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DISCLAIMER: This article is a personal opinion of the writer.
“Ye melody itni chocolaty kyu hai?
Melody khao khud jaan jaao”
“Mentos! Dimaag ki batti jala de”
“Bole mere lips, I luurrvvee Uncle chips!”
If you read the above 3 taglines the same way that they are said in their ads, you’re a true ad buff! Oh, and let’s give due credit to the agencies that created ads that stuck in the minds for years and gave immense sales to the brands.
It is one thing to celebrate the success of a highly creative ad and a totally different ball game to expect a hike in your sales graph based on that ad. Because a creative ad does just that- creative brand recall. For example, Ariel’s Dads #Sharetheload or Ambuja Cement’s “The Khali Story”. These ads generate a dialogue about the brands, get people to develop a positive attitude, and stir up the society in their favour but they don’t influence the purchase behaviour of the audience.
What’s painful to see is that brands either do not understand this difference or they only run after the sales target they have for the quarter. It’s ironic that when brands approach an ad agency, they select it based on the accolades and awards it has bagged in the past and eventually when they get down to business, those awards become mere jewels of decoration and all brands want are ads that can sell their product in the market. While that’s not a very unreasonable demand, it’s killing the creativity of the agency and what it stands for.
These brands decide to trash the impactful ideas that will leave a lasting impression on their audience and choose to invest high budgets on ads that will sell their limited-edition product that could easily be taken over by another competitor with a better offer on the counter.
I’m not saying sales are bad, but what I am suggesting is a healthy balance between the 2. Brand building is a long-term affair. One thing is for sure, it can’t be negated. After all, in the shorter run, businesses have their realities so tactical campaigns are a must. But, keeping that in mind, I feel that social media marketing and digital ads these days provide 360-degree sales solutions to brands. You know where your audience hangs out, you know what they do when and the data you have on them is overwhelming. Why not utilize that and hit it like cupid?
When Don Draper pitches his Kodak carousel ad, he touches a nerve in that room.
He knows it’s not just about the brand but what the brand stands for, its values, its promises, the emotional attachment that people associate with the brand. That’s essentially why agencies came into being- to spread the essence of a brand and help customers resonate with it. Make it their own.
So the real question is, does a brand really need to choose?
To be honest, a successful marketing campaign is a package of everything that speaks the brand’s true values while talking directly to its audience. One example that comes to mind is Under Armour’s Rule Yourself campaign. Not only does this campaign speak volumes about the journey of a Michael Phelps, but it also resonates what goes in the making of a champion and how Under Armour as a brand understands that. This is what the brand stands for. The ad is, in every way, commercial art. As soon as it clicks with you, when you go to buy your next sportswear, you’re bound to think of the brand. Now, in 2020, Under Armour has been able to reach 20 Million unique people via Facebook Ads using hyper optimization. It’s all about how well a brand manages its marketing mix and spend and voila! You’ve got yourself brand wealth and sales with a ribbon on top.
Agencies should really get their creative game up and even if it takes hand-holding their clients and educating them on what they will really benefit from, in the long run, they must take that step.
Maybe your client has a very mechanical approach, but it is on you to show them what their vision for the brand is. Connect with the agency spirit and justify your existence with the outstanding work you are capable of. And if that pep talk wasn’t good enough, have a look at this ad by Cheil India: The -1 Project, Samsung.