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JWT's Davis urges ad men to think out-of-the-box

MUMBAI: Advertising needs to stop interrupting what people are interested in and start becoming what people are interested in. That was the premise of JWT Worldwide creative head honcho Craig Davis' presentation, who is in India currently.

The presentation titled "The 31st Second" was made by Davis in Mumbai on 25 May and was well attended by clients as well as creative heads.

Creative guys such as Mike Khanna, Ranjan Kapoor, John Goodman, Colvyn Harris and Ajay Chandwani from the agencies and Bharat Ranga (Zee) and Albert Almeida (Max) were present from the client's side. Also present was JWT Asia Pacific area director Patrick Pitcher.

 

 

Davis began his presentation by saying that this was the most exciting times for anyone to be in advertising because the appetite of the audience is changing dramatically and also because technology is making new things possible. One more interesting reason he pointed out was that a lot of things that earlier used to work well with audiences were not working as well now, which in turn meant that creative people had to become more inventive, competitive, imaginative and original.

"One proposed shift occurring is that consumers have never had a higher measure of control before. That is one reason why creative people have to be more human and instinctive as that is how audience respond to the work we do," Davis says.

He stressed on the fact that it was time to move away from the age of interruption to the age of engagement. "The choice of more and more brands and also as many creative agencies are increasing consumers' choice to pick and choose. This range of change is not going to settle down as the only thing constant is yet more change," stresses Davis.

Furthermore he went on to say that communication only works at its best when there is a great idea backing it. "There is a lot of scope for agencies to show their creativity as there are many big clients with major work who are there in the market. There are huge confluences at work now as a lot of clients are hungry for success," he adds.

 

 

Emphasizing on the fact that as new technology like TiVo and DVRs, which allows people to watch television programmes at their own convenient time, are making their presence felt in the international market; the ads will tend to get avoided. "In North America, 60 per cent of programmes are watched at a time different from the original telecast time. Also, 92 per cent of ads today are skipped. The situation is quite different in India, but it won't take time to change," Davis says.

In today's hectic life, people hardly have the time for ads and hence they tend to ignore it. What advertising should try and do is stimulate people by what regulators will allow. People have a lot on their minds and hence tend to ignore the messages that they are bombarded with every waking minute of the day.

"The consumer is dead. Advertising objectifies people and they have a lot of control over us and what we do. Hence the focus should be to treat the consumer as our new client," Davis says.

The whole idea should be to create work that would resonate much beyond the duration of telecast on television and radio. The same goes for print and outdoor too. The ultimate aim being to become the thing that people are interested in.

Citing JWT's role, Davis says that the aim was to get more people to spend more time with their clients' brands. The agency's purpose, on the other hand was to create ideas that people would want to spend more time with. And finally, the agency's belief was that the better the idea, the more time people would spend with it.

Concluding the presentation, Davis made an interesting analogy between advertising agencies and the newspaper industry. He said that both believed that the world was waiting to hear what they had to say.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. "We have to explore the possibilities in new mediums and think of most effective and interesting ways to capture audiences' attention," he says.

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