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Creative leaders turn focus on PSAs at NYF-BestMediaInfo event

The event took off with the showcasing of some of the world’s best PSAs.The panel included Michael O’Rourke of NYF, KV Sridhar, Santosh Padhi and Swati Bhattacharya. The brand side was represented by Siddharth Banerjee of Vodafone

BestMediaInfoBureau | Mumbai | December 15, 2016


Anyone who is even remotely in touch with the advertising world would have found it hard to miss Ariel’s ‘Share the load’ campaign or the ‘Touch the pickle’ campaign by Whisper. Public Service Announcements or PSAs are the flavour of the season and with social media platforms playing a big part in the success of such campaigns, they seem to be here for a long innings.

BestMediaInfo in association with New York Festivals hosted their very first event in Mumbai on December 15, 2016, and chose to take a close look at ‘The Creative Power of PSAs’. PSAs, while emotionally stirring, have been often criticised for being especially made for award functions and fingers are often pointed at how really effective they are. The event that had Michael O’Rourke, President, New York Festivals, in attendance, included a panel discussion involving industry bigwigs on the black clouds surrounding PSAs and what more needs to be done.

The event took off with the showcasing of some of the world’s best PSAs. Works from countries far and wide, tackling issues that were just as diverse, found their way onto the big screens to wow the audience not only by their creative brilliance but also by their socially relevant messages.

The showcase was followed by a panel discussion with participation by O’Rourke, ad guru KV Sridhar, Founder, Hyper Collective Creative Technologies; Santosh Padhi, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot Dentsu; Swati Bhattacharya, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Ulka, and Siddharth Banerjee, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Vodafone India. The discussion was moderated by Kalyan Kar, Editor-in-chief, BestMediaInfo.com.

The panel conferred on issues ranging from why agencies should be more committed to social causes, the problem of funding and what is really essential for making an effective and good PSA.

Calling advertisements the “art of persuasion”, Sridhar said ads are not about selling something but about convincing the audience of an idea and that is why commitment is necessary in whatever one does.

“In India, agencies are not committed to causes, individuals in agencies are but not the agencies themselves. So it is a battle between something one has to do and something one wants to do,” said Sridhar.

He highlighted the importance of a great insight to make PSAs effective.

Bhattacharya called the relationship between agencies and campaigns a summer romance and not a relationship, which in turn makes it difficult to sustain them for a long time.

Padhi agreed that agencies need to actively take up issues. “Each agency should take up an issue for a year,” he suggested.

Banerjee threw light on how necessary it was to identify what place the brand held in the world and what it was that the brand wanted to convey to its consumers.

“The operational word here is purpose which goes beyond the often abused word ‘CSR’. Once the brand finds its ‘brand purpose’, it becomes easier to find like-minded partners to work towards a common cause,” said Banerjee.

Giving the example of Dove, O’Rourke stressed that while PSAs may afford more creative freedom to agencies, it is also important for them to be relevant to the brand.

The event came to an end with an electrifying performance by the band Wanted Yesterday, which had the audience grooving to some classic rock and blues.


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