Joy of Diwali Advertising

Written by Prathap Suthan | Prathap Suthan | Updated: Nov 6 2012, 08:25am hrs
Diwali is a big circus for those in the business of selling. Its the time when the consumer struts around the market with money in her wallet. No marketer can afford to ignore her and no agency can ignore the marketer chasing her. The result: A deluge of festive ads, some good, some not so good and some, no good at all. Yet, Prathap Suthan is touched by the spirit and hard work that goes into making these fireworks

Welcome to the time of clichs. Life is more pleasant, the air is nippy, you can walk a day without scratching itches, and sweat puddles have long since disappeared.

I love this season. I really do. If you are in an advertising agency, or if you have anything to do with advertising, you know this is harvest time. This is when every brand that has any relevance to consumers, will be on its best behaviour and wear its gaudiest smiles.

If you have goodies to sell in the market place, you dont really want to ignore the I have money in my wallet radiance of the zillions who come thronging. This, indeed, is the time of plenty. The great shopping fiesta of this incredible land!

No Scrooges anywhere. Working credit cards everywhere. Homes need to look good, rooms need to look good, bodies need to look good. Clients, meanwhile, discover additional budgets. Well, if they miss the Diwali bus, their balance sheets wont buzz. Simple!

In all my years, I havent had a client who ever complained about Diwali sales. At worst, it would have been just 50% over targeted figures. Not the 200% or the 300% he or she secretly vied for. For advertising agencies, this is when manna can splash down as pretty bundles. Promotions, increments, bonuses, etc., are all dependent on this cornucopia.

Obviously, it doesnt take a Sherlock Holmes among us to figure out why Diwali holds the encouragement to turn most of us into porky pigs running after rich truffle. Most of the suited-booted multinational boys may not want to admit this, but theres a basic survival philosophy we adopt at this time.

Every client is a potential spender, and every client has a reason to advertise. All we need to do is to take a triple jump and make an inspired connection before we run off to Mumbai to make the big Diwali films.

I am a prolific sinner, and I have sinned for long. Right from within the heart of otherwise respectful agencies. But well, when it comes to survival, life doesnt deal us aces. To live, you gotta kill.

All it takes is one inspired presentation that makes the client the very heart and soul of Diwali, and boy, are we singing jingle dollars, jingle dollars. Sure, there are some clients and brands that need to be part of the Diwali landscape. Their products genuinely add meetha and mithas to life.

I am not talking about square pieces of milky sweets. I am talking about big time electronics, paints, sarees, etc. The agencies that handle the traditional Diwali spenders could very well work their annual plans around Diwali. And if you are the sort of agency that handles a few of these clients, then life is mishti doi.

However, in the conference rooms and cubicles of those unfortunate agencies that dont have la dolce vita in their kundalini, crack teams gather around September with the sole agenda of untethering the innovation beast. Just how can they make lacklustre clients part of the big Diwali circus, how effortlessly can they find a convincing reason for them to be connected to Diwali, and just how much of a straight face should they keep before the wool is applied.

Its a fantastic time to be inside boiling fermentationwhen most lateral uses and benefits are brought out and considered and evaluated. This is unrestrained and unfettered creativity.

It isnt usually a great task to find believable Diwali reasons and attendant credibility. And neither do you need too much of creative genius to stumble on to spectacular reasons for inane products to sparkle up life during Diwali. May be these valiant agencies dont end up with a heart-warming, family type, weepy multimedia campaign, but even if they can get a greeting card printed out in thousands, thats time well spent. Thats water from rock.

Personally, I love the challenge. Like I said, I have sinned. Getting all twisted and gnarled in my head to connect the makers of Corphiquiline Embarioso into the overall ambience of Diwali is one part of the presentation rigmarole.

And then standing up, and passionately leading them into a considered

moment of benevolence to let them become the truth to overcome the weltschmerz of the world is a good successful feeling. Ha!

Come to think of it, even coffin makers can be cajoled to say something nice and do something nicer during Diwali. Not to mention dog food makers, and bulk liquid nitrogen manufacturers. While the dullest of them could end up saying something really sad like 'Happy Diwali From All of Us', good wishes are good wishes. Come on, anyone can wish people a Happy Diwali or a great new year.

So this year when you look at all those Diwali ads, think a little about the boys and girls who worked hard to bring you those exploding fireworks on television. Maybe they had to stretch, maybe they didnt have to. But either way, you can be sure that they did it with all their heart.

The author is managing partner & chief creative officer of Bang in the Middle. He is also the founder of The Advisory and chief creative officer of iYogi.