It’s a good time for great work

Updated: Jun 18, 2020 1:14 PM

There’s no bad time for good storytelling. This might actually be a good time to push the creative bar.

As screen time rises as an inevitable result of the lockdown, more of these headline baits and vanilla work (if one can call it that) will be seen.As screen time rises as an inevitable result of the lockdown, more of these headline baits and vanilla work (if one can call it that) will be seen.

By Gokul Krishnamoorthy

“Real estate prices in Dubai will surprise you.”

“Real estate prices in London will surprise you.”

“Costs of Bangalore property surprise you.”

“Serviced apartments in Washington may be cheaper than you think.”

These are all banners being displayed as we speak. With the right targeting, these might even do the job. Ironically, these also count as advertising. Even more ironic is the fact that there is a lot of advertising which is the equivalent of this – in film, print, radio etc. 

As screen time rises as an inevitable result of the lockdown, more of these headline baits and vanilla work (if one can call it that) will be seen. But we are also seeing some standout creative work. There are no surprises on who is actually coming up with the stunners. 

Cadbury Silk followed up its ‘How Far Will You Go For Love’ Valentine’s Day work with a beautifully crafted follow-up recently. 

June 2020

February 2020

A winsome proposition has been taken forward and what an impact it has. Arguably, the new work is just as delightful as the earlier film. But it stands out a little more as we view the young girl and boy at a distance from each other, just as we all are. The attention to sound is nuanced and the difference it makes to both the films cannot be missed. I am not sure how they made it happen at this time. But the films are proof of the power of a true and deep insight and great storytelling to drive it home. It certainly helps that the medium is film. One isn’t surprised that it came from Cadbury.

Tata Pravesh #OPENHOPE

Brands are certainly constrained when it comes to filmmaking. The use of stock images and footage left, right and centre has left the viewer aching for something else to see. An idea that is rooted in the product and its viability for a shoot seem elementary in hindsight. But it takes some thinking to show shut doors at the start of the lockdown and the same doors opening ‘hope’ as the unlock began. Beyond the idea, the execution is what makes this imminently watchable. No surprises on the agency behind it again, who have made every door, visual and sound count in signature style.

This is also coming from a brand that wanted to identify itself as the maker of #DoorsOfIndia a few years ago.

There was some very good print work too, underlining the power of great copy. The best that we saw were not from brands advertising in newspapers, but from print newspapers themselves. There is a lesson there for brands wanting to make a statement during the lockdown, on using print effectively through good creative.

Themes tend to converge during crises. One of the spotlights this year has been on domestic violence during the lockdown. One integrated campaign led by an OOH-activation idea at its core came from NGO Abaad in Lebanon. ‘Secret’ embedding of helpline numbers has been done a few times before. But the campaign is highly relevant and far more effective than many dealing with the subject. 

The crisis seems to be a good time to stand out from the clutter, irrespective of the medium one is on. It also underlines a fundamental truth: that one needs to stay true to the brand and sensitive to the times. Abaad has been relentless in its work for many years now.

This might seem like a tough time and it certainly is. Agency hands are talking about working harder than ever before, even as the fear of job losses lurks in the backdrop. But there is a case to think harder, dive deeper into consumer mindset. For brands and agencies that have always pushed good work, this should come naturally. The rest will have to raise the bar to be the best they can be.

Or one could simply do the equivalent of: “How this Chennai housewife is making 18,000 rupees a day.” And hope to stay in the job.

(The author is an independent content consultant and Founding Editor of Stimulus Unplugged. Views are personal.)

Read Also: Google, SBI Card, HDFC Bank among most-watched PSA Ads in India: YouTube Leaderboard

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