'The Block X': Capitalising on creative opportunities

MUMBAI: Going beyond advertising was the essence of the finale of 'The Block' - the 10 session creative workshop hosted by the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).

Thus acclaimed Alok Nanda & Co Communications CEO and former national creative director of Grey, Alok Nanda stressed on the capitalisation of creative opportunities.



Nanda reiterated that the single most valuable asset was knowledge as everything else can be replicated. And therefore before creating an ad, it is crucial to have an understanding of the clients' culture. Going beyond meeting the brand manager and meeting the HR and maybe production people may just give one some amazing findings.


Who is your most important target audience?

This was a very interesting insight. Nanda says it is key to first motivate your employees and make them understand what their brand stands for. Interestingly, the only serious TVC, made by Starbucks till date was never aired. Why? They didn't need to as their target audience was their employees. The experience is the USP of Starbucks, and hence their employees need to be motivated enough as well as have a fair understanding of their own brand.

A client (undisclosed) came to ANC worried that his brand name was a generic, and that many fakes had sprouted in the market. After analyzing the situation, Nanda explained that the clients' lame excuse for their own lack of self esteem. ANC conducted an internal motivation programme by creating ads for the company staff.

An extremely thoughtful way of dealing with the problem. The key learning here - understanding the culture of the company will help you sell your ads well.

A funny point brought to notice was Banks' who make tall claims as to ' We understand you better' sprawled across newspapers, when you get calls asking if you would be interested in a credit card or a housing loan not knowing you are already an existing client of the company. There, ads then stand alone as totally inane, failing to make not even a remote connect with the customer.

Moving onto tackling marketing issues of clients, Nanda asked an extremely interesting question.

"What's the single biggest breakthrough in the FMCG sector in India in the last decade?"

Surprisingly, it did not come from the HLLs or the P&Gs, but a small company in the south, with the debut of Chik shampoo in the service package format. (1 Rs sachets).

Which brought him to the packaging front, which is currently an ignored frontier. A case study which brings this out the best is the Heinz packaging which had labels on the bottle with funny messages. A mass brand with a brilliant concept.

What a brand brief won't tell you?

The evolution of the brand, the remarkable malling ( Malls explosion) taking place and the upcoming markets and the multibrand store.

Therefore, one of the most strategic questions a client asks today is 'How do I get a customer into a stand alone shop with the increase of multibrand stores?'

Lee handled this by setting up a designer store in terms of the appeal value of their store. They redesigned it, ensuring that it would lure customers into walking into their shop. Smart innovation and an alternative for advertising. Works out, the concept did very well for Lee in Delhi.

Another important pointer was urban spaces, "If you look at the urban space as the media space then it leads to a variety of distinct openings.

The work of marketers offers for greater creative opportunities than just advertising. Grab them says the man.

Moving on to the progression of copies in today's age, Nanda says taking the example of Diesel, the international research company, the copy is subservient to the stylized mode. The copy in essence spoofs stereotypes and the work is a complete reflection of the owners.

Advertorials is another avenue that lend themselves to a great copy. Other examples which could be great advertising avenues were annual reports, visiting cards, signages to name a few.

The final urge of the session as well as the 'The Block' itself was because so much powerful advertising that is happening around, brands today are failing to fit the connect of a brand in a consumers life. Look beyond, were the man's golden words.

And…. That was the conclusion of 'The block' series. Speaking to the young creative minds who attend the sessions, there seemed to be united on one front, " 'The Block' was definitely value for money."

Three cheers to the triple A's of I.

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