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Zee Melt 2017: When advertising veterans came together to ‘Straight talk’

The stalwarts talked about choosing the right strategy for any communication piece, the importance of being simple in advertising and things to keep in mind while making an ad

Saurabh Varma

Speakers from across the globe took charge of sessions on topics like digital, marketing, advertising and innovation at Zee Melt 2017. The sessions at the event were divided into Disruptive Marketing, ViewClickShare, Future Citizen and Osmosis.

In the first half of Osmosis session, prominent speakers discussed topics like ‘Mobile Video Done Right’, ‘The Case of Creativity’ and Creativity and Effectiveness’.

The second half of the Osmosis witnessed speakers like Saurabh Varma, CEO, Publicis Communications, South Asia; Laurence Green, Founding Partner at 101; Dave Trott, Author, Creative Director and Sonal Dabral, Chairman and CCO at DDB Mudra in conversation with Anant Rangaswami, Editor, Storyboard, CNBC-TV 18, and discussed some major topics under the session name ‘Straight talk’.

Here are the summaries of topics they discussed.

Saurabh Varma, CEO, Publicis Communications, South Asia

Coming directly to the point, Varma started off by saying that it is high time the industry should stop endless discussions on problems and get directly to the purpose of fetching returns to the clients on marketing investment. He talked about the increase in competition as well as advertising expenditure because of which the advertising agencies are earning less.

Varma also shared his views on the recently ended Goafest and how people take it. He said, “As an industry, our purpose should not be just win metals. People mostly discussed a number of metals one agency won in comparison to the other. There was not a single conversation about the work and impact a particular piece made. Nobody remembers a single piece of work out of this festival. But the client only wants impact. At times the agency doesn’t even know what the client metrics look like.”

One needs to do branding with purpose and purpose can only be fetched if focused on the four points mentioned below:

1. One needs to identify the big problem

2. We need to keep on finding new integrations

3. Brands are the new content

4. Drive the content

Laurence Green, Founding Partner at 101

He discussed 10 learnings that he got from the Cannes Grand Prix award winner Cadbury’s Gorilla ad.

1. Never let a good crisis to go

2. Solve the right problem

3. Understanding what market are you really in

4. Brief to inspire and not just instruct

5. Build distinctive assets

6. Most advanced yet acceptable

7. Emotional beats rational

8. Don’t trust the experts

9. Think long-term and not short-term

10. Learn

Dave Trott

Dave Trott, Author, Creative Director

His topic of discussion was ‘Simple is smart and complicated is stupid’. He emphasised the need to be simple. He said that many people think when something is complicated, their jobs look important. He also said that people use long languages to hide behind it. It’s important to have an understanding of human behaviour. One should spend more time on human behaviour than using technology. A communication piece is divided into impact, communication and persuasion. Most of the time people end up spending on persuasion, which in fact should be the last thing to work on. People should first focus on making an impact, then communication and lastly persuasion. He also emphasised standing out in the crowd.

Trott ended his topic saying, “When you position yourself right, you reposition everybody else. The best strategy is to make things simple. Like this, you reposition the competition.”

Candid conversation between Dabral and Rangaswami

Both came to the forefront and in a very light manner, Anant started talking about Dabral’s landmark campaigns. Dabral talked about his few favourite campaigns and little incidents and stories behind them. Dabral got his first lesson in advertising while he was in his hometown Agra and on a bus. A man came selling a book and recited a poem while persuading people to buy the book. He thinks understanding on consumer behaviour and most of the insights come when a creative person stays really close to them. Dabral said, “One must take as many much experiences as he can. Be a sponge and keep gathering experience.”

Rangaswami kept mentioning Dabral’s favourite campaigns and he kept sharing little learnings and stories behind them. A few of Dabral’s favourite campaigns are ‘Humko Binnie’s Maangta’, ‘Asli swad zindagi ka’, Cancer Patients Aids Association ad, Virgin Mobile’s ‘India Panga League’, and lastly ‘McDowell’s No. 1 Yaari- Yaaron se bane hum’.

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