of gods and humans, of kings and commoners.....
(this is a critical review of advertising scene in India..while brands and some names may be unfamiliar, the issues by and large remains the same everywhere...)
At many agencies there will be celebrity ad men, whom i would like to call as 'Czar’s. . Some have the luxury of more than one. Some wouldnt have even one.. some will have a 'czar' who wouldnt have done any thing significant in the recent past but would be still presiding over as Emperor Franz Joseph did with the ramshackle empire of Austria- Hungary...
These men and women ,of course make a difference with which the client( For beginers: clients are manufacturer/marketers who want their toilet soaps and cars to be advertised by agencies) views and respects the agency. Objectivity doesnt exist in such client rankings of the agency, in many cases and the clients are generally too happy to gulp anything, which the czar tells them is marketing/branding/advertising.
For agencies who celebrate such ad men existence is not hard, as their work is generally acknowledged as good(or in otherwords no one will dare say that the Czar this time has done it bad or worse no one will say that he didnt understand the Czars work ). Have you ever been to a cinema where they show award films.. those dragging ,drowsy ones which will put even Giraffe's to sleep( my research tells me that they sleep only 1.9 hours a day) and still found people coming out and bragging great about the artistic brilliance and creative marvel that they just slept over..errr...saw?..Many clients do suffer from this disorder, they can see the spade, they know it is a spade and yet they cant call it one… they bluff... the ad appears and the small kids (yes.. the same old naked king and the nasty kid) i mean the audience pooh poohs and simply ignores the ads..Simple.. any ad which takes time to reveal.. any ad which puts the audience to think , to understand what it means ,simply is not an ad..it may be many things, but it definitely aint advertising for the client.
Indian advertising has a Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi, K.S Chakravarthy, K.V Sridhar.. and so on.. (Forgive me for any omission ) . Not ever agency can boast about such star cast ,but inspite of such ‘deficiency’ many do good work.. On the other hand many Czars have erred.Many just exist as posterboys.... May be time will proove me wrong but as of now it is my firm conviction that the new coke ads featuring Amir khan saying “sir udake..errr..whatever”, throwing away the "thanda mathlab coca cola " series, which is arguably one of the best ,series produced by Indian advertising , is gonna be a damm squib. Even Lux which (I can see ur smile now) has taken us for decades now, to the world of glamorous film stars from Leela chitnis to Karina kapoor ,is now doing a great crime of putting a funny looking Shahrukh Khan in the bath tub, bathing in rose petals, surrounded by Hema, Sridevi et al.. I am confused… and I am sure many of you are..
That puts me in this fix.. will it be that they are Gods and human me ,out of my ignorance aint able to understand.. or is it that they are Kings and bloody me , will have nothing to do but to listen and obey?
Foot note: Don't tell my mother I work in an advertising agency - she thinks I play piano in a whorehouse. ~Jacques Seguela