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Marketers should think phone first, big screen second: McGarryBowen’s Gordon Bowen

The industry needs people who are creative and can work in synergy with data partners.

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GOA: McGarryBowen founder and global chairman Gordon Bowen feels that techno-centric India is in a favourable position for advertisers and marketer. However, the creators in the country might miss out on the sea of opportunities this world holds as they think of bigger screens first and cut the same to fit on phones. He said that they should be working reverse with smartphones at the core of each marketer’s strategy. He also shared that India is one of the most important markets for his agency.

Bowen shared his insights during a tete-a-tete with Indiantelevision.com at the ongoing Goafest 2019, where he also gave a presentation on the importance of creativity in advertising in a highly data-driven world.

Because mobile devices are in the hands of millions, the creative process should commence there. “Mobile is the idea of the modern age and you have to expand from there. For example, a lot of clients (globally) have had to redo their corporate graphics, their colour schemes, etc. because they do not work well on digital devices or they can’t be reduced to a size that keeps them readable and understandable on the phones. They had to come with new signs and symbols and that’s exactly what we need to do in the creative community; start small and think big. It is better to develop a small idea and make it bigger than the other way around,” he said.

But can creativity and technology go hand-in-hand in the advertising world? Bowen said that digital platforms and technological advancements are in fact the ‘friends’ of creativity. He said, “When we started, we used to create 2-minute-long commercials, which, over the course of time reduced to 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 30 seconds, and then to 10 seconds as well. It was happening because of the cost of mass marketing. The creativity, by its nature, got very limited.”

He continued, “Now, with new technologies, if I create something compelling, doesn’t matter if it is 2-minutes-long or 30-seconds-long, people will watch it and share it. The only condition is that it has to be creative. This is opening up the creativity once again.”

Bowen noted that the industry currently needs people who are creative and can work in perfect synergy with data partners and media partners to direct the needle in terms of making the brands the heroes of their stories in a believable and authentic way. He shared that brands, which are doing advertising right, are doing it subtly.

Sharing his thoughts on how brands can tackle the pressure of creating more and more stories for the ever-growing consumption pattern of the consumers, Bowen said, “We no longer are living in the times where we used to introduce an advertising campaign. There is no more a 6-month heavy launch of the commercials. Now, brands have to create platforms and strategically position themselves. They can’t be wasting any media dollar but keep adding on to the platform, creating story after story. So, a brand has to think strategically first and creatively second.”

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