Be inspired but don't emulate West, Asian advertisiers urge

JAIPUR: "Inspiration not emulation." That was the central text of most of the presentations on Asian advertising that was on show these last two days.



The best of Asian advertising showcasing campaigns from Thailand, Philippines, Korea, Pakistan, Japan and India had that central message being given by more than one presenter. That while it was necessary to get ideas from western ads, aping them was not what it was meant to be about.

David Droga

Interestingly the line 'Inspiration not emulation' itself, was thrown up by David Droga, worldwide creative director of Publicis Worldwide, who exhorted advertisers to get back to the basics and aim to achieve emotional relevance in their campaigns.

Droga said that age and the experiences he'd imbibed as an Australian working first in Asia, then London, and now in the US had made him strongly believe in this principle.

He gave the example of an campaign he had run for the National Health Service in the UK when there was a grave shortage of nurses. The ad, which was completed in double quick time and on a low budget, became the most successful ad response-wise (350,000 applications came in) that the British government had ever run, Droga said. (An aside: age is not exactly the word that comes to mind, especially considering the way the women in the media centre - and the main auditorium as well, no doubt - were drooling over him).

Tarsem Singh

And while a mellow Droga was all about emotive resonance, Tarsem Singh, true to expectations was visually awsome. But this writer would tend to disagree with moderator Stefano Hatfield contributing editor of Advertising Age & Creativity magazine who termed Singh's work visually arresting and emotionally engaging. Visually arresting certainly, but emotionally engaging? Questionable. What was most memorable from Singh's repertoire were the far out Pepsi videos as well as the Levi jeans campaigns. Brilliant.

Ricardo Semler

However, what for this writer was really visually arresting and emotionally engaging was without a doubt the work that Brazilian Marcello Serpa, creative director and co-CEO, Almap/BBDO, had to show. Is it just a coincidence that one of the most engaging speakers of AdAsia 2003 was another Brazilian, Ricardo Semler, president, Semco S/A, Brazil?

Marcello Serpa

How do you describe the advertising that Serpa showcased? Samba beat would be a good way to describe it. In fact Serpa segmented the ads he showed into four segments that pretty much covers what the world perceives of Brazil - humour, sex, religion (Catholic) and soccer (Pele).

And in case you think that the ads which had sex (it was titled 'Sex, sex, sex' by the way) as the underlying theme was just about beautiful bods in bikinis, there was more to them. They were extremely funny ads that were great brand endorsements (which is after all what the whole exercise is about).

Piyush Pandey

Three other advertising luminaries who showcased their work toady were India's very own Piyush Pandey, group president and national creative director, O&M; Jeff Goodby, co-chairman/creative director, Goodby Silvertsein and Yukio Nakayama, senior creative director, Dentsu Inc, Japan.

Jeff Goodby

As for what Pakistani advertising had to offer, Seema Jaffer, creative director & COO, Bond Advertising, presented the Pakistan showcase yesterday. Jaffer pointed out that advertising in her country like its society, was changing rapidly, with satellite television in particular being the biggest driver for that change.

Yukio Nakayama

As far as the advertising is concerned though, in many respects it looked like a poor cousin of what is seen in India. One standout campaign that stuck in the mind however, was the ad for the peppermint sweet polo. Brilliant one thought.

Seema Jaffer

Making a special reference to the Pakistani delegation's stay in India, Jaffer concluded her presentation by saying, "Thank you for the warmth and affection that the entire Pakistani delegation got here."

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