Sayani & Dabolkar on 'creativity' at RAPA's tea meet

MUMBAI: It was a trip down the memory lane that brought in nostalgia as two industry stalwarts presented their career journeys. RAPA's tea meeting, held today at the Nehru Centre, celebrated legendary commercial broadcaster Ameen Sayani and ad man and theatre wizard Bharat Dabholkar.



Sayani jumpstarted the session stating, "Creativity is the sum total of your personality. The basis for good creativity will always be individualism."

Sayani began training as a radio broadcaster at the tender age of seven, under the guidance of his elder brother who was with All India Radio (AIR). He joined AIR as an English broadcaster for a number of years. Aspiring to spill into Hindi broadcasting as well, Sayani strived hard to better his language skills but AIR gave him no break.

He went on to join Radio Ceylon , a Sri Lankan based radio station that made an entry into India through an agency. Sayani chanced upon his first break into Hindi broadcasting at this radio station, his first assignment being reading out the Ovaltine spot. Post work on a number of little ads and announcements, Sayani stressed that he developed a unique sense of creativity in which everything he said reelected India and the growth of Indian ethos.



Soon, he was bestowed the responsibility of programming and anchoring a show called Geet Mala. With Rs 25 allocated to him to produce, script, and administrate the show, Sayani took his first step to becoming a seasoned broadcaster. The show was a competition of rearranging songs, which caught on in the '60s like a house on fire with letters galore.

Geet Mala was then modified to become the first ever countdown show India had ever witnessed, and luckily for Radio Ceylon and Sayani, the then I&B minister banned all film songs on AIR. The show became a rage and this is when Sayani started integrating the commercials into his script for better brand recall. The show was initially called Binaka Geet Mala, then went on to be known as Cibaca Geet Mala and finally Colgate Geet Mala.

Sayani emphasized on the need for clear communication as a recipe for success. While he said radio in India had come a long way, he also stated that a lot of commercials today failed to communicate the message, leaving the listener wondering.



Next to speak was the man who created the evergreen, smart and sassy Amul ads. Being the actor he is, Dabholkar kicked off his session feigning nervousness on being asked to speak and also managed to take a few digs at himself. He drove home the point that while making an ad one shouldn't keep in mind what is being said, but whom they are saying it to.

Dabholkar said that there are three ways that a product can be advertised. Either it should have a product, a marketing or an advertising advantage.

He referred to celebrity and brand ambassador advertising as lacking credibility and an over kill which does not really enhance the product properties. Attention, instead, is diverted to the celebrity.

Dabholkar referred to humour as an effective way of communicating a message. But he stressed that the humour had to emerge from the product itself. O&M's Feviquik (Fisherman) ad, he said, was one of the finest examples of product related humour.

"Creativity works in advertising and great ideas don't require too much money to be pumped in," were the man's parting words.


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