The obsessive use of celebrities that now appears to have turned addictive in advertising is nothing new, according to celebrated Indian advertising guru, Piyush Pandey.
Indian advertising visuals are choc-a- bloc with celebrities, endorsing products from mobile phones to face creams and tea bags to soaps. In recent years, political leaders are also being widely featured in advertisements.
“The endorsement obsession is nothing new; it has been around for at least 30 years. Even in this scenario, what is important in advertising is to find a great idea that goes with the endorsement so that the brand benefits”, said Pandey, under whose leadership Ogilvy India has picked up 51 Lions at Cannes. Bringing in his characteristic humour, Pandey added, “Remember, a Pug dog featured in the Hutch advertisement some years ago could beat Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan in the number of followers”.
Pandey said the key point was to find an idea to make the brand succeed even if there was a celebrity lending weight to the advertising communication.
Pandey, who worked closely with the campaign that brought Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to power in 2014, said he found the political leaders far easier to work with than many corporate honchos.
“They appreciated our work and our expertise. We know politics, you know communication, they would say. And they would also pay up promptly”, Pandey said.
Pandey’s colleague and chief creative officer of Ogilvy in Mumbai, Rajiv Rao said communicators co
uld make effective use of new media in smart ways. Rao, who is credited with the ‘zoozoo’ characters created for Vodafone, said the idea of releasing those ads online ahead of other platforms went well with the younger generation who always prefer to be ahead of everyone.
Kerala-born advertising professional Prathap Suthan, who has been in senior positions in Mudra and Grey, played down the apparent threat posed by the digital media. “Earlier we had print, radio and TV, offering reading, listening and viewing experiences. Now we have the digital media which combines all three, and also offers room for interaction. But it is not the medium that matters, it is the idea”, he said.
India’s leading advertising professionals are in Kerala this weekend to participate in the annual Pepper Awards Second largest in Inida that honour the best work in the advertising industry.
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