'The Block IX': Prahlad intimate about filmmaking

MUMBAI: How do you describe a man who is ancient and yet is probably one of the youngest irreverent minds of India? A man who has been a mentor for one to many in the advertising arena. A funny man who does not take himself


Thus 'The Block' - the 10 session creative workshop hosted by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) introduced session nine with no other that the much acclaimed Prahlad Kakkar of Genesis Film Production Pvt. Ltd.



An unconventional session, as it went against everything an ideal session should have been. The man didn't have a presentation, did not have many advertising clips to screen, did not of course have pointers; but inspite of the above, he managed not only to captivate but also humour his young creative audience.



Coming to the point, Kakkar in essence talked about unleashing an idea. Most people are very possessive about the idea. But, what one mush fathom, is that a good creative idea can take on different faces if allowed to be improvised on by key individuals in the creative process. The idea still remains intact, although when unleashed, the idea takes on a persona of its own. Hence, great ads become greater when one does not get obsessive and possessive about the idea.

Moving on to the sleek, absolutely picture perfect ads, absolutely appealing to the naked eye, Kakkar juxtaposed them to the masturbation experience. An absolute high for 10 minutes, followed by total eradication from one's memory. Sleek commercial fail to make a connect, fail to rake up real emotions and hence the exercise tends towards a short term one.

Kakkar reiterated that great ideas are very very simple. Restating his point of making an emotional connect and real advertising, he says, "Successful advertising is advertising that can be taken away."

Isolation, alienation

Talking about the Pepsi as a brand, he took us down the psyche of the Pepsi brand value, the anticlimax of it becoming numero uno in India, and hence the metamorphosis from being an irreverent number two to not being so irreverent as no 1 in India.

One key learning of the session was that you might me an excellent script or copy writer, but if one cannot communicate and express what he or she is seeing or feeling, more often than not, one's copies will be canned simply due to the lack of connect. Hence communication and expression are

equally important features for creative.

Sometimes, one comes out with an audacious ad. An ad which is bold but also makes that connect. One such ad that Kakkar screened was the Parle Smoothies toffee. The ad which was rejected by the client is truly audacious but Kakkar says, we talked from the heart and if it had aired, it would have made a difference.

Foreign client! This was one arena no one covered. Kakkar made a very valid and not so known point when he gushed, "Foreign clients will only accept mediocre work for the Indian market, simply because of their low opinion of the country." Talking about how wrong the foreigners have got us, he says that as a country we might be extremely corrupt, might be an extreme of a lot of things, but what cannot be taken away from us, is that we are survivors and a country of enormous amount of sophistication.

Although, international clients don't understand this and hence decide to churn out extremely basic advertising for the Indian market, failing to understand the Indian intellect as well as Indian sophistication.

Coming to a more topical concern of celebrity advertising, Kakkar said that it was a very trick proposition, specially if you are dealing with brand ambassadors like Bachchan and Tendulkar, as they have been done to death and are common among a whole gamut of brands. Having said that, Kakkar screened an ad of Navratna hair oil. The ad starts of with Bachchan talking about his career in the film industry and the highs and lows that he had to go through. And then the real anticlimax is when he says, that I could manage all this because of Navratna hair oil.

Everybody was in splits, and yes, the ad made its mark. The ad was requested to be screened again. The strategy was essentially reverse branding, so instead of the brand introducing Bachchan, here it was Bachchan introducing the brand.

One grouse that Kakkar voiced was that most agencies do not get involved in the production process and urged the creative minds there not to alienate but become a part of that whole process.

A concluding message from the heart that went out to the young agency gang was "Swallow your ego and become a part of the whole creative process. Become a part of production too."

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