Advertainment is the new mantra, says ad guru Alyque Padamsee
Alyque Padamsee: `Ninety-nine per cent of Indian advertisements are lousy. They are just a total waste of money.' Photo: S. Siva Saravanan
"ADVERTISING IS dead, long live advertainment." When you hear this, you are a little bemused, for it comes from none other than Alyque Padamsee, considered one of the pioneers of Indian advertising.
Why this new jargon? "Advertising has to change its avatar. It can no longer run on the good old `buy-my-product' themes," he states. Padamsee explains the new concept that is creating waves in India.
Ads should entertain
"Not just advertisement. All forms of communication have to change. In a medium like TV, advertisements should be entertaining. Otherwise they will be ignored."
Referring to the Hutch commercial (remember the boy with the dog?), he says: "The new mantra is to forget the product play and look at the emotional play."
The Hutch commercial is an excellent example of emotional connect, he adds. "Making fun of your product is also `advertainment'. Entertainment can also be serious and product specific."
"The new USP is Unique Strategic Personality. This is applicable to companies as well. A number of companies have promoted brand as a personality," he points out. "Advertising is now a topic of discussion just like any other issue. It is not just about selling a product. People look forward to it eagerly. The latest ad is discussed like a live cricket update these days." Sometimes they are more entertaining than even the regular programmes. Advertisement has changed a lot due to the overwhelming presence of movie stars and celebrities as brand ambassadors. "Hollywood has invaded advertisement. Bollywood and the rest of India too has followed suit. The concept of brand ambassadors has replaced creativity." However, one has to present these personalities as what they are. "Otherwise it won't work."
"It may seem that the easiest way to advertise a product is to rope in a brand ambassador. But this is not the case always. Unless the brand ambassador and the product have a fusion, it will sound like yet another movie star delivering a dialogue." So, how do companies select the all-important brand ambassadors? "The choice has got nothing to do with the product. It all depends on your budget." Brand ambassadors have to be used only if they are relevant. Though advertisement has taken new forms, the basic concept still remained the same. "An advertisement has to change your mind. It has to alter the brand choice."
His views on advertising in the country? "Ninety-nine per cent of Indian advertisements are lousy. They are just a total waste of money. Unless an ad remains in your memory it will not have any effect. And as advertisements are ubiquitous, consumers are using the `mental zap' these days. A recent study of TV commercials found that just two ads were remembered by people," Padamsee says.
What is his take on the 24-hour advertisement channel being floated by a U.K.-based entrepreneur?
"It will be a flop. Here again, the name of the game is entertainment. Only if the ads are more interesting than the programmes, will the channel succeed. If you want to succeed in communication, always make it entertaining. Before making any presentation, work out not just what you are going to say, but also how you are planning to say it."
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