The 10-second challenge

Jun 21 2011, 02:48 IST
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SummaryWhat can be done in 10 seconds? ‘Not much’ is what a snail would say while crossing a street; ‘A lot – I can get my lunch’ is what a cheetah would say chasing its prey!

What can be done in 10 seconds? ‘Not much’ is what a snail would say while crossing a street; ‘A lot – I can get my lunch’ is what a cheetah would say chasing its prey; ‘I can either catch the train or get late for dinner if I miss it’ is what an office goer would say while returning home and ‘I can either be successful in getting the message across or look for alternate employment’ is what the creative director of an agency would say while finalizing the TV campaign for his client.

Creativity in TV ad campaigns has now to be delivered in 10 seconds flat. And there were many such 10 seconds available in the just-concluded Indian Premier League tournament (IPL). With the ICC World Cup and then the 74 matches in IPL 4, the 10 seconds actually result in many hours of ad spots. Cricket being an opium for the masses of India, the effort to get their attention to sell a product in the midst of all the excitement of a match cannot be anything less than executing a war plan. The time available is both the canvas as well as the limitation. Hence, creativity in developing a campaign may have no limit, but its ‘performance’ has a 10-second timer.

As if the challenge of the 10 seconds was not enough, the execution of the campaigns and delivery of important product messages needs to be completed between two overs where there are already many ‘spot bookers’ in queue and the viewer wants to take a much-needed break at the same time.

Brands need to be built in this short time-frame. One of the best ways to do this is to repeat the campaign after a few/every over. It goes without saying that if the packaging is not proper, no matter how many times it is repeated, the message will never go across and can even be detrimental to the success of the product. The viewer has got the ‘remote’ of approval for the 10-second campaigns which, at times, even ‘disturb’ him when he wants to see a replay of a dismissal of a batsman. Hence, there cannot be a substitute for an original and highly creative 10-second campaign which has a strong recall value. Actions, jingles, punch lines... all need to be in-sync with the final brand image which is sought to be established for the

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