-visual connection is like a see-saw, that sometimes tips this way, and sometimes that, and occasionely is perfectly balanced.
This brings us down to the nitty gritty-the written word. Everyone in the advertising business thinks he can write copy. but is it as easy as that? Well, says Arthur,'everyone in advertising thinks he can write copy because everyone in advertising CAN write copy. Account executives can write copy sometimes-clients can write copy-all the time. Why, today you will find that even copywriters can write copy-at least some of them can some of the time. The fact of the matter is anyone can write the kind of copy that anyone can write.'
Flip through magazines today and you will recognise the style of Mr. and Mrs. Anyone as copywriter. But happily there are a handful of copywriters who write the kind of copy that not 'Anyone' can write.
Like Bharti Sankarna of Dhoondte Reh Jaoge fame. Bharti is now senior copywriter with Rediffusion. A great crusader, she took on the agency she worked for, in print, for sidelining her during the Ad club Awards. More importantly, she survived to tell the tale, going from strendth to strength or rather, campaign to campaign. Her latest campaign is the Colgate-Palmolive aftershave. Most aftershaves use macho men and swooning women as the central idea. Bhart chose to use the fragrance as the USP. According to her, what sets Palmolive Aftershave apart is its fragrance.So, her film has the boy meets girl story with a twist. The 'hand of fragrance ' actually goes to the girl, beckons her to the man and politely shuts the door after them.
Bharti feels that copywriting is a profession that requires a lot of reilience.An ability to take rejections,an open mind to accept other opinions.